October 30th: Spurs @ Heat

The Spurs have now won 6 in a row against Miami, which is hilarious for a whole lot of reasons that I probably don’t need to remind anyone of.[1] They have maybe 3 or 4 good players on their team, one of whom spends his free time posting snapchats of himself with DJ Khaled, and another one of whom spent the better part of his high school basketball career going up against the powerhouse that is Saint Mary’s Hall.[2] While I’m on the topic of DJ Khaled, I’d like to take everyone back to a time when he appeared on the fantastic television show First Take, proclaiming that in a game against the Heat, the Spurs had turned the AC off in order to make Lebron cramp, come out of the game, and end up losing. Tonight another Heat player cramped up down the stretch of a close game, and if it weren’t for that, the Spurs probably would’ve lost. The Spurs are the most efficient team in the NBA in utilizing opponent cramps over the last few years.

The lower bowl of American Airlines Arena was about 50% full at tip off per usual[3], so the Heat were ready to go. Kawhi has started off each of the past few games just running to spots, catching the ball, and making something happen. It’s a simple strategy that works almost every time. Combining that with Pau Gasol turning into LaMarcus for a night made it fairly easy to score. It’s pretty dope this season that one trip down the court can be a Pau/LaMarcus post up with Kawhi spotting up at the 3 point line, and the next trip down the court can be Kawhi posting up with Pau/LaMarcus spotting up at the 3 point line. Isn’t that just wacky?!

Along with the Whiteside cramp, and Pau and Kawhi both playing at All Star levels, that win probably couldn’t have happened without Patty, who pretty much did the same thing that he did against the Pelicans less than 24 hours ago. Patty looks fantastic so far this season. He’s shooting 59% from 3, averaging almost 3.5 made per game. To put that in context, Klay Thompson is averaging 1 made 3 per game. Fuck sample sizes. Hopefully Patty keeps it up, but also he should probably slow down just a little bit, because if not, the Spurs will probably be forced to hand him at least $10 million this summer, which is enough money to buy roughly 80,000 ball pythons off Craigslist. That’s a lot of cash that I’m not sure the Spurs would give to a back up point guard.

I don’t think it would be a stretch for me to say that Tony Parker has been the worst offensive player for the Spurs so far this season. You’d like to see him hit jumpers because it would make pick and rolls with LaMarcus and Pau that much more dangerous, but he hasn’t been doing that so far. Maybe he’s just playing himself into shape, or coasting through the beginning part of the season. I think it’s important for Spurs fans to realize, however, that Tony is still a better point guard than Patty, even at this stage of both of their careers. Setting up Kawhi, LaMarcus and Pau should be the first priority for whomever the Spurs have running point, and Tony is still the best at doing that. As long as he shows up when the games matter, it’ll be fine. Don’t be too worried about this just yet. He deserves the benefit of the doubt. In the meantime, Patty can provide enough shooting to keep everyone at ease, and Jonathon Simmons seems like he can shoulder some of the ball-handling load as well.

Finally, I’ve got to give another Davis Bertans update. He hit a couple 3’s tonight once again, which doesn’t sound all that special, until I inform you that he’s missing half of the ring finger ON HIS SHOOTING HAND. How is that possible?[4] Imagine the things he could do with 10 fingers instead of just 9.5. I would fear for other NBA teams even more than I currently do.

Game Rating: 8/10

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e9BqUBYaHlM

[2] I always like to remind people that in high school I scored on a team with Justise Winslow on it, so therefore by the transitive property of bullshit, I could survive in the league.

[3] Completely unbiased, but Spurs fans are the greatest. Spurs Buddha. Sebastian De La Cruz. Samuel L. Jackson. The guy who inexplicably wears an Oompa Loompa costume to select games. The list goes on and on.

[4] He actually cut his finger off with a chainsaw in a wood cutting accident, which I put in the footnotes because maybe you’re eating lunch and didn’t want to picture that, and I’m a thoughtful guy.