GAME DAY, BALA! GAME 8: SPURS AT LAKERS, 7-1-2021, 9PM (CT)

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GAME DAY, BALA! GAME 8: SPURS AT LAKERS, 7-1-2021, 9PM (CT) 

Post#1 » by GREY 1769 » Thu Jan 7, 2021 5:46 pm

Third time's the charm. Carrying over our momentum, consistency, and energy through bubble style of play is the focus for continued growth together. Everyone has to keep buying in for the good of the group and our success.

WHERE: STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, CA

WHEN: Thursday, January, 7, 2021, 9pm (CT)

Earn The Stripes Mode: Sacrifice and solidarity!

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GO SPURS GO!!!
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Re: GAME DAY, BALA! GAME 8: SPURS AT LAKERS, 7-1-2021, 9PM (CT) 

Post#2 » by ducler » Thu Jan 7, 2021 8:32 pm

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Re: GAME DAY, BALA! GAME 8: SPURS AT LAKERS, 7-1-2021, 9PM (CT) 

Post#3 » by imagump1313 » Fri Jan 8, 2021 12:04 am

Hopefully Vassell doesn't get squeezed out this time....
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Re: GAME DAY, BALA! GAME 8: SPURS AT LAKERS, 7-1-2021, 9PM (CT) 

Post#4 » by GREY 1769 » Fri Jan 8, 2021 1:45 am

NOBODY BREATHE ON POP! Glad this was caught in time. It means the protocols are working:
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Re: GAME DAY, BALA! GAME 8: SPURS AT LAKERS, 7-1-2021, 9PM (CT) 

Post#5 » by GREY 1769 » Fri Jan 8, 2021 4:17 am

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Very nice start.

LMA looking bouncy and alert and engaged, hitting his shots, grabbing boards.

Great scoring distribution.

We're imposing our pace well, we're hitting our 3s well, we're passing well - 16 assists.

We need to get our hands on rebounds to prevent their second chance points.

We need to finish at the rim far better. Easier said that done given their bigs, but we also missed some bunnies.

Our 3 contesting is solid

Jakob needs to channel his inner beast and dunk that ball again.

KJ make your shots, young man!

Drive more to get to the FT line.

Start the 3rd Q as if we're 0-0.

Stay intense, keep moving, keep sacrificing for one another!
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Re: GAME DAY, BALA! GAME 8: SPURS AT LAKERS, 7-1-2021, 9PM (CT) 

Post#6 » by GREY 1769 » Fri Jan 8, 2021 4:46 am

NOT THE KIND OF INNER BEAST I MEAN, JAKOB!
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Re: GAME DAY, BALA! GAME 8: SPURS AT LAKERS, 7-1-2021, 9PM (CT) 

Post#7 » by Phreak50 » Fri Jan 8, 2021 5:11 am

I'm sure I'll get scolded again, but I stand by Keldon not playing the right game for his size.

He has the skills and potential to be a solid NBA player but I'll say it again, he throws up absolute junk around the rim. It's like you see from kids at parks who're joining more capable friends for a game.
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Re: GAME DAY, BALA! GAME 8: SPURS AT LAKERS, 7-1-2021, 9PM (CT) 

Post#8 » by GREY 1769 » Fri Jan 8, 2021 5:41 am

Phreak50 wrote:I'm sure I'll get scolded again, but I stand by Keldon not playing the right game for his size.

He has the skills and potential to be a solid NBA player but I'll say it again, he throws up absolute junk around the rim. It's like you see from kids at parks who're joining more capable friends for a game.

This game absolutely fits your description. **** happens.

