GAME DAY, BALA! GAME 11: SPURS AT THUNDER, 12-1-2021, 7PM (CT)

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GAME DAY, BALA! GAME 11: SPURS AT THUNDER, 12-1-2021, 7PM (CT) 

Post#1 » by GREY 1769 » Tue Jan 12, 2021 5:35 pm

At long last we're at the end of our first extended road trip. Responding the right way with mental focus, physical energy, and consistent competitiveness is key to finishing it strong.

WHERE: Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, OK

WHEN: Tuesday, January 12, 2021, 7-m (CT)

Earn The Stripes Mode: Speed and grit!



GO SPURS GO!!!
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Re: GAME DAY, BALA! GAME 11: SPURS AT THUNDER, 12-1-2021, 7PM (CT) 

Post#2 » by GREY 1769 » Tue Jan 12, 2021 6:23 pm

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Re: GAME DAY, BALA! GAME 11: SPURS AT THUNDER, 12-1-2021, 7PM (CT) 

Post#3 » by ducler » Tue Jan 12, 2021 9:16 pm

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Re: GAME DAY, BALA! GAME 11: SPURS AT THUNDER, 12-1-2021, 7PM (CT) 

Post#4 » by imagump1313 » Wed Jan 13, 2021 12:00 am

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Can the guy on the left keep playing with the same aggressiveness as the guy on the right? If so, we might have something cooking.
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Re: GAME DAY, BALA! GAME 11: SPURS AT THUNDER, 12-1-2021, 7PM (CT) 

Post#5 » by GREY 1769 » Wed Jan 13, 2021 2:17 am

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Aside from few miscues, better D effort.

Signs of life from Jakob. Trey on the other hand...

How can DJ make so many shots in one game and miss so many in another? - in my best gump voice

Devin is making some very smart, impactful plays that may not end up on the stat sheet but they are helping us a lot

It has to be scoring-by-committee unless / until one of our Spurs gets hot. Until then we cannot leave as many points on the floor from open shots and bunnies at the rim as we have.

More 3s, Spurs!

Build our lead and let's take this home!
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Re: GAME DAY, BALA! GAME 11: SPURS AT THUNDER, 12-1-2021, 7PM (CT) 

Post#6 » by GREY 1769 » Wed Jan 13, 2021 4:27 am

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Re: GAME DAY, BALA! GAME 11: SPURS AT THUNDER, 12-1-2021, 7PM (CT) 

Post#7 » by imagump1313 » Wed Jan 13, 2021 5:28 am

I like to think it was me that lit a fire under Walker and Murray :D

Obviously Pop or somebody told them it was time to start playing ball. Now someone needs to tell Murray that turnovers are bad because he still takes zero care of the basketball, especially in crucial parts of the game.

Still a decent team win against a bad team. I'm enjoying seeing some growth.

Johnson needs to work on that release more. He has nice arch in his shot but the release is really bad and different almost every time he attempts a jumper.

Lyles still looks awful but making baby steps.
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Re: GAME DAY, BALA! GAME 11: SPURS AT THUNDER, 12-1-2021, 7PM (CT) 

Post#8 » by Phreak50 » Wed Jan 13, 2021 1:35 pm

Lonnie man. I'll stick by him becoming a star as soon as everything clicks.

Right now, raw talent and athleticism is getting him an easy 25 pts.

His jumper has improved, it's actually a really nice looking shot too.

I'd love to see him mix up those drives to the right with spins back to the middle or euro steps to the left.

It's funny how the game has changed though. If eras were mixed and they had David Robinson on their squad, they'd never got a shot off around the hoop in practice, both Lonnie and Keldon.

I still don't like Murray as a starting point guard.

And using my 'he wouldn't start on 90% of teams' analogy, with Lyles, he wouldn't even make the playing roster of 13 on 90% of teams. Poeltl wouldn't be much better tbh.

Sometimes I try to take my Spurs fan glasses off and imagine our team around another superstar. I put Murray, Walker, Keldon and Derrick around say Jokic or Embiid and I think they still struggle to make the playoffs and certainly don't compete if they do.

