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Spurs Dynasty Podcast – Episode 35

In the latest SDP, Trace and Stephen:

  • recap games 3 and 4.
  • reflect on Manu Ginobili’s career.
  • consider the merits of wearing your free Go Spurs Go shirt at the game. #putontheshirt
  • speculate about what we can expect in game 5.
  • chat about the other NBA playoff series.

You can subscribe to the SDP on iTunes, Soundcloud, Stitcher and TuneIn.

And write us a review so you can help others find us. Thanks.

Go Spurs Go!

This is Not How it Ends

2018 Western Conference Playoffs, First Round
San Antonio 103, Golden State 90
Golden State leads series 3-1

Sunday afternoon was a necessary win.

The San Antonio Spurs defeated the Golden State Warriors 103-90 and lived to fight another day. It was the culmination of a thousand emotions, shared by a team, an organization, and a fan base which hasn’t been in this situation in the last two decades. Our team probably won’t win the series, although the way this season has gone, would it surprise you if they did?

I predicted during the series preview episode of the SDP that the Spurs would win game 4 before being eliminated in game 5. While I may have accurately predicted the destination, I could not have predicted the journey. Frankly, I don’t think anyone could have predicted how chaotic this season has been, let alone this playoff series.

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Spurs Lose Emotional Game 3 At Home

2018 Western Conference Playoffs, First Round
San Antonio 97, Golden State 110
Golden State leads series 3-0

The hearts and spirits were willing, but the bodies unable.

In the wake of the devastating news of the loss of Coach Popovich’s wife, the entire Spurs organization performed valiantly in a game that was suddenly put in stark and proper perspective. Basketball was the last thing in the minds and hearts of the players, yet they still played with intensity and passion.

It just wasn’t enough.

There’s a lot separating these two teams, but the talent chasm is just too much to bridge for the Spurs. To get very reductive, the Spurs just don’t have the shooting talent to hang with the Warriors.

Let’s look at some numbers. The Spurs have made 20 3-pointers total in the 3 games; the Warriors have made 35. That marks 45 points more from behind the arc for the Warriors. Care to guess what the total point differential of the 3 games is? 49. And it’s not even that the Warriors are shooting a bunch more. The Spurs have shot 83, the Warriors have shot 85. The Spurs percentage from behind the arc is an embarrassing 24%. The Warriors are at 41%.

Let’s widen back and look at total shooting. In the series, the Spurs have put up 252 shots, 8 more than the Warriors 244. But the Spurs have only made 104, whereas the Warriors have made 127, or 23 more baskets than the Spurs, or about 7-8 more a game. Again, the average margin of defeat is about 16 points per game.

The Spurs are shooting 41% total; the Warriors (as mentioned) are shooting 41% from 3, and 52% overall.

The Warriors defense is good, but the Spurs shooting is worse. After Game 1 (when the Warriors defense really got into the Spurs), the Spurs are getting great looks; they just can’t hit them. In today’s NBA, shooting is the top skill and biggest necessity for success. It truly has become a shooter’s league, and the Spurs are falling woefully behind.

Two years ago when the Spurs built around size and strength and eschewed the rest of the NBA’s trend towards speed and shooting, it was a noble pursuit. If you can’t beat the Warriors at their game, make it a different game. Kawhi Leonard’s injury in Game 1 of last year’s Western Conference Finals really put an end to the experiment, with no results forthcoming.

But this season it has become evident that the Spurs need to upgrade and update the roster, with or without Leonard. The Spurs need more shooting everywhere on the roster. DeJounte Murray needs to work on his shot. Kyle Anderson (if he’s still on the team) needs to get the confidence to actually shoot it when it’s open. Bryn Forbes needs to figure out how to shoot well over an entire season. We’ll need bigs who aren’t afraid to shoot; same with guards.

There’s plenty to fix on this team, but it has to start with shooting. Watching this team brick three-pointer after three-pointer is hard to handle. Watching them routinely turn down open threes is even harder.

This season is all but over. With the emotional toll this team is currently under, I can’t see them winning Game 4. It’s time for rest and reflection; it’s time for mourning.

I hope the Popovich family and the larger Spurs family gets the time and space to truly heal from this devastating loss. After that, I hope the organization gets to rebuilding this team in a manner befitting their decade’s long excellence, so we can have decades more.

Game 4 is Sunday.

Go Spurs Go.

Spurs Dynasty Podcast – Episode 34

In the latest SDP, Stephen and Trace discuss:

  • Spurs-Warriors games one and two.
  • Which adjustments worked.
  • Why they weren’t enough.
  • Is Pop being out-coached by Steve Kerr?
  • Are the Spurs playing the right scheme versus the Warriors?
  • Which players have disappointed most.
  • Can San Antonio still pull off the upset?
  • The perceived tension between Kawhi, Pop, and R.C. Buford.

