GAME DAY, BALA! GAME 18: SPURS VS. CELTICS, 27-1-2021, 7:30PM (CT)

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GAME DAY, BALA! GAME 18: SPURS VS. CELTICS, 27-1-2021, 7:30PM (CT) 

Post#1 » by GREY 1769 » Wed Jan 27, 2021 6:11 pm

Well after that turnstile trip we're back at home for another chance at Game 18 but versus another opponent. Such is the nature of the challenges we now navigate, and all things considered, find ourselves fortunate to be able to do so quickly and with a couple of players back. We are at our best when we are as one. Let's play like it for the full 48.

WHERE: AT&T Center, San Antonio, TX

WHEN: Wednesday, January 27, 2021, 7:30pm (CT)

Earn The Stripes Mode: Unity and pace for the 10!

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GO SPURS GO!!!
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Re: GAME DAY, BALA! GAME 18: SPURS VS. CELTICS, 27-1-2021, 7:30PM (CT) 

Post#2 » by ducler » Wed Jan 27, 2021 9:31 pm

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Re: GAME DAY, BALA! GAME 18: SPURS VS. CELTICS, 27-1-2021, 7:30PM (CT) 

Post#3 » by GREY 1769 » Thu Jan 28, 2021 2:40 am

D TO O TRANSITION!!! :rockon:

KELDON JOHNSON!!! :rockon:

LONNIE SKYWALKER IV!!! :rockon:

TEAM BASKETBALL! :rockon:
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Re: GAME DAY, BALA! GAME 18: SPURS VS. CELTICS, 27-1-2021, 7:30PM (CT) 

Post#4 » by GREY 1769 » Thu Jan 28, 2021 2:41 am

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Re: GAME DAY, BALA! GAME 18: SPURS VS. CELTICS, 27-1-2021, 7:30PM (CT) 

Post#5 » by GREY 1769 » Thu Jan 28, 2021 3:55 am

FEELS SO GOOD!!! :rockon:
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Re: GAME DAY, BALA! GAME 18: SPURS VS. CELTICS, 27-1-2021, 7:30PM (CT) 

Post#6 » by GREY 1769 » Thu Jan 28, 2021 4:18 am

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Re: GAME DAY, BALA! GAME 18: SPURS VS. CELTICS, 27-1-2021, 7:30PM (CT) 

Post#7 » by Phreak50 » Thu Jan 28, 2021 10:23 am

Missed the game again, too busy at work. Now too tired to watch the replay.

Looks like a lot of contributions. Great to see.

Lots and lots of turnovers though. Looks like it shod have been a big win based on shooting, were we just sloppy or trying too hard to make extra passes?
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Re: GAME DAY, BALA! GAME 18: SPURS VS. CELTICS, 27-1-2021, 7:30PM (CT) 

Post#8 » by GREY 1769 » Thu Jan 28, 2021 6:06 pm

Phreak50 wrote:Missed the game again, too busy at work. Now too tired to watch the replay.

Looks like a lot of contributions. Great to see.

Lots and lots of turnovers though. Looks like it shod have been a big win based on shooting, were we just sloppy or trying too hard to make extra passes?

The TO's were a function of both good Cs scouting so that their players were at the receivers of passes before the passes got there at times. We'd spread the floor and they'd push us out further. So some of it was their pressure. And some of it was just mental mistakes, unforced errors like stepping out of bounds on shots and drives, or passing right into opponent hands. Just one of "those" games.

But we persevered through it. Went on a tear in the latter half of the 2ND Q in which we went on a 29-6 run (fun last 30 or so seconds of the half, too!) hitting something like 15-17 shots.

It was a game of runs. You'll see :lol:

But in the end, we cleaned it up on both ends, made clutch D and O plays to get back our lead and keep it till the end of the game. And we get Derrick back soon! Nice early birthday presents for Pop :D
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Re: GAME DAY, BALA! GAME 18: SPURS VS. CELTICS, 27-1-2021, 7:30PM (CT) 

Post#9 » by GREY 1769 » Sun Jan 31, 2021 1:34 am

A potential concern before this game began turned into a false alarm that worked in our favour. Missing the previous one from an abundance of caution by the league was a blessing in disguise as it gave us two days off in a row for the first time this month. Funny how things work out as it may well have contributed to the extra energy we needed against a solid opponent.

