GAME DAY, BALA! RESTART GAME 1: SPURS VS KINGS, 31-7-2020, 7PM (CT)

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GAME DAY, BALA! RESTART GAME 1: SPURS VS KINGS, 31-7-2020, 7PM (CT) 

Post#1 » by GREY 1769 » Fri Jul 31, 2020 6:32 am

A little early, but I can't wait! Against substantial odds, the league and the Spurs are back in play and there's an energy of excitement and anticipation with so many questions up in the air. The league has answered some already. All the work to commit to the bubble and the infrastructure put in place has led to games starting successfully - charged clashes and fervid fans together again.

As we count down the hours to cheer our Spurs on, I'm wondering about how we can maximize our strengths as we cover for our depleted front court, about who from the young guys will fill the leadership roles and scoring void, about how our defense, passing, and transition game will look with completely new line-ups, and about how vets can balance pulling back their games with contributing in our new style of play.

If we can defend staunchly and find new ways to score, our development will have taken a leap and given us a lot to look forward to. But it's not all about internal progress even as that is the foundation - we do have something to play for now. Most important is that everyone be safe and healthy, but after that, I hope we catch some teams unawares with our play and extend our stay in the bubble. Against all odds.

WHERE: VISA Athletic Center Orlando, FL

WHEN: Friday, July 31, 2020, 7pm (CT)

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Re: GAME DAY, BALA! RESTART GAME 1: SPURS VS KINGS, 31-7-2020, 7PM (CT) 

Post#2 » by GREY 1769 » Fri Jul 31, 2020 5:16 pm

YYYEEESSS!!!
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Re: GAME DAY, BALA! RESTART GAME 1: SPURS VS KINGS, 31-7-2020, 7PM (CT) 

Post#3 » by GREY 1769 » Fri Jul 31, 2020 6:05 pm

And in other related good vibe news:
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It was a revelation seeing him coming off the bench again, and we did win our game with Bryn out, so I hope he heals up and returns to his niche on the court: a 3 scoring, occasional floater - bench - role.
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Re: GAME DAY, BALA! RESTART GAME 1: SPURS VS KINGS, 31-7-2020, 7PM (CT) 

Post#4 » by imagump1313 » Fri Jul 31, 2020 9:57 pm

Is there any way someone could get a pic of DeRozan with a stripper buying chicken wings please? Preferably before game time
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Re: GAME DAY, BALA! RESTART GAME 1: SPURS VS KINGS, 31-7-2020, 7PM (CT) 

Post#5 » by GREY 1769 » Fri Jul 31, 2020 11:14 pm

I wonder what's going on with Patty? He was working out throughout the stay-at-home orders, was photographed lifting weights with the team, etc. But for a 'dinged up' general comment from Pop earlier, he's not seen any minutes. We are full at his position and want to give the younger guys minutes, but I thought for sure he'd suite up at some point. Hopefully he still does. Has a lot of juice we could use:

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So our starters: JD, Derrick, Lonnie, DeMar, Jakob
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Re: GAME DAY, BALA! RESTART GAME 1: SPURS VS KINGS, 31-7-2020, 7PM (CT) 

Post#6 » by GREY 1769 » Sat Aug 1, 2020 12:09 am

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Re: GAME DAY, BALA! RESTART GAME 1: SPURS VS KINGS, 31-7-2020, 7PM (CT) 

Post#7 » by GREY 1769 » Sat Aug 1, 2020 1:25 am

The youth development giveth - 16 point lead in the first Q, and giveth away:

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Re: GAME DAY, BALA! RESTART GAME 1: SPURS VS KINGS, 31-7-2020, 7PM (CT) 

Post#8 » by GREY 1769 » Sat Aug 1, 2020 1:46 am

Holy moly!

