GAME DAY, BALA! GAME 23: SPURS AT ROCKETS, 6-2-2021, 7PM (CT)

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GAME DAY, BALA! GAME 23: SPURS AT ROCKETS, 6-2-2021, 7PM (CT) 

Post#1 » by GREY 1769 » Sat Feb 6, 2021 7:04 pm

After a rare two day break, we take a short trip to a state rival for another final series clincher. Both teams are undermanned so it's a slight adjustment of game plan but not its execution and the team synergy and energy we need to play our best for the full 48 minutes. Let's turn the tide in our favour. We have it within us to do it.

WHERE: Toyota Center, Houston, TX

WHEN: Saturday, February 6, 2021, 7pm (CT)

Earn The Stripes Mode: Full team effort for the whole game!

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GO SPURS GO!!!
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Re: GAME DAY, BALA! GAME 23: SPURS AT ROCKETS, 6-2-2021, 7PM (CT) 

Post#2 » by GREY 1769 » Sat Feb 6, 2021 7:43 pm

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So it sounds like Derrick will make his return to the starting group. Fingers crossed it's a DJ-Derrick back court!

EDIT to add: Yeah!
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Re: GAME DAY, BALA! GAME 23: SPURS AT ROCKETS, 6-2-2021, 7PM (CT) 

Post#3 » by ducler » Sat Feb 6, 2021 8:37 pm

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Re: GAME DAY, BALA! GAME 23: SPURS AT ROCKETS, 6-2-2021, 7PM (CT) 

Post#4 » by GREY 1769 » Sun Feb 7, 2021 2:18 am

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Who had Drew as the X-factor? :o I'll take it!

Especially since Jakob is doing his best worst Jakob impression.

Derrick is uncharacteristically demure. This isn't the filling in for Lonnie I had in mind, Derrick!

We left a lot of points on the floor with missed bunnies and missed 3s.

Our D is noticeably better already and it's no surprise with LMA and Lonnie out and Jakob and Derrick in for them.

We are finessing our O too much. We need to be more assertive and physical with our drives, Spurs! Get it!
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Re: GAME DAY, BALA! GAME 23: SPURS AT ROCKETS, 6-2-2021, 7PM (CT) 

Post#5 » by GREY 1769 » Sun Feb 7, 2021 3:34 am

Jakob doing his best Lonnie impression with all the missed bunnies. Sweet Holy Baby Jesus!
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Re: GAME DAY, BALA! GAME 23: SPURS AT ROCKETS, 6-2-2021, 7PM (CT) 

Post#6 » by GREY 1769 » Sun Feb 7, 2021 3:47 am

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Well it wasn't pretty at times in the 4TH Q, but we held it together to get to the line and make clutch FT's when it counted most.

Our defense was on the whole far better in this game, and personnel switch is not a coincidence.

We uncharacteristically had trouble scoring in the 4TH Q at times. It happens, but we got good stops and it settled us in to make smart plays down the stretch.

Another series win versus a West rival. Solid!
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Re: GAME DAY, BALA! GAME 23: SPURS AT ROCKETS, 6-2-2021, 7PM (CT) 

Post#7 » by imagump1313 » Sun Feb 7, 2021 4:56 pm

Trying to look for positives and not be Mister Negative all the time but its going to take a lot to get those 2 Memphis games out of my head.

Honestly we lose that game if not being bailed out by the refs with all the free throws and that they were without Spurs killer Christain Wood. We did hit the free throws so there's that, but not really a convincing win in my book.

Houston really turned up their defense in the forth. Our version of turning up defense is Houston missing wide open shots. I like seeing more of Vassell even if he struggles early. He is always consistent on defense.

Eubanks actually played like an NBA player for a bit. Poeltl takes one step forward and three steps back from game to game.

39 minutes of DeRozan is something I dont need to see but whatever. Next game he will play 35 minutes and score 6 points and whine to refs and get needless techs.

Dont get me wrong, I hate seeing Walker hurt. But it was totally obvious that we lose little to nothing when he isnt out there. We are a better team with him not starting.

It says something about a player when I see he is out and say "Oh Cool!" rather than "Damn, how are we gonna win tonight"
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Re: GAME DAY, BALA! GAME 23: SPURS AT ROCKETS, 6-2-2021, 7PM (CT) 

Post#8 » by Phreak50 » Mon Feb 8, 2021 3:30 pm

I've still almost completely given up on Murray but I won't give up on Walker.

He is 22 and on a team that has no sense of purpose and is stacked with similar players in similar roles.

When he is on, he is on! He barely worked up a sweat and felt like he barely touched the ball that game he had 20 odd points in the first half.