And we needed it in a game of alternating runs, overcoming butterfingers, and making clutch plays for an early birthday present for Pop.

We finished the 1ST Q down 5 with very similar numbers to our opponents in attempts in FGA’s, 3’s, and FT’s. Our shooting only 2-8 from 3 was the main difference.

LMA was actually far better on both ends, especially defensively, but we once again went with a half court set that resulted with a LMA 3 miss early in the game, and he finished the 1ST Q with a team high 5 shots, making 2, one of which was a 3. His getting to the FT line (1-2) was a good early sign.

Another slowish start is not ideal, and hopefully we keep making changes as the season progresses and we have our full team’s strengths to work with. We should, of course, involve LMA. Games like this show how valuable he and the other three vets are for us. But our core strength is our transition and pace and the current pattern is what we’ve been employing throughout last season as well. There’s a lot to be said for continuity, but also for change when something is not working. Enter bubble style of play.

LMA has changed. These are well documented and his willingness is appreciated. I wonder whether starting with great pace and then working LMA into some half court shots would help us finally get a leg up on opponents? Part of the issue of doing things as we have is we keep getting the same results of having to fight back from deficits. The other part is waiting to unleash our strengths from a deficit rather than imposing one. And the final part is variety. Our opponent scouted us well, knew what we’d run, and was prepared for it time and again, making it more difficult for us to get clean shots.

It does, of course, depend on what a given situation presents, but switching the order of what we start with – pace rather than half court, if possible – to be less predictable and see if we can have some 1ST Q success would be a welcome change.

The incredible offensive outburst in the latter half of the 2ND Q during which we went on a 29-6 run was a tantalizing display of transition strength. It included some stellar D awareness by Patty for a steal and layup followed by a Keldon poke from behind of an inbounds pass that ended up in Lonnie’s hands for an end of Q J. Our 14-point half time lead is all the more impressive considering we were down 41-32 when our run began.

Our play leading up to it was quite choppy and without the rhythm you’d like to generate from the outset. Credit to our opponents. They were prepared for what we were running and anticipated well, often covering a player just before he received a pass. They had active hands and stripped us on drives, blocked us, pushed the pace, and when they missed, they got O boards for second chance points. We moved on screens, stepped out of bounds, made bad passes, and fouled. Oof. All things considering, being down 9 was fortunate. That seems to be a magic cut off in terms of deficits because our record is far better when we come from behind single digit leads.

Cue the switch flip. It was a series of consecutive good plays whose rhythm overtook that of mistakes. LMA made a quick extra pass around the arc for a good to great Lonnie 3. Then it was the Keldon Johnson energy push: a reverse layup here, a baseline backdoor cut there, a physical drive over an LMA screen into their C for a fadeaway high off the glass bucket. We deflected passes, Keldon skied for an O board among three opponents for a putback and suddenly we were within 3. From then on it was D to O transition, it was saving the ball from falling out of bounds, it was stepping up on rotations to contest, it was bouncing the ball off the opponent to maintain possession. In between we hit 3s, drove to the basket, hit floaters and almost every shot we took, really. Huge momentum shift to earn a 14-point lead.

LMA was in the midst of it, too, so it’s not like he doesn’t fit the style of play. His adjustments were making extra passes, staying engaged with the defensive play down low on man and help D for 2 blocks, and, importantly, he was no longer sagging back but stepped up time and again to close the space of ball handlers to prevent easy drives and contest well. If he could just stop doing these each game we’ll be better off:
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To his credit there were fewer of them in this game.

Runs depend on energy and adjustments, and they used a 2-1-2 zone in the 3RD Q to stymie us. We stopped driving and creating chances inside. We just kept passing around the arc without purpose and were pushed to end of clock shots. Our O looked completely out of sync at times like we’d never played together before. Throughout the game, they also kept switching their PG’s onto our bigs to try and take advantage of their speed and quickness. But considering LMA and Jakob got 2 blocks each (for the team’s total) we held our own. Their defensive shift to zone and downhill push sawed away at our lead and we were actually down two points after 3 Q’s.