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And announcers just said Bryn is out for the season and it looks like Patty is assuming coach-like role - he will not be playing...
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Re: GAME DAY, BALA! RESTART GAME 1: SPURS VS KINGS, 31-7-2020, 7PM (CT) 

Post#9 » by GREY 1769 » Sat Aug 1, 2020 3:26 am

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Re: GAME DAY, BALA! RESTART GAME 1: SPURS VS KINGS, 31-7-2020, 7PM (CT) 

Post#10 » by GREY 1769 » Sat Aug 1, 2020 3:26 am

I'm so damn proud of how we played tonight I can't think straight!
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Re: GAME DAY, BALA! RESTART GAME 1: SPURS VS KINGS, 31-7-2020, 7PM (CT) 

Post#11 » by GREY 1769 » Sun Aug 2, 2020 2:45 am

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Interviews with Pop, Derrick, and DeMar:
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Re: GAME DAY, BALA! RESTART GAME 1: SPURS VS KINGS, 31-7-2020, 7PM (CT) 

Post#12 » by GREY 1769 » Sun Aug 2, 2020 8:37 am

Coming off our final scrimmage with a win, I hoped we'd look cohesive and be competitive, but this game honestly went even better than I'd hoped. It's not that I thought we couldn't pull it off, just that with the focus on development the priorities seemed to have shifted. But to see us play well enough to win with the support of vets is a boost to two purposes. While it's clear that we won't compromise the youth movement for wins, that the vets are buying in to support it means we're probably more cohesive as a team than we have been all season and it's paying off.

Despite giving up a lot of points, our defense looks better. It's about buying and staying committed, and we have four defensive horses in DJ, Derrick, Lonnie, and Jakob surrounding DeMar which is rubbing off on him as we support one another. He has actually been alert and active in closing out, switching well for good help D, and providing solid man coverage. If he keeps holding up his end, it's a big boost. With our new starting line-up, we trade 3 shooting in the front court for better overall team defense which has a much higher floor and ceiling.

DJ is our starting PG and when on his game he is a stat stuffer, but Derrick continues to impress with his overall impact at both guard positions. Pop said post-game that he might be our best defender, which is high praise, but well deserved:
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He's had more consistent time to develop so he sees and understands the game so well in transition, P&R, and on or off the ball. Plus his knack for and willingness to take charges - five in this game! - is becoming a signature move. Lots of impact, lots of ice baths. I think with experience DJ will add nuances like finding spaces for pocket passes in the key and facilitating in general, but even as his PG game needs to grow, so far they look really good together - complementing skill sets on both ends.

DJ played only 21 minutes, the only starter not to hit the 30 minute mark, and fewest in the top seven rotation. Beli, Q, and Drew played less, but Derrick, Keldon, Lonnie, and Jakob all hit the 30+ mark. The shot distribution was fairly even among the starters (save for Jakob with only seven), so that's one difference to the new focus. The young guys are encouraged to be assertive in taking advantage of their opportunities. Without throwing it into the block and have that be the cog around which the rest of the team operates, we rely now on more movement and more players contributing. We rode the hot hands of Derrick, DeMar, and Rudy on the back of much better on and off ball movement and passing:
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DeMar led us with 10 assists, spending the first half dedicated to setting up everyone else, shooting only 1-2FGs. We exploded for a 43-point first Q, and though that wasn't sustainable and a dip is natural in the flow of a game, waning in the second Q meant we were at least within a point. In the past, our pattern was to either start slow and expend a lot of energy catching up, or get a big lead only to wilt. There was a sense of inevitability to both. Now, it's eye opening that we both could score without three starters, but also be resilient and stay within striking distance and make a final push for the win. We were tied with around three minutes left and outscored them 17-8 on the back of poised D. I really liked that DeMar was a facilitator first and then unleashed his O game scoring 17 of his 27 points in the 4th Q.

Beli's 3 was off but he did make 7-7FTs, and Rudy was once again solid scoring 19 on 8-15, 3-5 from 3, grabbing 8 boards, 1 steal, and 1 block. That's it - three vets in positions of need around which our youth is developing. It's a nice balance of having that support of vets who flat out know how to score with giving the young group more responsibility to step up. There's no doubt DeMar asserting his O in the fourth Q was central to our win, but we no longer defer to vets in key situations; Lonnie hit a J, he and KJ assisted on vet points, and Derrick made FTs. Stealth move that, having the youth gain valuable experience keeping up with opponents and then adding a scoring threat to put us over the top.

Part of the challenge is finding line-ups that work while trying to have as many that work with as little drop off from one to another as possible. One of the things that was at odds this season was that our starting group had a half-court focus but with a PG that was better in transition. It's why Derrick worked better with the starting group last season. The second group was more amenable to a running game, and at times the line-ups felt as if they were clashing or at least not blending well.

