The 18-11 San Antonio Spurs

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The San Antonio Spurs own the league’s best record at 25-4. The Spurs are a good team. San Antonio is a legitimate title contender.  But their record is more than a little misleading.

San Antonio has won two games against the Timberwolves they deserved to lose, pulled three victories out of overtime (one against the aforementioned T-Wolves), narrowly defeated the Bucks on a last second shot by Manu Ginobili, squeaked an early season ‘W’ against Phoenix on an improbable barrage of Richard Jefferson corner threes, and required a Manu Ginobili hat-trick of brilliance to edge the Nuggets.

The Spurs have won a lot of coin flips this season. Seven coin flips, by my count.

Maybe these victories are signs of championship moxie. Earlier in the season, Manu Ginobili took confidence in these wins by saying they were games the team would have lost last season. And, I suppose, that’s all good and true. But the point stands, San Antonio has won seven games this season that could very easily have gone into the loss column.

18-12 is good enough for a low seed in the playoffs, and the Spurs are better than that. I’m not saying they should have lost seven additional games, just that they could have. The Spurs’ point differential is a healthy 7.93. But, in terms of quality of play, San Antonio is somewhere between 25-4 and 18-11.  This team is not as good as their record indicates, but neither have they played to their full potential.

I’ll leave it to you to determine if the Spurs’ glass is half full or half empty.

  • marion

    You can look back on other’s teams records and say there are some games they could have lost but didn’t. All teams (even good ones) will win some games in an 82 game season they shouldn’t have.

    A few days, the Wizards should have beaten the Heat…but blew it in the last 10 seconds of the game. The Clippers should have beaten the Lakers a week or so ago.

    It will happen all the time.

    Sometimes, I believe we try to have a NFL mentality to a NBA season. And you can’t. There is a huge difference from 16 game schedule to an 82 game schedule.

  • Latin_D

    Hm. If you think we have had 7 coin flips, and you consider a coin flip an event of 50% probability of occurring, then we could’ve lost 3,5 games. At most, considering 4 extra losses, that’s a 21-8 team.

    But since when has basketball been a coin toss? The ability to score that extra bucket that wins the game isn’t so easily defined. And also, what record would all the other teams in the league have if you applied the same logic? Boston has at least 6 games that would fit a less-than-a-shot criterion. Dallas has 5. If everyone lost the close games, 18-11 would be a number 2 seed.

    Point differential is important. This 20+ loss won’t take into account the Spurs’ tired legs, or the Magic’s decision to leave their starters in for almost the entire game. Pop’s decision to throw the towel in the 3rd or his habit of pulling the starters in the 4th when there’s a good lead won’t be factored in. Point differential isn’t all-important.

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  • rangerjohn

    i agree they are not as good as their record BUT they are better then all but 2 teams IMO. those 2 being the mavs (its like eating poop to just say that to myself) and the celtics. their defense is TERRIBLE more often then not. this team is an upgraded phx suns team and nothing more. they better find some defense or they are going to lose early.

    and i dont know why i keep reading that the magic players played so many minutes, they did not. bass played 34 minutes and he was the teams most minutes. only 2 other players played more then 30 minutes (both played about 31).

  • Dingo

    If I remember correctly, last season may have been the opposite. We should have won at least 4 or 5 more games and been a 54 or 55 win team (based on our margin of victory, etc).

    I’ll be happy if we reverse that and win 4 or 5 that we should have lost. In the end it all evens out :)

  • thaddeus

    The same argument could be made when evaluating the Celtics record.

    I do agree with you regarding the wins total; it may be misleading (for many teams in fact) .

    We don’t know how good this team really is yet.
    What we do know is with good health the early season version of this team can win games on talent and good fortune alone.

  • juan h

    this is a post to create some argument! why dont you say that 2 out of the 4 games that the spurs have lost have been on the second night of a back to back. we were bad in back to back 4 years ago, why wouldnt we be now?

  • DBAGuy

    We all know the Spurs are not who they need to be in order to win a championship, but they’ll get it together, we were a worse team last year and they ended the year playing great basketball. This year we are far better but still need to work on some other things.

    All-Star Break will be a good time for the team to practice and gel.