Subscribe to the SDP on iTunes, Soundcloud, Stitcher and TuneIn.

And write us a review so you can help others find us. Thanks.

Go Spurs Go!

Spurs Show More Fight in Game 2 Loss to Warriors

2018 Western Conference Playoffs, First Round
San Antonio 101, Golden State 116
Golden State leads series 2-0

It is entirely possible that the Spurs outplayed the Warriors on Monday night.

It is entirely definitive that the Warriors outshot the Spurs on Monday night.

With such a talent disparity between the two teams, that was more than enough for the Warriors to run away with another win in this (so far) lopsided series. The old axiom “it’s a make or miss league” rang true Monday night. When you have more talent and more makes, you’re going to win.

The Spurs played a wonderful first half. They made the adjustments they needed: starting Rudy Gay to get more shooting and offense on the floor; ditching the new defensive scheme that confused the team; and generally playing harder and smarter. The defense in particular was strong in the first half, forcing the Warriors into turnovers and generally making life difficult for their scorers.

The offense was better, too. The Warriors defense wasn’t bullying them around, and they were able to establish LaMarcus Aldridge often and early, and he responded with a wonderful all-around game. The team was patient, and was getting good shots.

Problem was, they weren’t making any of them. And missing lots of them. And missing. And missing.

Fun fact: the Spurs shot 4-for-28 from 3 for the entire game. (Patty was 3-for-9, leaving the rest of the team an astonishing 1-for-19. Oof.) The Warriors made 6 threes in the fourth quarter alone.

To beat the Warriors you have to have a great game plan and you have to execute that game plan. But eventually, you have to make your shots.

So after all of that, the Spurs only had a 6 point lead at halftime. Good, but we could all see where this was heading.

The start of the third quarter proved to be the turning point of the game, as the Spurs let go of the rope just enough to lose control of the game. The defense wasn’t quite as sharp, the offense stopped executing, and the Warriors got easy points in transitions and just started making the kinds of shots the Spurs were unable to make.

Here is a breakdown of the first 10 possessions of the third quarter spanning about 5 minutes of game time:

–Spurs turnover leading to a Warriors alley-oop;
–Spurs turnover, Warriors turnover;
–Spurs missed 3 pointer, Warriors made 3-pointer;
–Rudy Gay drives into two defenders, misses layup and fouls going for board, Warriors miss shot;
–Spurs turnover leading to another Warriors alley-oop;
–Spurs make a 3 pointer, Warriors make a 3 pointer;
–Spurs miss a 3 pointer, Warriors miss;
–Warriors force a jump ball and win possession (essentially a turnover), leading to a layup;
–Spurs missed 3 pointer leading to a Warriors fast break dunk;
–Spurs missed 3 pointer, Rudy Gay offensive rebound and dunk, Warriors 3 pointer

Tallying it up, that’s a 17-5 Warriors run, turning a Spurs 6-point lead into a Warriors 6-point lead. The Spurs would fight back and stay competitive, but this stretch is where the game turned and the Spurs lost control.

The Spurs hit a few more shots, the Warriors miss a few more shots, and this is a competitive game. The Spurs did everything they could to steal one on the road. But that’s kind of missing the point: the Spurs roster isn’t built to make shots, and the Warriors roster is. Mills had a decent shooting night, and he hit some tough long jumpers to keep the game kind of close in the 4th. But there is no great shooter on this roster right now.

The Spurs defense is not good enough to make up for the inadequacies of the offense. The Game 2 defense was much better than the Game 1 defense, and the Warriors scored more in Game 2 than game 1! The Spurs offense just can’t hang point for point with the Warriors. The defense would need to have a perfect game to give the Spurs a chance, and even then the Warriors shooting could be enough to get the win.

But now the series moves back to San Antonio, where the Spurs were a completely different team this season. Plenty of people are writing this series off as a sweep now, and maybe they should. But for those of us who have watched this team all year, we know that the Spurs are more than capable of beating this Warriors team at home.

I think the Spurs win Game 3. (If they don’t, just pack it up, the season’s over). Which then makes Game 4 the pivot game of the series. Can the Spurs make the series competitive? Or will it become a “Gentleman’s Sweep”?

Either way, the season now comes down to two games at home. It’s been a tumultuous and somewhat joyless season. But considering the pride and heart of this team and franchise, and with two games at home, I like our chances.

Go Spurs Go.

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