The three new starters, essentially a new back court and front court with DeMar moving to the 4 spot has removed hindrances between styles of play; we push and move the ball far more smoothly. Some line-ups like Lonnie, Keldon, Beli, DeMar, and Rudy towards the end of the second Q did not work well. It wasn't the super small ball aspect; it was not enough facilitating and passing around the perimeter too much which didn't really move defenses enough for quality shots. The Derrick, Quinn, Keldon, DeMar, and Jakob line-up in the third Q, however, was far better in terms of movement and penetration. So it's an ongoing experiment in real time as we see what guys show and how they best work with which teammates.

What we've seen so far is the young guys responding well to coaching in-game, buying into defense-first, and finding ways to make an impact on both ends all of which are generating a fresh energy throughout the team.

Jakob is getting more playing time as he's wanted. I thought he was tentative early, maybe feeling the game out, and backed off too much on their P&Rs for too open shots in the key. At times he was stuck guarding two opponents so it's a devil's bargain choosing which one to commit to, but as a team we adjusted as the game wore on and the help D and paint defense improved. Jakob makes many smart decisions that don't show on the stat sheet from being in the right spot to receive passes or box out, to getting out of a space for others to operate in, to making quick passes to the weak sides for open shots. I wish he'd make his pop-a-shots in the key and dunk the ball rather than risk missing bunnies (he easily could have had 5-7FGs on these alone), but he rebounded (6, team-high 4 on O), had 3 assists, 2 steals, 2 blocks, so a very solid all around game.

Lonnie is finishing at the rim far better than earlier in the season. He mentioned that the game is slowing down for him, but it's also a matter of being more calm and using fundamentals. He still finishes with his right hand almost exclusively, and his ability to beat a man from a standing dribble is not there yet. He's much better when receiving the ball on the run and driving. These will be better in time. He's already a much better passer, shooter (great form) and defender consistently compared to early in the season.

Keldon is flat out infectious on and off the court. Everyone is raving about his smile, positivity, and doggedness on the court. He's always been a great driver and rebounder, but now his outside shot is improved, and his passing is better than I realized. His defense is relentless if a little frantic at times which leads to fouls, but it's a matter of channeling that energy properly (ie/ better positioning or discipline to not reach in) which is far better than trying to get a player to generate it.

Quinn is a bulldog with a big body and fits well into our D-out, movement system. His familiarity with it and players like Keldon helps both him and the team in giving teammates a breather while being relied upon to defend, distribute and score.

129 points with three starters out, a new style of play, and new line-ups while making 53.3%FGs, 44% from 3, and 81.5% FTs is a solid start with room to grow. I like that we rebounded by committee well (both teams had 42 boards). We could limit our TOs more (15 in this game for their 16 points) and need to mindful about giving up live balls (11 steals against) but we did get 25 points off their TOs. Mostly the feeling behind the numbers is that we are exploring new ways to play together, and the response has been on the whole terrific.

About players who are out: I thought that without LMA and Trey we would be like a tripod with one leg missing, but we've done well to compensate for their absence. While thinner up front, we're also showing strength in expanding roles to some up and coming players. The 4/5 will need to be addressed in the off-season, but until then we're not as imbalanced as it seemed we'd be.

Not having Bryn is a positive. We know what he brings - and doesn't. Whether or not he deserved to start has its reasons, but now with the emergence of Derrick, Lonnie, Keldon, and Quinn, it's clear that Bryn's role should be a bench 3 and occasional floater scorer, a spark against a second unit that limits his defensive woes.

I also thought that not having Patty on the court would take away from generating the positive energy that he brings. It turns out that we are doing it with our play, especially every Keldon play which spreads his frenetic positivity. Patty is actually healthy; Pop said he is keeping him out. Patty's been on the bench with a clip board taking notes, talking to players, and encouraging the team. The development opportunities have been mined throughout the team and perhaps this expanding his understanding of the game is for a future role while giving space on a guard-heavy team to young players who need minutes. With Beli hurting his ankle and doubtful for the next game, that's five regular contributors out of the line-up, four for the rest of this season.

When LMA's surgery was announced after the fact, I thought oh we're doomed, but it looks like the transition to this phase was decided upon early and well planned out so as to be comprehensive and as beneficial as possible. That's not to say we can't also try to win some games in the process. It's refreshing and exciting that we're trying to do both.

NOTEWORTHY STATS AND ACHIEVEMENTS
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