With Derozan still being in the second tier of stars and Aldridge getting hot from time to time, we can still sneak into the playoffs this year, but the season will no doubt be cut short again so we need to make sure we aren't too far behind again.
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Re: GAME DAY, BALA! GAME 11: SPURS AT THUNDER, 12-1-2021, 7PM (CT) 

Post#9 » by GREY 1769 » Thu Jan 14, 2021 2:04 pm

A 4-1 road trip! Who had that penciled in? Even with some growing pains, we showed some noticeable improvements that bode well for our chemistry and progress.

Coming off a lacklustre performance in which we couldn't generate enough energy on the second game of a back-to-back, how we responded in this one would go at least some way in showing our resilience and resolve. Finishing the challenging road trip strong was deemed a 'must win' in a post-game interview with DJ, which surprised me to hear but pleasantly so because we came in with a mindset and goal and realized it.

Each team presents challenges and this opponent has a curious O dichotomy - they're ninth in attempted 3s per game at 38.3 but are 28th in PPG at 104.1 which we helped keep them under in our 112-102 win. We know how to put up points and can string together double digit runs in short periods of time. But that we managed to score just a tick above our 111.2PPG average without our leading and best scorer was a good showing. We not only outpaced them 95-83 - more of a focus to make a strength this season, but we also took 35 3s which is above our 31.3 average. All of which is to say that we are blending the youth strengths and vet savvy rather well so far this season, this with the challenges of being without key players available and the subsequent line-up changes they inevitably cause.

Specific to this game, with DeMar and Derrick still out, we needed to find ways to score beyond what we are used to. We haven't had to play without DeMar since I don't recall when, so it's not something that you can really prepare for other than new guys stepping into the finishing role. In the previous game we got stuck at times passing the ball around the arc with guys a bit hesitant to be the one to step up consistently. The resulting scoring droughts were a function of both fatigue and that factor.

One game later and we were better at having more of the young guys step up. Lonnie was consistently looking to score, and like in the last game, it's surprising how quickly, easily, and well he can put up points in bunches. You blink and he has 22 at the half last game. But unlike last game, Lonnie continued to be aggressive, continued to take his shots, and continued to make some clutch ones at the rim with physical drives in which he absorbed contact AND is now also laying it in with he left hand(!), at the FT line, in mid-range, and from the arc - what beautiful form on his shot, too. He was one of three Spurs at the half in double figures (Lonnie with 11) and he finished with leading us in scoring for a second consecutive game with 24 on 7-15, 3-7 from 3, and 7-7FTs along with 3 boards, 2 assists, and a block. I agree with Phreak about how easily Lonnie can get points when he sets his mind to it. So impressive. And when he gets into these kinds of rhythms with the handles, balance, and speed changes to find his spot and finish with picture perfect form on the J, well, it's poetry in motion:
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Defensively Lonnie at times did a good pantomime of a pylon. Performative art 1; sound defense 0. He was chasing drivers a lot in this game, and his help D wasn't much better. In the1st Q, Lonnie was the help D in the key but did absolutely nothing to contest their score at the rim - not a step in to at least make the driver alter his shot, not a swipe at the ball going up, nothing! for a 20-13 deficit which led to a Pop timeout. He tends to give up on plays when beaten by over a screen or a first step, and at times freezes when he's the help D which are surprising given his speed, balance, and strength. When he does stay with the driver - quick feet, vertical body, arms up, he is a disruptive defender and did help to force a turnover bringing his man to Rudy's help D for one of the 13 we got.

Keldon also stepped up in scoring and defending with his own unique energy. He drove and drove hard, and all of his points were not only in the paint but in the restricted circle and at the FT line for 18 points. You'd think given the location of the shots he'd have a little better efficiency than 6-11, but some of that is being contested well and some is his shot selection. He has the opposite issue that Lonnie does. Pop said after the game that it's being drilled into Lonnie's head by all the coaches to keep asserting himself on O, keep looking for his shot or chance to drive. Keldon, on the other hand, could use some better channeling of his unbridled energy. Part of that has to do with choosing who to drive on and recognizing who's meeting him at the rim, part of it is how he drives and finishes at the rim - they don't all have to be of the plowing through defenders variety, and part of it is shot selection.