But staying even keeled throughout the peaks and valleys of a game is a strength this season as our patterns of play reveal.

There were some interesting quarter stats shown during the Spurs broadcast. We have the best defensive 2ND Q rating in the league at 94.3, and our 4TH Q’s 116.8 are our best offensively. Also, our 1ST and 3RD Q’s are net negatives and the 2ND and 4TH Q’s are net positives. True to our pattern, we were behind in the 1st, got a big lead in the 2nd, lost it in the 3rd, and pulled away with some steady, clutch plays to seal the win in the 4th. The final Q was in some ways a microcosm of the game – down by 4, we then went on an 11-0 run. We left some points on the floor with at times too unselfish play. Jakob had an O board and an open basket behind him but he passed it out to Keldon. It was registered as an assist, but should have been a made FG had he just checked quickly behind him. He defers to a fault sometimes. DJ drove over Jakob’s screen and had an open basket but again passed it out to Keldon who drove in for 2. It’s easy to say when watching, but just making the simple plays with what the D gives is optimal.

We are at our best when we share the ball and the scoring, making us harder to guard as any number of players can step up and score. We saw some new wrinkles added such as the LMA drive and dunk. Every now and again he looks to dribble drive facing opponents as opposed to from post ups. As a team we used backdoor cuts far more than we usually do. The scouting must have exposed a vulnerability that we did well to exploit both in the patience of the ball handler to wait for our movement to take attention away from the player farthest from the ball as well as timing the pass with the back door cutter without telegraphing the play. Time and again we were able to connect on crisp passes and decisive lay ins. Our fast breaks, however, were not part of the best-of package. Why is is so hard to run out to the wings and make the pass ahead? This along with breaking down zone D need some work.

Of course as all the talk about us having the best turnover ratio grew louder we turned the ball over with wanton abandon. Twenty! more or less evenly distributed throughout each Q. Some were because of defensive pressure that forced rushed decisions, but a whole lot more were simply unforced mental errors – stepping out of bounds on drives or on corner shots, passing right into opponents’ hands or kicking out into the stands. Hopefully we got them all out of our system. I like that we remained competitive throughout them all, and that we didn’t let their taking over the lead affect our level of play.

There was presence of mind when tied 103-103 DeMar quickly got to his spot on the right side and hit a clutch J which gave us the lead and allowed us a 2-for-1 opportunity. There was presence of mind between Patty and DJ to switch on their PG so that DJ covered Kemba and Patty had Tatum. Patty fronted his man and DJ stayed in front of KW preventing them to execute a screen and switch back. All those times looking for switches throughout the game maybe played a role in their insisting on it but we got the match-up we wanted. DJ with his long reach and feline quickness poked the ball for a steal and a dunk. It turns out that the following play, a drive on Jakob that resulted in a basket and foul for the extra point should not have been called a foul, but we kept our composure:
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There was presence of mind when on a night where we made a woeful 7-13TF’s, Rudy was fouled and stepped up for his first FT’s of the game, hitting both for a three-point cushion. And there was presence of mind when DJ ran his heart out to fly by on their end of game attempt. He never gives up on a play and I like to think that his previous defensive successes were at least to some extent responsible for the miss. His presence alone makes shooters be extra aware. And finally, there was presence of mind with Rudy securing the rebound with less than a second left in the game.

So many stepped up when it mattered most.

We had six players in double figures, led by DeMar’s 21. This was a bubble performance to near perfection (7-8, 2-2 from 3, 5-6FT’s) as he actively looked to be a deft distributor, leading us with 7 of our 22 assists and grabbing 5 boards. He picked his spots to pounce on O amongst looking for others more and that kept their D off balance when we moved the ball well.

