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Once again, the Spurs have hit the skids. Let’s start the group therapy session and welcome to this week’s KSAT.com Spurs newsletter!
Where do we begin? I’d like to go to back to the meltdown in Beantown. There are losses that are tough to stomach, and then there are losses like the one to Boston that can derail a season, and I get the sense that’s the case for this Spurs team.
San Antonio led by 32 points(!) in the second quarter of that game and lost in overtime. For context, teams leading by 32 or more had won 940 consecutive NBA regular-season games until last Friday. Add to that, a tough loss to Philly and then back-to-back blowouts in Utah.
The Spurs have simply run out of gas with seven games remaining. If they hold on and make the play-in tournament, then maybe they’ll get re-energized, but as of right now, I see the season coming to an end soon. At one point, the Spurs were 22-16 and thinking of possibly nabbing a four or five seed in the West. They’ve gone 9-18 since then and will be lucky to hold on to a play-in spot.
Switching gears to better times. Remember the good ol’ days when Tim Duncan was playing and the Spurs were competing for championships? Ahh yes, the Big Fundamental was one of the many topics of discussion during the recent “SpursLandia” podcast hosted by former Spur Matt Bonner.
Bonner’s guest was legendary sports broadcaster Dan Patrick. The pair got into a spirited debate/discussion about whether Duncan is one of the top five players in NBA history. Patrick said Duncan was NOT a top five player and Bonner said Tim is absolutely in the conversation. I won’t spoil the entire pod for you, but I think Bonner’s points were a bit more valid and he comes away as the winner. Check it out here. Timmy please come back!
If you have questions or comments about the newsletter, or just want to cry about the fact that Tim Duncan is no longer playing, hit me up at firstname.lastname@example.org.
COACH POP SOUND OF THE WEEK: The Spurs coach keeps it simple after another blowout loss to Utah. “Our cup is pretty empty,” Pop says. Hear more here.
READING BETWEEN THE VEGAS LINES: If you still believe in this Spurs team and partake in things such as professional sports wagering, now might be the time to take a chance on the silver and black. Some of the latest Vegas odds give this squad a very small chance to make the postseason. They are still in “OK” shape to make the play-in tournament, but the playoffs are a different story. As of today, they are +440 to make the playoffs while Golden State is +100 and Memphis is +155. Anything can happen when it comes down to one game, but clearly the oddsmakers do not have much faith in San Antonio.
KEY GAME/MATCHUP OF WEEK: The Spurs likely need about 2 to 3 more wins to get into the play-in tournament safely. Question is: where do they get those? The Sacramento game is a must-win, simple as that. And maybe they can steal one against the Bucks, Knicks or Nets if they rest a star or two. The Phoenix games are interesting because the Suns might be locked into their seed and rest players. It’s never good when you are relying on other teams to sit players.
ROUND BALL ROUNDTABLE: What’s the biggest issue you’ve seen from the Spurs during this losing streak?
The Spurs need to be more consistent. In the first game against Utah, they had a terrible first half, but a much better second half. It’s all about 48 minutes and playing the same from start to finish, especially this close to the playoffs.
To me the biggest issue is the teams they’ve played during their losing streak. The Spurs are not at the level of Philadelphia and Utah, and although their record is more in line to that of Miami and Boston, the Spurs are not consistent enough to beat them on a regular basis, or many teams right now. Blowing that 32-point lead at Boston was ugly.
After watching the Spurs get tuned out by the Jazz, it looks like the Boston game has had a lasting effect on this team. They seem to be a little lethargic. Aside from the loss of Derrick White, the biggest issue is consistency. Not to pick on Lonnie Walker IV, but he has good games (23 points vs. Philly) and then bad games (2 points vs. Utah). Keldon Johnson and Dejounte also fall into this category. If Murray is going to be a leader, he can’t bring the team down with him if he’s struggling. As a team, they still have to learn to play 48 minutes, but time is running out.
No Derrick White. No Derrick White. No Derrick White. They have been a mess since he was lost for the season. Without D-White, no one else has proven they can be a consistent second scorer or playmaker after DeMar.
PLAYER SOUND OF THE WEEK: DeMar DeRozan thinks the Spurs can still turn things around. He talked about the team’s recent struggles here.
OFF COURT STORY OF WEEK: Becky Hammon says she’s ready to be an NBA head coach. Interesting interview over the weekend where Hammon discussed her future. Will she get an opportunity to be an NBA head coach with the Spurs or another organization? Check out what she said here.
The most interesting Spur in the world, or former Spurs player, is Manu Ginobili. What has Manu been up to? The old Spurs No. 20 is back at the AT&T Center to help the Spurs regain their glory from the 2000s! OK, so he just decided to attend a game. Still, it was awesome to see Manu in the crowd with his good friend and fellow former Spur Fabricio Oberto. Coach Pop, suit this man up! MANU. FOREVER.
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