Keep It Simple, Stupid
In the midst of two games in 10 days, both at home, before the Rodeo Road Trip, against the dregs of the Eastern Conference, tonight’s opponent was less the Charlotte Bobcats and more lethargy. And while the opponent put up a good fight, the Spurs strung together enough better than decent minutes to get a pretty comfortable win.
Charlotte played hard, but they are just young and not very good. Every time the Bobcats even got remotely close, the Spurs would just put together a few stops and a few baskets and push the lead once again. It was a frustrating game in that the outcome never seemed in doubt, yet the Spurs seemed unwilling to put forth the effort to close it out early. (The Bobcats were within 10 late in the game, and it still didn’t feel that close.)
The team was mostly lazy, sloppy, and looked pretty bad, but they get a pass on the night. In a game like this, it’s easy to play down to the competition, and also to try and do too much. As Sean Elliott said on the broadcast, when the team played within itself, ran its offense, and just kept it simple, they repeatedly got wide open shots at the basket. The old saying in music is: keep it simple, stupid. On nights like tonight, that should also apply to the Spurs offense. Pick and roll. Ball movement. Player movement. Simple pass. Rinse. Repeat.
The most exciting aspect of the night was getting to see Aron Baynes’ first significant minutes as a Spur. He was expectedly a little shaky at the start, rushing some of his rolls, and looked a little lost on both sides. But by the second half, he had settled down a bit and played quite well. He rolled to the rim for a huge dunk from Parker, got his hands in some offensive rebounds, got a really nice block, a nice tip-in, and in general did very positive things that you’d expect from a huge body. He’s not going to make or break the season, but he gives the Spurs another nice look off the bench when some more size and brute force is needed (as opposed to say, more scoring a la Bonner). He led the team with 9 rebounds overall, which is a positive sign. The shaky aspects of his game (offensive fouls) are things that will improve with time and comfort in the system. All in all, a nice first stint from the young man.
A few more notes from a game that probably doesn’t deserve them:
–With the win, Pop is officially the Western Conference All-Star team. Who is not excited about that? Pop.
–The Spurs played atypically horrible basketball at the end of each of the first 3 quarters. Blowing obvious 2-for-1s, turning it over, and other things that they never do.
–One reason why the game was never really in doubt: Tony Parker. He was playing as if he could get whatever he wanted whenever he wanted, and turned it up when the team needed it.
–Ginobili also played a strong game, bringing energy and overall “Manu-ness” to the game. The first time the Spurs really broke the game open was in the 2nd quarter behind Manu’s energy. Reports are that he tweaked his hamstring, so let’s hope it’s not too bad.
The next game is Saturday night at home agains the Wizards. Might be more of the same, though Washington is playing better since the return of John Wall.
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