Fun With Passes
Pop said he was thrilled with the performance of his team against a tough schedule to start the season. That sound right. The squad is 1-2, dropping the back-to-back games against two Finals-favorites. There were no surprises had this weekend. The Bucks won by 10, and were favored by 6 so from a gambling perspective it was a disappointing night.
Still, all things considered, it was a good effort. The squad moves the ball well, they play together, and the fun they have is infectious. I do not like joining in on the LMA and DDR bashing — for what they were asked to do given their abilities, they were good Spurs — but DeRozan’s frustration and Aldridge’s moodiness had an effect on the entire team.
This group is all smiles, and that isn’t to say they aren’t trying hard. They play hard. Keldon flies in powered by liquid hustle. DJ, DW, DV are diving and running. The play of the night saw Derrick White lose the ball but get a block. Then Poeltl block Giannis, and then White get a bucket+foul.
Pop says they have to get a little more solid on defense and not have as many “dry possessions”. He does not look beaten down because they are doing what they are supposed to be doing. The defending champs are a tough squad and when things got hairy for the Bucks, Giannis Antetokounmpo made plays. He attacked and created shots for shooters. The Spurs, meanwhile, were riding a career day from Dougie McBuckets and did not have a go-to down the stretch.
Basketball is at its most beautiful when everyone is cutting and moving and passing the ball quicker than anyone can defend. That kind of movement and passing is useful but NBA basketball — playoff basketball in particular — requires a gravitational force. In part, this is because scouting and preparation will take away the first three or four options and require someone to break the play and make something happen when there is nothing there.
Giannis has had to do that at the highest level, and you can see he is unfazed by the small moment of a regular season game in which his team is down a couple of buckets. The Spurs had guys that wanted to shoot, but just didn’t hit the buckets. Is that skill, desire, guts, or maybe just the second night of a back-to-back taking its toll?
It doesn’t matter really. The Spurs are playing good basketball, and they should be competitive in most, if not all, the rest of these games at this pace.