The majority of Keldon's shots are within three feet of the basket (47.9%) and 3s (28.9%) making them at 60.3% and 37.1% respectively. His 3 efficiency has dipped a little, but that shot still has to be respected and covered by defenders. What impresses me on his drives is how well he protects the ball on drives curling it close to his body before he unleashes it just at the rim finishing with either hand. He takes fewest shots from ten feet to just below the arc although he makes these at a good to very good rate (41.7% from 10-16 feet, 50% from 16 feet - just under the arc). His mid-range is almost non-existent in that he takes shots in the 3-10 foot range at 18.2% and converts these at a woeful 13.6%. All of which is to say that his inside mustang and outside bomb combination - both power moves in their own way - could use some depth and finesse that a mid-range game brings. It will make him less predictable to defend and more of threat on O.

What makes Keldon special already is that his relentless energy provides reliable defensive impact game in and game out. He'll get caught for fouls as all young players do (Lonnie had four in this game, too much reaching in), but that boundless vigor came through with gerat recognition to steal a high low pass, to rotate all the way from the left corner to prevent a wide open dunk, and to grab a key O rebound in the 4th Q after Lonnie's missed 3 to preserve our possession pass to Lonnie who was fouled and made two clutch FTs to put us ahead 108-100. Later Keldon skied for a rebound on the defensive end wrestling with the opponent to force a jump ball. The game was all but decided with an 8-point lead and 25 seconds left, but Keldon's hustle was the same. I love this about him!

DJ. I know, that 1-7 first half, right? But unlike that other night where he was snake bitten, he bounced back well in the second half for 5-6, and 4-4FTs to finish with 16 points, team-high 7 assists and 5 boards. Beyond the nice come back numbers, DJ's defense is growing beyond instincts and speed and one example was a 3rd Q closeout of the arc that forced the shooter to pass for a 2 point attempt that missed and we secured the rebound. I mentioned earlier that our opponent takes over 38 3s per game, but they managed 26 attempts in this one, and we did a good job both covering the arc as well as running back on D to not give up easy points or ones that this opponents feels comfortable getting. They found other ways to score. We were on the wrong end of 50-36 points in the paint scored along with some questionable fouls called, but we didn't allow their 29 FT attempts to decide the game for us.

DJ's expanding PG game was evident in the two-man game he and LMA had going in the 4th Q. We kept running it in that top of key to left block area because it kept working. DJ kept making the right reads and the right passes, moves to the right pockets of space, and the right shots. He and Lonnie find value in the mid-range and are getting better in picking their spots.

An engaged and active LMA is the best LMA. The rhythm and connection of his two-man game with DJ was wonderful to watch. So much confidence between them as if they were tied to a string. LMA was one of four starters in double digits although he was an inefficient 13 points 6-16, 1-4 from 3. He did, however, lead us with 10 rebounds (2 on O) and was second on the team with 6 assists. He’s not only handing off the ball well, he is making the extra pass to keep it moving for good to great shots for his teammates. He also continues to pass out of doubles well. It must be of some relief knowing there’s less pressure for him and/or DeMar to be the only to-go players on any given night. Just a sound basketball player who has changed his game to help the team. A couple of games ago there was a stat shown about just how much LMA has adjusted this season. In the previous five years with the Spurs, LMA ranked first or at lowest fourth in post-ups. So far this season he ranks somewhere in the mid sixties. We used it in this game, and still use it now and again, but it’s one of many ways we can attack now. It’s nice to see that vintage turnaround J as much as it is to see LMA run to the rim for an O board putback. Full credit to LMA for being quicker, for giving the ball up more. His 24.4% usage ranks at almost the same rate as last season yet we’re including many other players into the O and the scoring distribution is far better because of our revamped bubble style.

Trey chipped in with 6 points (2-6, 1-3 from 3, 1-2FTs) and 4 boards, but I think part of his starter-low 18 minutes was his not playing within himself. He plays best when he’s doing the simple but necessary things consistently. Rebounding, running the floor and finishing at the rim (he has a nice touch) and making some 3s. When he plays like he’s a guard, holding onto the ball, dribbling and spinning in the key trying to make some moves inside that fail, well that’s not his game or ours. The +/- is a nebulous stat, but his team-worst -12 stood out as the next worst was Lonnie at -1. Sometimes the + / - passes the eye test. His presence put Keldon into his more natural position and takes the pressure off his having to guard 4s. It also helps us get minutes for yet another line-up, so the more familiarity we have with various players the better. So I’m glad he can step in and chip in, though he does have some work to do to validate a starting position. Keeping it simple is a good start.