    This game means nothing, anyone who watched the game could tell the Spurs were tired, we were walking up and down the court and yet we still scored 101 points.

    Lets all hope for a Celtic’s loss on Christmas to hold the best record in the NBA…

  • rj

    i will concede the record is a bit of fools gold. the aformentioned toss up games as well as a softer schedule has allowed us to stockpile wins and solidify ourselves as contenders, but our frequently pourous defense is something that keeps the spurs faithful from throwing around the word “championship” or “number 5″. we are in a great position right now, but this team needs to be reminded of its weaknesses and face adversity to help build cohesion. hopefully the returns of anderson and hill can bolster our perimeter d.

  • av

    Like Latin_D said, you shouldn’t take all the close games and put them in the losing column only half of them. Plus, most of the Spurs losses could have gone their way as well (with the loss to the Magic as an exception) so you should add those to the close games list. So 7 close wins + 3 close losses = 10 close games, divided by 2 = 5 wins instead of the 7 the Spurs got. Not much of a difference.

  • DorieStreet

    @ Latin_D:

    Very good counterpoint #1. The Knicks & 76 games vs. Celts could have easily been losses by Boston.

    @ marion:

    Very good counterpoint#2. I recall a Hubie Brown comment during a radio interview a few years ago when he said during an NBA season there will be 5 losses by each team that the fan base will decry “how did that happen?” Matchups; human nature (shorthanded teams by injury/illness beating full-strength squads), bench players who rarely get to play get in and have an ‘outofthisworld’ game to help and underdog steal a game. Even though the NBA is more like MLB -many more games in a 6 month schedule than football- games a team should have lost but win happen in that sport too. Alabama when 11-0 but lost on a blocked field goal to a sorry Tennessee team in 2009. The Colts rest most of their starters vs. Jets last year and lose. That one definite loss became the win that a few weeks later resulted in them meeting in the AFC title game. Yeah -we have got to improve defensively, both on the peimeter and in the paint. Let’s start with the next 3 games, especially the ones on the 28th & 30th.

  • DorieStreet

    –typo–I meant Alabama WON a game on a blocked field goal after struggling most of the game vs. Tennessee.

  • Jason

    You are a dumb fA660t.

    Spurs Uber Alles.

  • junierizzle

    WOW. Spurs can’t even get any love on a Spurs Blog.

    With this logic the Rockets and the Twolves should play in the Western Conference Finals. Because they Almost won a lot of games.

    You play to WIN the game. And the SPurs won those close games.

    Sorry but this post doesn’t make any sense.

  • The Beat Counselor

    @junierizzle

    It’s called looking from multiple perspectives, looking for ways to improve, tempering expectations and reverse jinxing.

    From my perspective, it’s much better than the opposite: “This team is the best Spurs team ever! They’re the best team in the league and is set to win their 5th championship! Drive for five! One for the thumb! Go Spurs Go!” for every post.

    (go spurs go)

  • idahospur

    Some years ago I was watching the Spurs. In the 3rd, the game was slipping away and Pop sent in the reserves, only to win the next game. It appears this year that the Spurs are fighting for every win and I love to see this. I’m not expecting 70 wins, or maybe even 60, but seeing this team win games, especially with players like Gary Neal being the high scorer, makes me think this team is in good position.

  • DBAGuy

    Something else to remember is that it is almost normal for us to lose games during the regular season to those teams we will play in the playoffs. Most recently in 2007, we lost the season series to Cleveland and came back to sweep them in the payoffs.

    I think Pop wasn’t pushing his players because they need to know on their own that defense is of utmost importance.

    Every once in while teams need to know they are not perfect and they need to play better, this will make the the team want to improve and not take anything for granted.

  • junierizzle

    @The Beat Counselor

    I get the point but I don’t think it holds up here. Yes they could have lossed those games but they didn’t. They won by grinding them out. It isn’t like they won because of a blown call or something.

    Just like that Clippers/Lakers game. Or the Wizards/Heat game that MARION pointed out. Clippers and Wizards outplayed the Lakers and Heat but they didn’t finish.
    Fisher made an easy lay-up that the Clippers gave him at the buzzer. And the Wizards missed free throws and the Heat made theirs.

    Yes they should have won but they didn’t.

