The San Antonio Spurs after a glorious beginning, but hit some hiccups in the second week of the season.
On Tuesday, the Utah Jazz came to town, and played at a level that showed they are capable of being a formidable playoff contender this year.
Their ball movement was reminiscent of the Spurs themselves when things are clicking. The Jazz knocked down 15 three pointers dooming the Spurs.
San Antonio got very little contribution offensively, outside of Kawhi Leonard, who scored 30 points, and LaMacus Aldridge chipping in 21 points.
The Jazz played with more energy, shot 50 percent.
The final score was 106-91.
Not to dwell on the loss, the Spurs got a chance at revenge Friday against the Jazz. The Spurs were focused from the start. Leonard and Aldridge got the scoring help they needed from Patty Mills.
Leonard finished with a double-double finishing with 29 points, and 11 rebounds. Aldridge added 19 points, while Mills contributed 16.
Leonard really took over the game for a stretch in the 3rd and the rest of the Spurs followed their new leader in route to a 100-86 victory.
The real difference from their last meeting was their defense. The Spurs held the Jazz to 38 percent shooting from the field.
The Jazz also missed several free throws, and came down to Earth from their blistering performance earlier in the week.
On Saturday, the Spurs who have had a travel heavy schedule thus far this season, flew back home to San Antonio late at night from Utah, and prepared to host the Los Angeles Clippers.
This game featured two of the best teams in the NBA, and had the makings of an early season big time showdown.
Sadly, only the Clippers were in battle form, and took it to the Spurs all game long. The Spurs looked tired, plain and simple.
The fact that it was a back to back didn’t help matters. To be honest, when a team has a back to back, I always excuse the loss.
When a team is playing two nights in a row, you are getting an inferior product as a fan of the NBA.
You also are making the players push themselves too much. Now when you win a game on a second night of back to back games, that is impressive.
The Spurs did it last week in Miami against the Heat, and to the Clippers credit, they also played Friday night. They were the better and more aggressive, energized squad on Saturday night.
In fact it was the 3rd worse loss in San Antonio over the course of Gregg Popovich’s 20 year reign as head coach.
The final score was 116-92, and it didn’t even seem that close.
So despite finishing the second week of the season with a 1-2 mark, the Spurs still have a respectable 5-2 record as week 3 of the NBA season commences.
The Spurs get a much needed rest, and have three days to get ready for the Houston Rockets on Wednesday at the AT&T Center.
The Spurs having been embarrassed at home should bounce back and beat the Rockets, and start re-establishing their usual home dominance. They were virtually unbeatable last season in San Antonio, losing only one time at home all year.
The Spurs then host the Detroit Pistons two days later on Friday. Again, they should win, being at home, not being a back to back, and being the better team overall.
The next night will be in Houston versus the Rockets. That game will offer a quick chance at revenge for whichever team lost the game on Wednesday in San Antonio.
So I will predict a 2-1 week, with the Rockets defeating us on the second night of a back to back.
Hopefully, the Spurs will get back to being strong at home, and maybe even a bonus win in Houston on that back to back which would make us 5-0 on the road for the season.
In conclusion, it is a long 82 game grind. There will be ups and downs. So far we have experienced the high of blowing out the Warriors and the low of getting blown out by the Clippers.
There will be more of both to come. If they beat the majority of teams that we are supposed to beat, the Spurs record should be solid.
San Antonio also needs a healthy Danny Green and Tony Parker to be at their fullest potential, and that is not the case right now.
If the week concludes with the Spurs holding either a 7-3 or 8-2 record, they are on course for the long journey of the NBA season.