Appreciate you sharing your POV, Phreak. It's not scolding, just discussion :D

Good team win!
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Re: GAME DAY, BALA! GAME 8: SPURS AT LAKERS, 7-1-2021, 9PM (CT) 

Post#9 » by GREY 1769 » Fri Jan 8, 2021 5:59 am

Twice as nice the second time around! :D
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Re: GAME DAY, BALA! GAME 8: SPURS AT LAKERS, 7-1-2021, 9PM (CT) 

Post#10 » by imagump1313 » Fri Jan 8, 2021 6:17 am

I had network problems and couldn't watch. Sounds like we were hot again from three.
Any win over the Lakers is a good thing.
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Re: GAME DAY, BALA! GAME 8: SPURS AT LAKERS, 7-1-2021, 9PM (CT) 

Post#11 » by Captain Ballmer » Fri Jan 8, 2021 8:39 am

Thanks for not skipping on stabbing other LA team.

I'm waiting Grey1769's detailed insights on this game. I think an addition of couple paragraphs for the opponents might be good too. I'd have like to read your insight about my Clippers other day. @grey1769
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Re: GAME DAY, BALA! GAME 8: SPURS AT LAKERS, 7-1-2021, 9PM (CT) 

Post#12 » by GREY 1769 » Sat Jan 9, 2021 2:20 am

Captain Ballmer wrote:Thanks for not skipping on stabbing other LA team.

I'm waiting Grey1769's detailed insights on this game. I think an addition of couple paragraphs for the opponents might be good too. I'd have like to read your insight about my Clippers other day. @grey1769

Appreciate it, Cap, thank you. As you'd expect, the post-game details I get into are almost exclusively Spurs-focused given the forum. I only tangentially touch upon an opponent if it's doing something specific that we need or did respond to like LAL's concerted effort to prevent Patty from getting the ball after his 8-12 from 3 in the previous game.

As to your team, my general impression is that they too often play like they can turn it on at any time and tend to over-rely on the top end talent. So there's a roster imbalance which is common knowledge, but as even LAL has was reminded, you can't just expect lesser used gears to just always work.

But it already takes me some time to gather info and put some ideas together for the Spurs after each game, so I hope you understand.
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Re: GAME DAY, BALA! GAME 8: SPURS AT LAKERS, 7-1-2021, 9PM (CT) 

Post#13 » by GREY 1769 » Sat Jan 9, 2021 10:39 am

Well, a solid start to the road trip going 2-0 in LA with a full team bubble style that everyone bought in. I'm proud of how we continued to play at a high level despite the obvious and painful off-court events that could have been a distraction.

We needed to push our pace and start strong and we did. Getting a lead and playing with it is a nice change to having to fight from behind. That experience has value, too, but part of our progress is imposing our game rather starting by reacting to the opponent. More assertive, more consistently competitive.

DJ has been better this season in leading the charge with setting the D tone and our transition game. He's bounced back well and in the last two games both in contributing all around on O and protecting the ball. No TOs in this game plus 50% FG and from 3 and perfect at the FT line for 18 points, 8 boards and 2 assists made for an efficient night. Not only is he more willing to take the 3 (up from 1.7 to 3.4 per game) which helps us have an extra threat outside and floor spacer, but he's also more willing drive to the basket. The 3 efficiency has dropped this season on more attempts so we'll see if he can bring that up, but his finishing at the rim has improved by 20% from mid 50s to mid 70s percentage! And he has a variety of moves and spots from which he can make his shots.

What made us successful in imposing our game is that DeMar and LMA bought into bubble style of play far better than I've seen this season. There's something about this arena in these home colours that DeMar seems to get up for. To his credit, he came in with a more amenable attitude, brought the ball up more quickly, made passes more quickly, and made quicker decisions with the ball than in the previous game. The result is that we didn't have that one weak player or tandem that slowed the game down and allowed the D to set up.