Jakob played a team-low16 minutes although he was quietly productive in them going 2-3 for 4 points with an assist, a steal, and two blocks – finally! We’ve missed Blockob, and part of his missing mojo has manifested itself in a lack of blocks over a stretch of games. It’s still there in rebounding – only 3 in this game, and it’s because he’s just not putting up a fight a lot of the time. He’s out there but he’s not boxing out, he’s not jumping or going after them hard. Basically we have a 7’ C who right now is getting outrebounded by smaller more aggressive players. And if he insists on being more of a finesse traditional C, then his fundamentals in rebounding and finishing at the rim must return. Jakob got blocked (!) by their willow branch thin rookie because he telegraphed what he was going to do with the ball and he exposed it – arm out making it known he was going to lay it in – basically making the play ripe for the picking. He’s still setting solid screens so Patty (and others) can get space to take their deadly 3s so he contributing in ways that don’t appear on the stats. But his O confidence will need some bolstering up.

The bench contributed 35 points from only four players. Patty led us once again with 17 on 7-15 (3-10 from 3) with 1 board and a bench-high 5 assists. He’s rounding into the perfect player both for the bench unit and for the bubble style we play. Energy, poise, clutch shooting, vet reliability and steady presence. He’s getting better!

Rudy has found a solid niche, too, and fits with more line-ups because of his versatile game whether we go big or small, more vet or youth-centered. Twelve points on 5-11 (2-6 from 3), 6 boards and 3 blocks for a second best +16. He’s often the end point of plays so the 2 assists reflect that, but he does at times miss more open teammates so hopefully he like LMA gets the ball moving a bit more. He’s still a reliable scorer, though, and we don’t win without tonight’s contribution so it’s hard to nitpick.

Despite going 0-5 Devin led the team with +20 and that’s because he makes good basketball plays that impact us positively in ways that do and don’t show up on the box score. Having a knack for being in the right place for rebounds on both ends will appear as a stat. But deciding to quickly pass the ball ahead after securing the board so that we can run the fast break from which others get the assist and scoring stats is the sign of a selfless player who makes the right plays that benefit the team. He led the bench with 7 rebounds (2 on O) and had a steal and 2 assists, though if they counted hockey assists he’d have had several more because of those smart plays of making quick or extra passes.

After a slower than hoped for shooting start (3-13 early in the 1st Q) we kept finding ways to score with more guys asserting themselves. In the previous game our complementary players stood out as just that, but in this game you could certainly see the early signs of other guys stepping up to fill in being the go-to guys. Nobody has the arsenal DeMar has, but our young guys showed more of their games. Equally important, they also showed more of the mentality it takes to step up.

We look more comfortable running some more set plays; it was nice to see hammer get called and executed again. It adds another layer to our expanding O game. That we re sharing the ball at 25.5 per game (good for 11th in the league) and got 26 in this one without our assist leader (DeMar with 7 per game) shows that we had the right mindset to step-up-by-committee and a better team response as a result - – every player but one had at least one assist.

Some interesting defensive trends: we rank a league best 10.2 TOs per game, and it will be lower after only 4 in this one. That is some serious ball protection.

We converted their 13 TOs to an impressive 26 points! That's a team-wide defensive effort putting in the equivalent of a solid O performance of a single player. In fact, our TO-to-scoring conversion was our leading scorer in this game, followed by Lonnie's 24 points, and our collective FT shooting, 20-22 coming in third. I love it when we get points from defensive plays and team-oriented hustle plays on O.

We had to grind through a couple of scoring droughts but our defense and our bench kept us in it. Putting together enough stops and scoring runs in a game that was hard to get a rhythm in in part as well because of all the whistles made the victory sweeter. We had to work for this one without a huge lead, without a huge run, and without our best scorer and best defender. It was a good opportunity for more guys to step up on O and we needed them to. It was a solid end to a successful road trip, one whose record reflects some better team cohesion and play on both ends. We can honestly say we deserved to win each of the games we did, and that’s a satisfying feeling.

Some areas of improvement for us is team rebounding (especially on O boards), and making sure we leave as few unscored points on the floor as possible. I do like that we are better at getting over bad plays or a series of them sooner to adjust and recover better, too. The next step is to not get caught up being satisfied with ourselves but stay hungry. We’re not yet the best we can be.

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