“This may be Pop’s last season. I don’t see him staying for any reason,” one San Antonio Spurs fan told me during the first half of a game that was quickly getting out of hand. On the second night of a back-to-back, the Chicago Bulls were dominating the Spurs in every facet of the game, establishing a 23-point lead at one point.
“As in you think he’s quitting or getting fired?” I replied. By the end of the Spurs’ miraculous 35-point swing, the fan graciously admitted his statement might have been premature.
I can’t blame this fan for being irritated with the Spurs for their lackluster first half. Even without DeMar DeRozan, San Antonio is a much better team than the one that shot 7-for-25 in the opening frame. With so much young talent on the floor, it can be incredibly frustrating to see winnable games turn into slaughters.
I have certainly been in that position plenty of times in the past, when I lived and breathed Spurs basketball even more than I still do. Still, something about this franchise being so successful for over 20 years has calmed me down a bit, even in the worst moments. Don’t get me wrong. I still express my frustrations in real-time:
When is the last time the Spurs got off to a decent start in a game? Honestly wondering
— Josh Paredes (@Josh810) March 18, 2021
I was definitely ready to move onto the next game once the deficit ballooned to over 20 — after all, we were all just subjected to an even worse beatdown against Philadelphia on Sunday. Who really could’ve seen a 15-0 and 17-0 run coming from a team that was 2-for-21 from deep at one point?
The San Antonio Spurs rarely quit — we shouldn’t either
“They have a superstar that just scored 40 points, and we have no one near capable [of that] on a consistent basis. Maybe that’s just me,” said one fan about why the Spurs weren’t favored in the contest. “We’ll find out why after LaVine torches us tonight,” said another.
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I don’t question the fandom of these two Twitter users, but something about being this negative before a winnable game has even started just doesn’t sit right with me.
Not to mention, I’d rather have a 20 PPG scorer with seven other options averaging double digits than a 28 PPG scorer plus five.
Of course, Spurs fans are more than welcome to react and overreact as much as they want, just as I’m free to call out that the Spurs organization deserves better support from some of their fans.
Many fans of the team were spoiled with 50-win seasons year-in and year-out, but those times have passed, and it’s time to accept that.
Does that mean we should settle for the Spurs sitting in mediocrity for years? Of course not. But they’ve missed the playoffs one time since 1997 — I think we could do without calling for the firing of one of the game’s most legendary coaches.
This team is still a significant piece or two from being true contenders for an NBA title again. Barring any miracles, a second-round exit is likely their ceiling. Still, I’ll be rooting for them as if each game is their last because that’s the fun part of Spurs basketball.
San Antonio finished seven games below .500 last season and is now five games above despite being without key players for big chunks of the season. Don’t expect the world, but don’t act like it’s crumbling at a moment’s notice either. You’ll enjoy games much more.