Season 50, Game 76
San Antonio 109, Utah 103
59-17, 2nd in the West
This was a really good win.
Utah is a good – possibly great – team. They are fighting for their playoff positioning, and it behooves them to win every possible game. They wanted to win this.
San Antonio was resting six players, including two starters and three of the top four bench players. The team is locked into their seed, and are playing more for experimentation and preparedness than wins at this point. But even with the end of the bench doing most of the heavy lifting, the Spurs still got the win, building 20-point leads in each half and holding off the inevitable Jazz comeback.
Motivation is an often overlooked aspect of unique wins and losses. On any given night, the team that ‘wants it more’ can often be favored to win. Wanting it more and playing most of your top of the rotation players should usually mean a win. Instead, the Spurs just Spurs-ed right along and got the win anyway, all while giving huge playing time to players like Davis Bertans, Bryn Forbes, Dewayne Dedmon, Jonathon Simmons, and Kyle Anderson.
Anderson played very well. I’ve always been a fan, partly because he’s probably about as athletic as you or me, so must use intelligence and cunning to keep his place in the league. It’s obvious that Kyle Anderson is a very smart player, and I like to see him slowly figure it out. He was a team-best +24 in a game won by 6.
Simmons got out of the dog house and made the most of his opportunity. His play is definitely less consistent than Kyle’s (which is likely why Kyle has usurped his rotation spot), but at his athletic best, there’s nobody like Simmons on the roster. The team will need that at least once these playoffs.
Forbes and Bertans both got big minutes and both acquitted themselves win. I really like both of these players. While it’s likely too late for either to have any sort of playoff impact, they are nice pieces building for the future.
The best sight of the night, however, was Tony Parker. He looked spry and fresh, and played smart and aggressive. This is what makes this season so frustrating: when we see these games he’s still capable of, we understand just how good this team can be. But we can no longer rely on it night to night. Hell, I’m not even sure we can rely on it more than one game out of four. That won’t cut it in the playoffs.
But if he really can get his legs and get a bit healthy, we could be a formidable team come playoffs.
If, if, if. The story of Parker’s season.
The Spurs go for win number 60 at home against Memphis on Tuesday night. This is also our likely first round opponent, so a win would be good psychologically, too.
Go Spurs Go.