The San Antonio Spurs moved to 8-3 Monday night with a 94-90 win over the Miami Heat. The close four point final margin may come as a shock in a game where the Spurs had a double digit lead for the first three quarters and even into the fourth.
Still, it was another lackadaisical performance at home – the latest in a series of somewhat disappointing showings at home.As always, here are three thoughts on the game.
The AT&T Center Homecourt Advantage Not In Playoffs Form YetNow there’s a massive caveat here given that I haven’t actually been physically in the AT&T Center in nearly a decade. But to a third party observer watching the game on TV, the crowd doesn’t seem to give the Spurs quite the same edge that it normally has in previous seasons.
Now some of that is definitely just the impact of it being early in the season, but there’s definitely a different kind of energy, or lack thereof in that building this year. You’d like to assign it to Timmy not being around, but it’s not as though he was a huge key for crowd noise with his game in the last couple of years.
The Spurs starters outplayed the benchIt was good to see the Spurs manage the reverse of a normal trope where the bench bails out the starting lineup. Most of the Spurs bench players were very “meh” in their performance, with pretty much only Patty doing anything (10 points on 3 shots Is something for sure).
But there’s something to be said about the firepower of the Spurs starting lineup. When firing on all cylinders (maybe with Patty in for Tony) it can score with pretty much anybody and we’ll see that over time as Danny Green integrates back in.
Hassan Whiteside is a Spurs Killer23 points on 9 of 11 shooting and 17 rebounds for Whiteside, who’s fast justifying that huge contract. He killed the Spurs in Game 1 with the Heat earlier this month as well, and the challenge he represents is that he’s too powerful for Dewayne Dedmon or LaMarcus Aldridge.
This is a weakness for sure, and a couple of teams (Kings, Heat, Wolves maybe) are equipped to leverage an overpowering big man to pick on the Spurs.
Luckily, none of those teams are contenders so this risk is mitigated to some extent, but even with the addition of Dedmon, there are still holes in the Spurs’ big man rotation and defensive game plan.