  • TD = Best Ever

    You don’t get that much better during the season, BUT DURING THE OFF SEASON…… So The Spurs need to add 1 more piece. And that piece needs to be a BIG – 6’10 or taller and needs to be able to defend the RIM and assist our guards out a little more……When our guys get beat, Other than TIM and DICE when he gets his customary 10 min/game…… The opposing players get all the way to the RIM. And Only another BOG can help us with that problem and at the same time help us with our 2 biggest weaknesses….. Interior D and lack of a Bruce Bowen…….

  • Matt in OC

    I agree with nearly everything in the comments, but I wholeheartedly can’t believe this article was posted.

    I understand the whole “critical point of view”…point of view( ya, had nothing better), but to say the Spurs record is overinflated is near blasphemous in my minds eye.

    True, they have won close games, but certainly not ones the deserved to lose. Manu stopped the bleeding with a game winner to avoid a possibly embarrassing OT in MIL. But the Spurs surrendered a big lead. Now, that might be grounds for a deserved loss, but they were the better team that night and just got careless.

    Denver was even slimmer… The first wide open dunk by Melo was intentional to avoid the foul, and Dice threw a bad pass that got picked. How did we deserve to lose that game?!?

    I know thats only 2 examples, but to say they should have lost a game because of one bad play seems overly critical to me. And to say that they should have a worse record than most playoff teams because of those types of plays in games they WON is worse.

    Their record is what it is. 2 months of outstanding basketball. No ones is giving the Eagles a hard time because the had surrendered a GIANT(get it) lead, and needed consecutive miracles to win.

    I think our punch tastes pretty damn nice right now. Let’s not be too quick to throw in flies.

  • Phoebus

    I’m 100% sure there has never been an NBA coach who said to himself “we having been winning too many very close games.”

  • ausitnspur

    agree with Matt in OC. Last nights game was nothing to worry about. The spurs did not even attempt to contend in the 2nd half. Pop was content with losing by the half. Magic was shooting well and the spurs poorly… it happens. The good thing is that the bench players got experience and minutes through fighting for the win

  • Phoebus

    A 25-4 record to start the season is remarkably GOOD. A 25-4 record or better without a few instances of close games that could very easily have gone the other way has NEVER HAPPENED IN THE HISTORY OF BASKETBALL.

  • Daniel T

    TD=B.E.:

    “BUT DURING THE OFF SEASON”

    This is the first I’ve noticed that you are talking about the off-season vs. a mid-season trade. I imagine you’d find a lot of agreement then. If McDyess actually does decide to retire, it will be inevitable. With his salary off the books, they’ll have more cap space to sign a free agent or trade up.

  • quincyscott

    The Spurs have won some close ones, but they have only lost one blowout, last night under less than ideal circumstances, and their average point differential is still above 8. The schedule has not been a powder-puff schedule, either. We have played some good teams. Those tough ones against Milwaukee, for example. The Bucks beat the Lakers by twenty in Staples the other night; they are better than their record.

    These are signs of a good team, and I don’t think Spurs fans should take away too much anguish over last night’s loss, awful as it was.

  • SpurredOn

    Over the full 82, wins come in only a few categories. Lose more than you think you should (’09-’10 Spurs) and you receive zero sympathy, with responses being “if you were good enough you would have won those games.” Win the 50/50 games and expect to hear “you’re lucky, you’re not as good as your record.” Unless your team is the Lakers.

    Many of the Spurs’ close games have come about due to their own stretches of poor play, which they rectify in time to win (see Milwaukee). They’ve got a few young players in the rotation. Pop is limiting minutes for the veterans. He could go about this differently and have the team win by larger margins, but pay for it later by having the vets break down and the young guys not develop. I like the route he’s chosen, even if it had meant an extra loss or two along the way. That they won means they’ve banked a few victories that might push them into the #1 seed instead of a 2 or 3. I don’t recall anyone asking the Lakers/Hornets of 2008, the Nuggets of 2009 or the Lakers & Suns of 2010 to give back some of their close wins.

    I know it’s been a few seasons since we’ve won the title, but this kind of stuff is also what happens in a special season that ends with a team being the last one standing.