The two main beneficiaries of DeMar’s vision were Lonnie and Keldon, both of whom were very efficient. It was good to see Lonnie see more baskets fall, making 6-9, 2-4 from 3 for 14 points. Good confident drives to the basket, and great form on his 3s. He only had 1 rebound and 1 assist, so as his O game stabilizes, hopefully he can expand other areas of his game. DeMar takes up a bulk of such duties and attention on O, so for now, his getting the ball to others takes the pressure off him, gives him room, while ensuring that the young guys contribute within their roles. Lonnie still gets bested on opponent first steps – something that is perhaps too big to manage right now. Perhaps when Derrick returns Lonnie can benefit from a bench role against players that aren’t as much of a leap for him to guard and work his way up. Keldon is growing out of his rather quickly and I love every moment of it. He’s learning from one game and implementing it in the next. The variety with which he finishes at the rim is so impressive. His body control is better, too. Keldon powered his way – and the team behind his energy – to a double double of 18 (on terrific 9-14) and 10 (3 on O). He just makes it his business to get O boards, twice getting butpacks among three opponents! Such huge momentum shifts. He was also the one who willed his way to drive through their trap and helped us turn the tide in our favour.

It was an inverted game in many respects with uncharacteristic TO’s and missed FT’s, with DeMar making 100% of his 3s whereas LMA made only 25% of his FT’s. We didn’t shoot the 3 well (8-28) but made a stellar 27-33 in the paint. Our opponents had four starters in double figures, all but their C. LMA and Jakob bested their bigs end to end. It’s games like these that LMA’s value – both his deeply set in skills and the newly adjusted ones – in which he makes a strong impact. He was our leading scorer at the half with 14 on 5-8, 3-4 from 3, 1-2FT’s. No rebounds - not even on D! - by that point is really not good even if he operates more outside now. But his scorching the opponent early was a big advantage as we were a threat in a variety of ways. Continuing with unexpected results, Jakob led the bench with 4 assists. He was 2-2 with only 4 points – still hope we get him more involved when he has a good hand – but was a stat stuffer with 9 boards (bench high 3 on O), a steal, and 2 blocks. Jakob was particularly effective defensively. Pop subbed him in late in the 4TH Q with the game tied 101-101 for his D, which speaks to the trust he’s earned. Then we subbed LMA back in for the O. Jakob’s defense was disruptive because of his recognition, footwork, and being in the right places to either contest, block and rebound. His two baskets were from a tip in and from a Rudy pass inside.

Rudy has undergone a transformation, though it is less discussed than LMA’s. He has always been a walking bucket, and is still a threat to score in a variety of ways, be it from the arc, on post-ups, mid-range J’s, or hard drives for dunks. But he’s also had some tunnel vision with the ball movement ending in his hands. Like LMA, Rudy has grown this season in expanding his facilitating. His connection with Jakob stands out in particular. He was inefficient in scoring (2-8, 0-5 from 3), but he grabbed crucial rebounds, and made 3-4FT’s – all late in the 4TH Q that helped seal the game for us.

Another anomaly – Patty shot 0-4 from 3 yet still led the bench in scoring with 12 (6-11) but came up with 2 clutch steals to go along with 2 assists and a rebound. His role is perfect for our team. His synergy with DJ in the 4TH Q’s is part of what our success. They both defend well in complementary ways – DJ with quick timing, Patty with surprisingly good physicality to thwart bigger players’ attempts at drives. And their respective O games – DJ with his mid-range, drives and kickouts, Patty with his off ball movement, drives and 3s – complement one another well, too. DJ went from not scoring in the first half (0-4, but with 7 boards and 3 assists) to finishing with 11 on 5-11 (0-2 from 3, 1-2FT’s, with 11 rebounds, 4 assists, and the most timely, precise steal that was one of the several crucial turning points. His 3s still need some consistency, but his heart and competitiveness is ever present. The 4TH Q was his strongest, scoring 4-5, including that uncontested dunk late in the game after the crucial steal.

That our young players are developing signature plays – DJ steals and pushing the ball in transition, Keldon ‘Mustang’ barrelling against bigger opponents to the rim as well as stepping up to the challenge of defending bigger opponents, Lonnie’s 3s and otherworldly athleticism, Devin’s 3 and D (though he didn’t stand out in this game), on top of Derrick’s taking charges and getting blocks – is a testament to our development and fitting their strengths into a style of play that gets the most out of them. That the vets are fitting so well with them with the adjustments they’ve made to better fit our expanded style of play all attest to everybody buying in and putting in the work to make it work. And we’re nowhere near finished growing together. Some things to clean up and polish, but the signs are there that we’re on the right path.

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