He wasn't efficient in this game but a lot of his misses were at the rim. There's something about how he's finishing at the rim that's off. It's too tight and low at the basket resulting in not getting the right angle and bounce. He was 3-6 in the paint, but 1-4 in the circle. He did lead the team in FTs again (7-8) so at least he was getting some calls his way. He had a well rounded contribution with 4 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 block, and a team-high 8 assists. Although he didn't make 3s at as good a rate as in the previous game, but he attempted SIX from the arc and in connecting on two - including one on which he was fouled for a four-point play - he is also a threat from the arc. To put it in perspective, he has already made nine 3s in eight games, a total that matches how many he made ALL of last season! AND so far he's connecting on 42.9%, good for third best on the team! So this means we now have FIVE starters who can connect from beyond the arc, making our bubble style of play all the more effective.

LMA came to play. He looks more engaged, bouncy, quick footed, and fit so well into our bubble team concept that it was a revelation. He can and has changed his style. Gone were the long, left-block post-ups replaced with a quick turnaround J. The adjustment was not so much position on the court, but what he did when he got the ball there. Another adjustment is that we now pass it to LMA for his favoured left of key or long J to start the game rather than the top of arc 3 we have been when we started the season. This has helped him get his rhythm from his favourite automatic spots, and so when he stretches the floor for the 3 he has a better gauge of how to adjust his range. Little things like that have made a big difference for LMA and for us. We still drive and kick out to him plenty and that's fine because he takes quick shots. We also use him in more pick and pops as well as two-man games screening, handing back to the guard, screening again for more space and quick shots. We ran the latter really well, quickly, and effectively in this game. The key was the constant movement, anticipation, and quick shots. LMA joked after the game that he since he no longer posts up, he did it the one time Caruso was mismatched against him at the top of the arc and LMA actually did his patented back turn to the defender to create space, a dribble and a turnaround... 3! just as the clock was expiring.

We seem to be using him on O most prominently in the 1st and 3rd Qs where he has taken the bulk of his shots since returning. It's a good strategy - get him going inside and out and then let the pace increase all the more and do the rest of the damage for us. He was a strong defensive presence for us as well. He no longer positioned himself too far under the basket or sag nearly as much on opponent Js. His physical presence bodying their C and AD Over all his rotations and contests were better, and he helped with 5 boards and 3 assists. He fits so much better in the starting five and in the bubble style of play. I must say I have to eat crow for my earlier LMA slander. True he didn't play well and there was some early struggles in implementing him as he looked like he was holding onto his old game while the rest of the team was pushing another way. But looking back he needed to get comfortable in game situations to begin with, and after some treatment, we're now seeing the fruits of all the practices he was being complimented on. Tip of the hat to LMA for leading us in scoring with 28 on 11-18, 3-7 from 3, 3-3FTs, and most importantly, in a changed way within the team concept. He looks rejuvenated. Perhaps he's drinking from a secret granpa juice stash :wink:

Whereas LMA's mojo returned, KJ's proportionately waned. He was just flat from the beginning on both ends. He looked a bit worn out and who could blame him. As the 3 (and sometimes very undersized 4), he's defended Siakam, Zion, #2, and LBJ three times (although he was one of several who we used to defend him by committee). He's 15 starting games into his professional career which is an adjustment from coming off the bench. And in this season's eight games he's averaging about 12 more minutes at nearly 30 per game than in bubble play. That's also big adjustment. We don't have a true 4 to do the hard physical work on these huge, skilled players. Well we do, but it's LMA and he's also our best 5 right now, and our other 4 options are suboptimal. So it takes it's toll.

It manifested in being a bit slow to contest, and missing almost everything in the key and from the arc. From the latter it's clear he was deliberate in directing the ball in, slowing his motion down almost as if to make sure he was hitting every step of its mechanics. But in overthinking it he missed. Better to just let it fly. Like DJ a couple of games ago, he was frustrated with the accumulated misses. In another game thread I posted a chart of all his shots so far this season and he's clearly focusing on 3 and key. He made two shots of ten, 1-2 from 3, 1-7 right at the basket. Many were simply too low at the rim. He's made higher finishes before so he is capable of adjusting his shot, but like his entire game in this tilt, everything just seemed more grounded. The missed first dunk set the tone for the rest of the night.