  • Greyberger

    Fortunately there’s a time honored way to reconcile a win-loss record with the margin of victory (point differential) in those games. The pythagorean expectation is a simple formula:

    Expected win% from margin = points for^14 divided by (points for^14 + points against^14)

    A different exponent is needed for different years due to changes in pace. For 2010 14 should work.

    For the Spurs through 29 games, our Pyth Win% is 74.7%. That means our Pythagorean expected record is between 21-8 and 22-7. By that mark, we’ve been lucky to win three or four games that we ‘should’ have lost, considering how close they were.

  • Flavor

    Should’ve doesn’t exist in sports. You either win or you don’t. I’ll take 25 and 4… Now win the next two games so that we go into the Dallas game still ahead of them and make Barkley eat it… and then come out with the win to top it off.

  • Dr. Love

    While we’re being negative, also note that the Spurs have beaten a lot of creampuffs and won a lot of SEGABABAs against tired teams. They have not looked dominant against the better teams.

    Spurs have played good defense for short stretches this season, but lack the mental toughness to lock down as a matter of routine.

  • http://www.48minutesofhell.com Bry

    I’m really baffled with all the pessimism. Before this season (and frankly, before any season) if somebody had said, “The Spurs will win 9 of their first 10 road games, including victories in Utah, OKC, NO, Charlotte and Denver” people would have been delighted. If they knew the Spurs would go 25-3 overall flashing a bench that is legitimately 11-men deep and have the 2nd biggest MOV in the league, people would have doubted their sanity.
    They’ve done a superb job, and appear to have significantly improved over last year. They don’t need any trades (especially a desperation move to get another 7-footer) and people are getting a little loopy acting like a loss on the road in Orlando (um yeah, not the easiest place to win over the past couple of years) on a b2b means the world is ending. Of course they lost because of fatigue (and Hill not even suiting up). They got outscored 20-0 on the fast-break in the first half. If that’s not fatigue, I don’t know what is.
    The Lakers lost 4 in a row(!) and recently got crushed by a Milwaukee team without Jennings. In LA! With Bynum! I didn’t see any headlines saying it was suddenly judgement day for the Lakers. It’s an 82-games season, and the Spurs are off to their best start ever (and they aren’t doing it by spending tens of millions over the luxury tax line like Orlando and LA are doing). They deserve a pat on the back and some faith. Talk about nobody respecting the Spurs in the media? C’mon Spurs fans; Et tu, Brute?

  • Tim Varner

    Hey all,

    My post wasn’t meant to bring pessimism as much as a reminder that the Spurs really have caught most of the breaks so far. Typically, there is a more of mixture of winning and losing close games. I’m still bullish — I think they’re probably the third best team in the league right now, just behind the Celtics and Mavs. But, honestly, I think they are a long way from their best basketball. I’m full of glass half full optimism.

    On the other hand, the Mavs might improve some, but they’re already close to their ceiling. And the Celtics are just good. Maybe they can play better, but they’re already firing on most cylinders, despite the Rondo injury.

  • JustinFL

    DBAguy and Spurredon have hit the nail on the head. Good stuff and my sentiments exactly. There is something special about this team I know that many would agree. I feel alot better about these Spurs than I did at the beginning of the season. We’ll be just fine. Merry Christmas!

  • Bob

    It’s not necessarily all catching breaks. Good teams find ways to win close games. It’s a sign of a good team. It’s also true that bad teams find ways to give away close games. Winning those games is a sign of chemistry and confidence, essential championship ingredients.

    I believe the defense can improve with Duncan and Splitter playing together to protect the rim. You have to force teams to shoot over length and defend length. I don’t think the offensive boost he gives is enough for him to start over Splitter. He has the ability to be like big baby in Boston and provide a spark of the bench. Meanwhile Splitter isn’t really going to provide a spark, just solid play.

  • Bentley

    Tim I would take your assessment farther and say that the Mavs are definitely at their ceiling. They have always been a good regular season team and usually hit their top form early in the season, only to get bounced in either the first or second round of the playoffs. The Celtics in my mind are still not playing up to their potential and have a lot of key guys hurt, yet they’re still the best in basketball right now.

