Big Trouble, Little San Antonio
San Antonio 86, Los Angeles Lakers 91
58-22 overall, 23-17 road
Well that sucked.
What an ugly game. Just horrendous. There’s good defense, and then there’s just bad shot making. This had both, for sure. But lots of the latter. Some might call this game a “playoff like” atmosphere. Which is true in that there was a lot of energy and points were at a premium. But not so much in beautiful execution and talent.
I’m officially sounding the alarm: the Spurs are in trouble. Tony Parker hasn’t been right since his injury a month ago; Pop pulled him at the end of the game because of his complete lackluster play, not for health or injury concerns. Leonard is great and improving, but is still a young player and can’t really be relied upon to carry a team in championship moments. Tonight being a great example, as he was more or less a no- show all night. Our shooters all are going cold at the same time. Splitter seems to have leveled off (partly because we lack the ability to run good screen and roll with him). Manu is injured, and who knows what we’ll get from him. The back-up PG position is a mess, with niether Nando nor Joseph able to clearly rise above the other to claim the spot.
Really, only Tim Duncan is right right now. (And boy, he looked good in the 4th quarter tonight). But this isn’t 2003. Tim Duncan alone can not carry you to a championship.
At this rate, he might barely be able to carry us through a single round. The playoffs are going to be a knock-down drag-out affair in every round. We could easily lose to Houston or Golden State in the first round (tonight’s loss more or less sews up the #2 seed).
There’s just no joy in watching the team play, and seemingly little joy from the team in playing. The offense has really stalemated, barely even resembling the efficient machine from last season and earlier in this season (much of this can be attributed to Parker’s decline, but other factors are involved as well). And while the defense is better and can keep us in plenty of games, we’re still far from a lockdown team that can rely upon its defense to win games and series in the playoffs.
Perhaps this is just the malaise at the end of a long season, as the playoffs loom but have not yet arrived. That is understandable. Practically, these games mean nothing.
But this feels like something more. The team I watched tonight is not a championship team, and hasn’t been for about a month now.
Of course, all it takes is one strong win tomorrow night in Golden State and things will appear rosy again. I fear they are not.
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