This game exemplified Phreak's contention that Keldon has a game that's better suited for someone taller, and while we disagree on the potential, the outcome tonight showed how a reliable jumper needs to be added to his toolkit. There are other ways to score besides driving and 3s. In addition to his shot selection, Keldon could make better decisions as to who he drives against. Big Body gets to the basket on his physicality, but he needs to pick his battles a bit better as to who he goes up against. That's not conceding; it's smart strategy. He'll bounce back, but also at some point we have to address him as the starting 4. Rudy does come in as the back-up 4 and small ball 5 to good results, so we're not leaving him out there by himself, but these are a lot for a young guy to deal with physically and mentally.

Lonnie was praised by the commentators about his speed and smooth jumper. And it's times like these where I appreciate what I've already come to somewhat take for granted. His speed to me now is just Lonnie doing Lonnie things, so when you hear it from someone else's fresh eyes, you get a renewed appreciation for it. He was overall better in this game and last looking more for his shot and being aggressive in driving to the basket. The assertive Lonnie is a triple thread for driving, mid-range, and 3s and when he's at his best and engaged, he employs all three like he did in this game. It's harder to lock down a player like that especially since he was more efficient in this game, too, scoring 14 on 6-11, 2-4 from 3 along with 6 rebounds, 2 assists, and a block.

There are times when Lonnie gives and takes away. On one such occasion he sneaked in for a steal but in dribbling the ball the other way, rather than passing it quickly to team mates already ahead, he held onto it too long and got it stolen right back. One of those times when being unselfish makes you look all the better. It's a learning situation. Another aspect of his game that needs improving is getting to the FT line. He's averaging only 1.4 attempts per game and making only 63.6% of them. On D, I've noticed that at times when he rotates he sort of goes through the motions at swiping at the opponent but he doesn't really do much to contest, especially at the basket. Finishing the D assignment from beginning to end will help him help us.

Our opponent did a solid job forcing Patty to work hard for space and shots from 3. He's making a ridiculous 55.8% of them so that wasn't a surprise. Patty did well to keep moving with and without the ball to clear some space but was deterred as he only connected on 1-3 from 3. Still, he's a smart vet who found other ways to score and contribute. His 3 threat allowed him to open his drive game where he made 2-4 at the rim and was a wonderful facilitator getting a bench-high 7 assists. Really smart, crafty player.

Rudy was terrific on both ends, helping to guard LBJ and making a solid contribution with a bench high 15 points on 6-10, 3-5 from 3 and 6 boards. I really like him at the small ball 5. It's a mobile, versatile line-up that is a threat to get stops and mobile to score in transition. The game has changed a lot, and it's good that he's willing to roll with it.

Jakob and Devin were the final main rotation players, each contributing in ways their games do. Jakob got a team-high 3 O boards (6 in total) though I'm sometimes on the fence about his bobbling the ball in the air to keep it alive. Sometimes it's the right play. Sometimes he has to just bloody well jump and grab the ball. I do like it when he punches the O boards out. His putback ability is a work in progress. I wish we could rely on them with a higher certainty than we do. His one made basket was again a dunk, but for a 7' player he misses an awful lot of bunnies. He made his one FT, this on a hard release bank shot hahaha! Progress. We'll take it. On D I thought he was bested by a quick first step of their PF and the physicality of his finish put Jakob on his heels. When he reacts to the first step at the key he does well to stay with the driver, but at other times it's like his knees don't bend enough to adjust and he gets beaten. The stiff legs aren't only apparent on defending drives but in rebounding, too. Weird for the tallest player on the team, but it says something that even LMA who is ten years older looks more springy.

Devin's rotation low 14 minutes maybe warrant some revision as the season progresses, but it also has to do with who we're playing and his getting stronger. He's agile and smart, and moved well without the ball to get into position for 2-4 from 3. He was active on D and chipped in with 1 rebound, 2 assists, 1 steal, 1 block.