    Although I do definitely believe there are some games we could have lost, I’m glad that they found ways to win them. That always separates the elite teams from the average teams. But at the same time, the quality of play of this team over the past 5 to 6 games has dropped off pretty badly, especially on the defensive end. We’ve got to get back to playing 48 minutes of energy filled basketball.

    I know a loss last night at Orlando was expected, but the guys in silverr and black looked lifeless out there, almost like they didn’t want to play. It was nice however, to see the end of the bench guys getting minutes. The only thing that kept me watching was the fact that Tiago especially was getting more minutes.

  • Matt in OC

    Well said Bry

  • agutierrez

    Our offense has been pretty consistent this year. It’s the defense that’s been suspect. The bottom line is that we have played good defense in spurts, mostly when the game was on the line and we needed to. Nothing wrong with that at this point in the season. We’ve played just good enough defense to win many of those 25 games. I don’t see us getting any worse on offense, and likely better when Hill and &derson return. But I do see us getting much, much better on defense as the season wears on to the point that by May we should be able to give 48 minutes of defensive hell to our opponents. Last night it was very clear we ran out of gas after the first quarter. We played no defense after that and that was fatigue pure and simple. Hell, even Pop cut the guys some slack because he knew they were gassed.

  • Maverick1948

    I posted this after spending a little time researching it. Maybe it will help some open their eyes. I am so tired of reading how the Spurs schedule has been nothing but easy. Try reading the following and tell me we have had it easier than the others.

    Spurs record is 25-4. Good for the best in the NBA.

    According to many, we have feasted on losers and havent played any good teams yet.

    So just what is the breakdown of the Spurs record?

    How about 10-3 against teams with winning records? That’s right 10-3. That means we have a record of 15-1 against teams with losing records. We are 17-3 against the western conference teams. 8-1 against the mighty east.

    Comparing this to the Lakers. 21-8 good for 4th in the NBA. 2-3 against teams with a winning record. That means 19-5 against losers. 11-5 in the West and 10-3 against the east.

    Comparing the Mavericks 23-5. 12-3 against the winners. That means 11-2 against the losers. 14-3 against the West and 11-2 against the east.

    Comparing Boston 23-4. 11-2 against winners. 12-2 against losers. 19-2 in the east while only 4-2 against the West.

    Comparing Miami 22-9. 5-7 against winners. 17-2 against losers. 15-4 in the east. 7-5 against the West.

    When you look at the numbers of each team, our schedule is no easier or stronger than the rest of the contenders except the Lakers, who have yet to start their season against winners.

    If the Spurs have had it so easy and others so hard, why have we played almost the same number of games against winners as the other contenders? Why have we got the best record overall? We take care of business and dont worry about a bunch of writers saying we are not that good (18-11 instead of 25-4). To say someone has an overinflated record is silly. You either win or lose. NO in between. If you applied this to Utah and their early season success, they would have likely fallen apart having been 9-21 instead of 21-9.
    To me a win is a win, a loss is a loss. You can say we should not have won that game, but you cant take the win away.

  • Regan Rahardja

    I agree that every win we got is deserved. From Manu taking the charge, the legit no travel winner against the Bucks, and all the close games. Tim didn’t include the close games against Houston and Charlotte early in the season too where the game was close and we needed clutch play from Manu to seal the game. So while our 25-4 is legit, especially as Maverick 1948 pointed out especially relative to the other top four teams, our performance has much room to improve. I think that’s Tim’s point that our play is between 25-4 and 18-11 – not to say that the other top teams aren’t subject to the following “deflation” in their records as well.

  • Greyberger

    The Spurs schedule hasn’t been easy in regards to the opponent’s we’ve faced, just in the home-away tilt. We’ve played 18 at home and just 11 away. That’s what’s going to get harder over the remaining schedule.

  • Christian

    This post was a total buzz kill especially right before Christmas. Seems like you’re trying to brace yourself for the worst and by suppressing expectations to ease disappointment later on.

  • Bankshot21

    Thank you Maverick!….Sheds a lot of light on what I’ve been suggesting but too lazy to actually research. If anyone has had a powder puff schedule it is the Lakers. Not to mention Manu,Tony, and Tim all have outstanding PER. This efficiency let’s me know that come playoff time when they get more minutes we will be an even tougher animal.