Once everything clicks he could still be a star.

Look how long it's taken a guy like Wiggins (who is still only 25) to start working things out on both his offensive role but also the defensive end.

White and Lonnie are our backcourt and we should be pairing Murray with Aldridge or Derozan to sweeten a trade deal.
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Re: GAME DAY, BALA! GAME 23: SPURS AT ROCKETS, 6-2-2021, 7PM (CT) 

Post#9 » by GREY 1769 » Mon Feb 8, 2021 5:58 pm

Some interesting insights here about our LMA-less line-up:
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Posting it here as it touches upon more minutes/looks for DeMar that gump addressed (although I get the bigger concern is swings in play). Like in the bubble, a LMA-less DeMar is getting more touches for himself and others, and the team is far better overall.

I agree with Phreak that we shouldn't give up on Lonnie, but not that he and Derrick are the back court right now.

I agree with gump that Lonnie has not shown anything of consistent play to merit a starting role. The only reason he has it is because Derrick got hurt. It's been a great opportunity, one he's pined for last season on social media (more minutes, not necessarily a starting role), and now that he has more minutes (27 per game) AND a starting role, he's been overall bad this season:
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Sure stats don't tell the whole story, but cumulative numbers show a Bad D pattern.

And sure Lonnie CAN get points easily. The problem is that when given the opportunity - and he's had plenty all season - he's been failing badly.
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Sorry but he's just not risen to the role on either end. It's too big for him right now. By comparison, as all of Lonnie's numbers have decreased, DJ's have increased (except for efficiency, which has largely stayed the same).

DJ and Derrick showed how formidable a tandem they can be in the bubble. Lonnie's and DeMar's games overlap too much (and again, Lonnie's time with the ball - decisions of shooting when others are open, mid-air passes that get picked off, horrible finishing at the rim) and he needs to run with the bench unit. He'll also be up against opponent benches which should help him not get so torched on D. But that's also a function of some bad habits - reaching in, staying with the play until the end rather than giving up after a screen, watching on help D or rotating over without great urgency. It's just snowballed.

DJ and Derrick are a far stronger tandem on both ends right now. They're more experienced, they're more skilled. Lonnie can still get his minutes and touches with the bench unit more suited to his run and gun style, less pressure, more room to operate without DeMar along his side - to be clear, though, the main issue is Lonnie himself.

He pined for more minutes and a bigger role last season. Now he's got both. Getting more of what he wanted is showing us what he needs - a lot more seasoning.
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Re: GAME DAY, BALA! GAME 23: SPURS AT ROCKETS, 6-2-2021, 7PM (CT) 

Post#10 » by GREY 1769 » Thu Feb 11, 2021 8:27 am

Another series win. Sure it was against a depleted opponent, but that’s the task at hand, and winning games we’re supposed to hasn’t always been a reliable get for us.

To be sure we struggled along the way because our shooting was on the whole poor. But it was our D that kept us in the game through stretches when we couldn’t score. This was the first full game in which we had our bubble starters together again and it was like muscle memory; we looked far more mobile and responsible individually and to one another on D and it helped open up transition opportunities.

An early 9-0 run to pull ahead 16-7 from solid D set the tone. We were active with deflections, blocks, punching out O boards, fighting over screens, staying with drivers and providing good help D at least enough to make things difficult, an improvement on giving up on plays at the screen and allowing open layups.

Moving and contesting well was an early mark that helped us push the ball. Our 3s were unfortunately not falling (we made only 8-25) at all well for anyone except for Rudy who struck 3-3 from the arc so we were fighting for that balance of striking for the extra points in transition to reward ourselves for our good play, but it at times backfired as they’d push right back from our missed 3s and make one of their own.

Six-point swings can take the wind out of sails. Pop was quick to call timeouts in those situations to stem any momentum and get us on track. We at times tend to keep trying the fast break 3, but there are other options, our fast break fundamentals challenges notwithstanding.

It’s strange how at times we tend to mirror what the opponent does. We sometimes have trouble taking advantage of opponent scoring droughts and fall into droughts of our own. This time it was the 3s not falling and Jakob just forgetting how to finish anywhere near the rim with four misses inside the restricted circle and two in the paint. It’s strange as well how our guys pass the baton of poor shooting from one player to the next: Lonnie was 1-10 in the game before this one, and Jakob was 0-6 here after being so incredibly efficient the game before. He led us in rebounds, and was disruptive defensively, great man and help D, though it’s strange how he looks at times like he has no hops in a game after he was so bouncy. Perhaps he’s not used to all the extra game action and wear.