It was a solid team effort to start strong, withstand their runs, and make a final push or two of our own to pull ahead for good. We have made 36 3s in the last two games, and took 36 (both from passes and off the dribble - better balance than almost exclusively from passes previously) in this game on a faster pace. We also are making more high low passes whether it's guards or forwards to bigs (Keldon's to LMA's was with pinpoint accuracy) or bigs to bigs. I like the expanded repertoire. It's nice to see it returning and I hope it grows.

We ran back on D far better to limit those full court passes that we allowed in the first two games versus this team. We contested better both in running out at 3s and collapsing in the key to wall off drivers. We rebounded better in the second half. We grabbed 16 in the 1st half, one of which was on O, and 40 overall, six of which were on O. We need to still do a better job in limiting second chance points (we were outrebounded , but we did do a better job in securing the ball both in rebounds and in making only 6 TOs. We converted their 13 TOs into 16 points.

I liked the rotations and minutes Pop assigned, and his timeouts either addressed missed cues on D or stemmed their runs from growing. Game management is something that doesn't get noticed until or unless it's hurting, so the machine ran well and smoothly and we adjusted well each time.

Whereas Pop was reticent after the previous game, he, LMA, and DeMar had a lot to say after it especially about the riots in D.C. It's no secret that Pop and our players are outspoken about social and political issues, that Pop encourages discussion and education end individual expression. I don't think I've ever seen LMA so expressive (relative to him). That said I don't think I've ever addressed them in a game thread, but since they did, and given the special circumstances, I include them here for support and posterity:

Pop went from one or two word answers before and after last game to over ten minutes pre-game in this one:


LMA's full interview:


Some details in this article:
https://news4sanantonio.com/sports/spurs-zone/its-sad-spurs-lamarcus-aldridge-delivers-powerful-message-on-us-capitol-riot


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Re: GAME DAY, BALA! GAME 8: SPURS AT LAKERS, 7-1-2021, 9PM (CT) 

Post#14 » by Phreak50 » Sat Jan 9, 2021 11:33 am

Always enjoy reading your in depth comments Grey.

Agree with most of them as well.

On Keldon, it's crazy to think we have a guy shorter than Danny Green (yes I don't believe he is even 6'6) playing as basically a PF.

And I have to wonder if his flaws would actually be even more on display against smaller, quicker players. He isn't a great ballhandler and gets himself into some awkward positions when driving.

It's too tough to predict. As with rookie Kawhi, you just never know a player's work ethic and desire to improve all aspects of their game.

On Aldridge, all of his flaws aside, I can't think of a better mid and longish mid range shooting big man in the history of the game. His open jumper game is as textbook perfect as you'll ever see and during his peak he was almost as good with it from post ups.

I still don't blame the Spurs for signing him. We rarely sign big names and it was a miracle he even considered leaving Portland. Had it not been for Kawhi and his Uncle being backstabbing divas, we could have had a couple more rings and Aldridge would have moved up a huge bunch of spots on the greatness metre.

As it is, the game and more so team has changed and he has lost interest for the most part.

Surely what he did against LA reminds other contending teams how important he could and we start to receive some offers.

Without looking at what we'd even get back, he'd make Boston instant title contenders imo.

While on that, I couldn't care less what we do or don't get for Derozan. He has shown he is still in the second tier of great players and I'd love to see him go somewhere and contribute to a title.

Patty... What a freaking legend. He has honestly got better every year for the last few years. Unheard of at his age and height. Epitome of a great work ethic.

I still like Lonnie. He is so smooth and glides around the court, still pretty much raw talent with the ability to explode into an all-star as soon as it all clicks.

I'd have White, Walker and either Keldon/Vassell (depending who develops quicker and proves their case) as the starters. And I think it was Grey in another thread that mentioned Markinnen as a potential target, he'd fit well around those guys and our current style of play.

I'd still package Murray with DD or LMA to improve the assets returning.

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