  • rob

    Timothy…Glass Half Full.

    Thanks for the thought provoking article.

  • http://www.48minutesofhell.com Bry

    The home vs away ratio is always skewed before they go on the long rodeo road trip. If you’ve got 41 road games to go through, and you start off 9-1, you are looking very good. True, it’s easier to win at home, but if my memory serves, the Spurs were the last team in the league this year to finally lose on the road. And people were calling their schedule weak before the six-game homestand that skewed the totals.
    I agree that the Spurs need a perimeter defender. A shut-down guy that they’ve really been missing since Bowen. Unfortunately, I think Hill and Anderson are the best perimeter defenders (I’m giving Anderson some faith on an admittedly small sampling) and they also happen to be the only two guys injured. I would say that until one or both of them is back playing more minutes, people are going to be a little frustrated with the Spurs defense. But, all they need is time to heal and gel. No trades or panics necessary. And, besides, before these last few games (not coincidentally with Hill out) their defense was not superb, but it wasn’t bad either….

  • Hobson13

    If the Spurs continue to play defense like they have for the past week, we won’t have to worry about winning those 50/50 games. We won’t even be in the game by the 4th quarter. Let’s recap our defensive failures over the past week.

    Gave up 113pts to a Denver team lacking Billups, Anderson, and KMart.

    Gave up 106pts to a Grizzle team sans Rudy Gay (their leading scorer) on their second night of a back to back.

    Gave up 110pts to a completely depleted Suns team on their second night of a back to back.

    Gave up 103 pts to a Nuggets team sans Carmelo (their leading scorer).

    Gave up 123pts to Orlando who also shot 60% for the game.

    If this defensive effort continues, we won’t see too many more 10-12 game winning streaks. We have the offense to compete with anyone in the league, but we are looking more and more like the run-and-gun-no-defense Phoenix Suns.

  • td4life

    The lockdown defender is a fantasy you guys have, nothing more. Bruce “Super Glue” Bowen was a very rare specimen, he embraced defense and excelled at it, and he had an elite work ethic, stayed healthy, had a high motor, a fantastic attitude, and was willing to take a pay cut, and he could hit the 3 with precision… I always claimed that there never was a “big 3″ to succeed the twin towers, there was always a big 4. Guys like that are extremely rare… most of the elite defenders are two-way stars, guys like Wade, Lebron, Rondo, a younger Kobe, Timmy, MJ, Pippen, even Artest. The rest are terrible offensive players, and hurt the team overall. We tried Bogans, got shunned by Bell. Amudson and Dorrell Wright chose Golden State of all places. Sefolosha has a team, so does Mbah a Moute, Batum does as well (and is injury prone). Heaven knows Battier has a home, and so does Ariza.

    Anderson if he can stay healthy, is at least not a curse at either end of the floor, and Hill is above average in most situations. Same goes for RJ and Ginobili. Whether you realize it or not, Bruce Bowen is extremely hard to replace or replicate. So too is Tim Duncan. The Lakers have several unique advantages as a franchise, but for everyone else, creating a championship caliber squad is exceptionally difficult.

    This idea that we are a defensive bigman away from being legit contenders may be true, but that guy is probably even more difficult to attain. Not even a Paul Milsap or an Okafor is easy to come by. Just like last year, and early summer, if you want such a player, you are gonna have to give up A LOT, and have NO guarantee of a payoff. The guy I wanted is on the Mavs and what does that guarantee them? You have to be talking about trading Tony Parker, or Tim Duncan. Or half of the Roster. Most of our assets are cheap. Next summer or the summer after, you will see a shakeup. Not before. When that time comes, you may see Anderson and Hill and Neal ALL on the Block, along with Tiago and Blair. You want to make that move now, but where will that get you this season?

    There will be no trades this season. We missed some opportunities last season/summer, but the staff liked the Big 3, and liked Bonner. Live with it, Spurs fans! It could be alot worse. At least Ginobili and Parker didn’t just walk away. If they had, we would be no better than we are now, I guarantee it. We wouldn’t have been in the Carmelo sweepstakes, that’s for sure. Even if RJ walked, we would have been over the cap with our hands tied. If we had also been shunned by Bonner, or if McDyess demanded a trade, maybe things would look different, but not likely. Landing KG or Gasol ain’t easy, folks, it’s nearly impossible. Live with it!

