November 4th: Spurs @ Jazz

Winning in Utah isn’t that easy, so the Spurs should feel pretty good about how they played tonight. My projections had the Spurs winning this game and when I say projections I just mean that’s what I wrote down on a piece of printer paper a couple weeks ago. These consecutive games against the same opponent often end up shaking out as a split. Patty filled in nicely for Tony once again[1], still draining almost every 3 he takes. It’s nice to have that as a viable offensive threat on nights when Kawhi gets off to a slow start. Despite the soft defense to start for the second game in a row, this one was never really that close.

I’m going to start tonight by talking about Davis Bertans, because why not, so if you’re tired of hearing about him, A. fuck you, and B. skip to the next paragraph. He was the first big off the bench tonight rather than David Lee (probably because of the back to back tomorrow), and he immediately had a nice drive and dish to LaMarcus, as well as an offensive board. If he can replicate some of those skills that Lee has shown so far, it’ll make it that much easier for Pop to put him in games. He could end up taking some of DLee’s minutes, especially if he hits shots, which he sadly didn’t tonight. He checked into the game at the same time as Joe Ingles, and for a split second it gave me hope that I still have a shot at making the league.

Kawhi didn’t break 30 tonight, but he was equally impressive, especially in the 3rd quarter. In my game notes I have successive bullet points saying, “This is unfair. My face is going to explode watching this. This is so unfair.” It really was. There was a sequence that just about summed up this game during that quarter, where he finished an and-one on Rudy Gobert, had a chase down block on the other end leading to an open jumper for him, and then a rebound and quick outlet to Patty for a 3. Timeout Utah, Spurs up by 15. Quick 2 minute stretches like that can change closer games, and Kawhi seems to have them all time. He’s improved so much every offseason, but it seems like he put the most work in this past summer. From his mid range game, to getting open looks from 3, to getting to whichever spots he wants on the court[2], he just makes it all look so easy. The cameras even picked him up yelling for an and-one after a shot, which I don’t think has ever happened before. I’m not sure that has anything to do with his skills as a player, but it was nice to hear his voice go above a certain decibel level.

Speaking of being lively out there, I need to set aside a few moments here for the legend that is Ric Renner[3]. If you’re watching the games on anything other than FSSW or Fox Sports Go at this point, you’re doing it wrong[4]. Ric is performing at an unprecedented (even for him) level so far this season. During every game right before halftime, they’ll cut to him in the “Rooms to Go Lounge,” which looks like a wonderful place. He proceeds to preview the halftime show, and then before sending it back to Bill Land and Sean Elliott will hit the audience with a fantastic old man joke. Tonight it was, “I’m just gonna sleep here until the game is over,” [rests head on comfy Rooms to Go couch as camera zooms out]. Keep an eye on this during the season, and maybe turn it into a drinking game if you’re bored.

One last thing: Dewayne Dedmon didn’t play much tonight (expect him to battle Deandre Jordan for a good amount of time tomorrow) but he still did a great job when he was in. He finally caught a lob (two of them!), which you can tell he’s been dying for through the first few games of the season. I actually was feeling kind of bad for him that no one would throw one up. He had been constantly rim running pointing upwards, only to have the ball go in another direction, causing him to have that “Ah shit, guess they don’t do that here” look on his face. You can bet he was thanking David Lee and Dejounte Murray[5] after the game for the lobs, along with doing things that Jehovah’s Witnesses do. He’s still forming a fucking wall[6] when players drive into the paint, and he politely told both Rodney Hood and Derrick Favors to GTFO on two separate occasions.

Tomorrow should be a good one: top two teams in the West so far going head to head[7]. Everyone grab a cold case of BL’s, some jalapeno poppers, and enjoy.

Game Rating: 8.5/10

[1] He’s actually averaging 17 points and 4 assists as a starter this season.

[2] Including the FT line. He draws fouls now so effortlessly, and the refs are just going to continue to give him more respect as the season goes along.

[3] http://a.fssta.com/content/dam/fsdigital/RSN/Southwest/images/2016/05/10/SS-INTERNETHITSEGMENT-5-10-16_1280x720_683199043806.vresize.1200.675.high.10.jpg

[4] Some people don’t seem to be aware that every game is watchable on Fox Sports Go using your cable info. I feel like I’m advertising at this point so I’ll stop.

[5] Dejounte is so lanky he has to fold his shorts over so he fits into them. Can the Spurs not make his shorts fit? This is the NBA; I don’t get it.

[6] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4y0P4IdZDTE

[7] Golden State lost to the Lakers tonight. Insert joke here.