Our opponents made 12-38 from 3, so the big difference for us was our driving game and getting to the FT line. At the beginning of the broadcast it was mentioned that we are #2 in the league in drives per game, scoring 30PPG on them. Well to offset our lack of 3s, we kept going to the FT line, especially in the 4TH Q. Whereas they made 18-25FT’s, we made 29-36FT’s in the game, led by DeMar’s stellar 11-12. He was terrific once again, scoring a team high 30 points on 9-16, 1-3 from 3 (nice that he pitched in here) along with 8 boards (second only to Jakob’s 11, 2 on O) and team high 7 assists.

If I had to be picky, he over dribbled at times and got into tricky spots where he was too easily doubled (down low on the left side is a tendency). He slows the pace to read the court, but at times that’s also a function of our guys needing to move faster into open spots. I also thought his end of 3RD Q drive the length of the court to the right baseline for and end of Q miss wasn’t the best shot we could have created; nobody else touched the ball, no other options were explored. His late game pass to nobody for the TO was the lone glaring pressure mistake. But overall he was the cog we needed, and he stepped up to the task. He was the only starter who came close to being efficient and thank goodness he had a good night. Say what you will about whatever deficiencies in his game, our young guys, though improved, are not at this level of impact yet because none of them have the complete game he has. Yet.

But the complementary roles they play around DeMar are meshing with his altered game very well. Derrick (6-14, 2-7 from 3, no FT’s), Keldon (3-7, 0-2 from 3, 4-7FT’s), and DJ (4-13, 0-1 from 3, 3-3FT’s), and all scored in double figures but struggled in getting there. It was that kind of night, and again the poor shooting seemed to spread and affect more guys as the game went on. DJ was perhaps the most blatant case as he began the game on solid 3-4 mid rangers in the 1ST Q, and then struggled mightily the rest of the way, missing all but one shot in the final three Q’s (0-3 - all in the paint - in the 2ND, 0-2 - a mid range and a 3 - in the 3RD, 1-4 - making one top of key J, missing three mid range J’s just to the right and left of the paint - in the 4TH Q).

It was a lacklustre 11 points and even his 2 steals though solid D contributions felt like the numbers left a little unsaid. He got beaten on the dribble at times with a quick first step, at times with their physicality into him, pushing him back. And he uncharacteristically didn’t always have his hands out to contest. He used screens well to get to his spots, and pushed the ball well in transition. Two of his three assists were to Derrick, so it’s good to have them strengthen their connection. But he tended to dribble into defenders and lose his handle. He missed team mates on several occasions as court vision and making the best quick pass along is still something he is developing.

Unaffected by anyone else’s poor shooting was the wrecking energy ball that is Drew who came in for Jakob and promptly blocked a 3, tried a Euro step (missed but who knew he had that in the tool kit?), then got another block, and ran down the court to get a deft DeMar bounce pass down low, got fouled, and made both FT’s. Drew and Derrick have good chemistry and run the P&R well. He rolls when he should and is consistent in finishing at the rim be is layins, hooks, or his favourite – thunderous dunks. Just good fundamentals. He finished the game with 12 points on 4-6, 4-4FT’s, 3 boards, 1 assist, and a team high 3 blocks. Solid 16 minutes of work for a third stringer filling in second unit duties. We needed every point, too, given that Jakob could make a shot. Drew showed a lot of hustle and confidence, just the antidote to a starting C who was struck by a bout of the yips.

I like that we were distributing the scoring well, especially in end of Q situations again. Seems to be an indicator when we don’t rely on DeMar ISO’s that we’re more cohesive and confident. At the end of the 1ST Q , Devin was mindful to follow the action to the rim and got a dunk for our final points and then hustled back to block their drive attempts with under two seconds left. In the 2ND Q after he stole the ball he quickly passed it ahead to initiate our fast break. I love that the vets, Patty in particular, look to reward Devin for his terrific work. In the 3RD Q, we stole the ball and pushed ahead quickly. With DeMar ahead to the left as an option, Patty chose a trailing Devin down the middle for a huge windmill dunk. It’s plays like these that we get a glimpse of the massive potential on top of the impact he’s already providing on both ends. He’s so aware of the situation and good use of space. He did bite on a 3 attempt and fouled, rookie mistake that even vets make, but overall he was very clean and effective defensively. He had a solid contribution scoring 9 on 4-7, 1-3 from 3, 2 boards, 1 assist, that block, and a team high 3 steals (!) in 15 minutes of work.

Our D to O transition helped to finally lead after the 1ST Q and to offset only 2-8 shooting. And it was on display at the end of the 2ND Q as well. After their miss and with hardly any time left, DJ zipped a pass down court to Patty who once again had done his part to run ahead, and caught it mid air and laid the ball in in one motion just before time expired.