    You may as well start screaming for Marcus Cousins to get called up and take over huge chunks of minutes, and somehow transform the team, just like Ian was suppossed to… cause you guys are basically dreaming of someday princes and fairy friggin’ godmothers.

    Then again, Gary Neal hints at something magical as surely as does Wesley Mathews and Manu Ginobili . Repeat the name Ben Wallace under your breath 3 times, and then go look at the 2005 draft and peruse the list of names of guys drafted after Mahinmi. There are big guys turning 19 every year, and some of them play pretty good basketball. It’s a small hope, but it doesn’t require an act of God or Jerry West.

  • L-Man

    We are great. We have depth like never before. We have the best backcourt in the NBA, because those 2 guys took a summer off. We are not even playing Duncan or Dyess the minutes we will down the road. Geat teams win close games more often than not. Always have, always will. Go Spurs!

  • NYC

    @Bry

    +10

    @td4life

    Agreed.

  • NYC

    Here’s something no one has yet mentioned.

    I was watching the TNT broadcast and Marv Albert said that Pop has (in effect) resigned himself to the fact that this year’s squad will never get back to the elite defense of years past. They will play good defense, but not great. According to the announcers, Pop has accepted this fact and that we are a different team this year, relying more on offense to win games and less on the defense we have been known for.

    I just about fell out of my chair when I heard that. Did I make that all up or did you guys hear them say that as well?

    Can it be true that Pop has really accepted that we will not be the elite defensive team we used to be?? I feel like we’ve lost our identity. If we’re not an elite defensive team, then who are we??

  • td4life

    NYC–

    I’m with you there, buddy. Actually mentioned it myself last night…

    “td4life
    December 23rd, 2010 at 8:15 pm

    Moderators–

    Thought I heard Reggie Miller saying during the game that Pop said that the Spurs defensive days are over, and that they are focused on winning through offense… I walked in mid-way, and wasn’t sure if Miller was speculating or quoting. Can somone find the quotes and report on whether this is true, or speculation?

    My biggest knock on the Bonner signing and cap space/roster spot, was not about his production per se, but what he costs the team in terms of their ability to build a roster more suited to defensive success. I have said repeatedly that Spurs’ fans will see no trades this season, and I have also been bearish regarding the meaning of the Spurs’ record, considering strength-of-schedule, ever since the beginning of the season. I was hoping for a nice cushion in the standings up through the game versus the Wizards, because following that game things will start to get very real. But I have been hoping for ever-improving defense, so I would like to know if Pop has low-expectations for this roster on that end of the floor.

    I know, I know, it’s a back2back, and Orlando was unlikely to lose 9 of 10, especially now that they are getting more home games, and their new guys can’t continue to shoot 20% or whatever forever… but are we the San Antonio Suns?”

    Read more: http://www.48minutesofhell.com/spurs-stats-advanced-scouting-orlando-magic-san-antonio-spurs-12-23#ixzz196oq2te6

  • duaneofly

    So, those close games we’ve had, guys like Love and Darko abusing us, and now this loss to Orlando has “exposed” us huh? The Spurs aren’t as good as their record and aren’t going to win crap?

    Well shoot, the Lakers have lost to the Pacers, Griz, Rockets, and Bucks, along with barely beating the Clippers by 1 point.

    The Celtics have lost to Cleveland and Toronto, have had 3 OT games already, beat Philly on a lucky last second shot, and barely beat the Knicks twice.

    The Heat have lost to Dallas twice, and Boston twice, as well as the Grizz and Pacers. They also barely beat Washington.

    You can pick apart any team’s schedule, their losses, their close wins, etc etc. Doing so doesn’t mean that team sucks though, because never has a team gone 82-0. No team wins each game by 20 points, and every team losses a game now and then to a crappy team.
    With how some of the commenters are judging the Spurs, applying that same logic to the other teams in the league, the only team that seems to be actually good is the Mavericks. They did lose to the Grizz and Bucks, but have beaten the Spurs, NO, Orlando, Boston, and Miami twice.