There’s the Spurs, there’s the Lakers, and there’s everyone else (and other things it’s okay to say)
I stole the title of this post from John Krolik. I hope he doesn’t mind.
Over the weekend Krolik wrote something I’ve been afraid to say. I’m glad someone else said it first, someone whose principle hobby is not rooting for the Spurs.
The Spurs are really fun to watch. This needs to be said, and accepted.Â Here’s how Krolik put it:
Wow, that Spurs offense. It is a gorgeous, gorgeous thing. Itâ€™s hard to say what weaknesses the Spurs exploited, because they were incredibly dynamic and just about every look they tried worked. They pushed the break beautifully, played some drive-and-kick while moving the ball from side to side, and someone was always ready to receive the extra pass. They would go into pick-and-roll basketball with Parker/Ginobili and Duncan/Splitter and get great looks out of that. They didnâ€™t go to Duncan in the post much, but they got some good looks out of it when they did.
They put pressure on the Cavs in the paint and were ready to kick out to their shooters if they had to â€” the Spurs got 100 of their 116 points from the paint, beyond the arc, or the free-throw line. That is freaking absurd. If you like pretty offense, thereâ€™s the Spurs, thereâ€™s the Lakers, and thereâ€™s everyone else. Watching this game was like having Penelope Cruz beat the living hell out of you. Iâ€™m still in awe. So many playmakers, so many shooters, and every possession involves five players with a plan.
The Spurs as a gorgeous thing. Really?
The Spurs are ranked third in offensive efficiency, just behind the Lakers and Heat. San Antonio is the second highest scoring team in the league (107.8), only trailing the Lakers. The Spurs have the second highest 3-point percentage in basketball, again, just behind the Lakers. The Heat, Lakers and Spurs are the only teams with a point differential over 9.0.Â Do you see a pattern emerging?
But what makes the Spurs so fun to watch (other than Manu Ginobili) is how they’re scoring, not how often. The majority of the Spurs’ points come from near-the-rim — whether this means Tony Parker driving or DeJuan Blair diving depends on the opposing defense — or from behind the arc. San Antonio scores, and scores often, by attacking the rim and bombing from deep.Â A Spurs game is always one Matt Bonner 3-point barrage away from unbridled pandemonium. The kids are insane for Matt Bonner.
And, oh, Manu Ginobili.Â He’s a crazy man with the basketball. Every game he invents a new way to start right and come back left, and when he comes back, it’s always a strange trip. The season is young, but Manu Ginobili might be the most entertaining offensive player in basketball right now.
I’ve never thought the old, boring Spurs were old or boring. But while I love their brand of basketball, I recognize it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. My favorite NBA Finals, from a sheer entertainment standpoint, is that pulse-pounding ratings killer between the Pistons and Spurs. I loved that series. But, you know, my neighbor didn’t. And that’s okay. I get it.
What I’m saying here is a little different. What I’m saying here is, “How couldn’t you love what the Spurs are doing this season?” So, if you’re a Spurs hater, please reconsider. This team puts up points, and they’re not all manufactured in that slow methodical way. Most of them come in a beautiful blitz of smart execution and quick transitions.
Don’t miss the fun. Pull up a chair.