Derrick struggled with his shot – the touch isn’t quite there yet, but I like that he kept taking them, both 3s from passes or from his own dribble. Only Patty and Rudy also do this so another threat from this shot is welcome. He looked out of sorts throughout, struggling with his distance in particular: he shot 4 of 5 in and just to the right of the key, 0-2 in mid range left of the key, and 2-7 from 3.

He did get caught covered at the baseline, picking up his dribble, and was tentative at times in trying to get the ball to Jakob which was stolen but was mostly terrific with the ball. He was tied with Rudy for second in scoring though his 14 points though they were hard earned, and was second to DeMar in assists with 5.

When our opponents went on a 4TH Q to bring the game to within a basket, Derrick made three consecutive baskets – two physical, crafty drives and a J – to bring up our lead to 96-91 which gave us a little breathing room and steadied us after we got on our heels a bit. He has such a knack for stepping up in the right moment with the right plays. Defensively he shone once again, with smart man D, staying with his man on quick feet, arms up. His head was on a swivel looking for screens and this awareness helps him anticipate and fight over them. It’s part of what helps him be so good at being a shadow defender. Good that some things are just as before as he works to get the full feel of his game back.

With our bubble starters back, we were great at running back on D, closing their passing lanes, forcing bad passes and 14 turnovers, however, we only capitalized for 5 points. Our 10 TO’s cost us 13 points. No such thing as a perfect game, but our unforced errors – passing it out of bounds twice in a row, not holding the ball cleanly and not scoring on proper fast breaks after getting steals – helped them get within 2 points in the 2ND Q and something that needs improving; we tend to take our foot off opponent throats and need to develop that killer instinct and take teams out as soon as we have the chance to do so. Losing intensity and focus gives the momentum away and makes things more difficult for us. We were still leading at the half, but our opponent finished the 2ND Q on a 18-6 run. We took our foot off the pedal, got sloppy, and left a lot of points on the floor.

Keldon is ever intense, and still driving relentlessly versus bigger and multiple opponents. While his physicality is always welcome, his vision and decision making can use some work. Drawing the attention of multiple defenders means teammates are open. He got blocked by their C once, and finished twice at the rim, both from DeMar’s passes, a player with whom he’s developing good chemistry.

We led for the overwhelming majority of the game, and though our 4TH Q’s are the ones in which we’ve stepped up to score the most points, our opponent had two runs, the second of which 7-0 gave them their sole 100-98 lead. They then fouled Jakob, our scoreless center who is a terrible FT shooter, so of course his sole two points were in making both! It’s funny how things turn out.

Down the stretch, we turned it over a couple of times – pressure of the situation, but we forced the pressure on them right back with drives and getting fouled by DeMar three times, Patty, and Rudy. We made a fantastic 14-15FT’s in the 4TH Q, the sole miss by Rudy early in the Q. So to stay on par with them and then take the lead for good.

Patty struggled with his shot, too, making 9 on 3-10, 1-6 from 3, with 3 boards (1 on O), 2 assists. His clutch FT’s were his sole trip to the line, and as our best FT shooter, he stepped up big. He was his usual reliable energetic self, moving constantly to open spaces, pushing the pace, making great passes and coming up clutch.

Rudy was also clutch at the line with his two sets of FT’s coming early and late in the 4TH Q. He led the bench scoring with 14 on great 4-8, 3-3 from 3, 3-4FT’s, led the bench with 6 rebounds, and added 1 assist. He was more of an outside threat for us in this game. That he has the ability to be a threat in whatever way we need him to be in a given game is just the versatility we need. Having two dynamic vets on the bench.

Thank goodness, too, because we made the game closer than it really needed to be. We gutted this one out, though, played through mistakes, and played with enough poise to get our signature shots to seal the game. When in doubt, rely on good habits. That these shone through is a step in the right direction, though we have to be mindful of bringing up other aspects of our game. Our passes aren’t as much in teammate sweet spots as they could be for quick releases. We keep getting outrebounded (46-44 versus a team with a depleted front court), we are fumbling our fast breaks with strange, cluttered, unclean finishes because we don’t run them with basic fundamentals and spacing, and we are neither taking nor making enough 3s. On the defensive end, that we got our bubble starting five back should help us with more locked in, faster, smarter D. Protecting the arc is a work in progress that personnel alone should help improve. With our back court of DJ and Derrick reunited, it’ll be interesting to see how our defensive metrics are affected. As we’re adjusting to incorporating everyone, we’ll gladly take the win and the series. There’s a lot to learn from and build on.

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