By Rocky Garza Jr.
It’s Monday morning and the San Antonio Spurs have a date tonight with the Indiana Pacers. Yes, those Pacers that came back from 11-points down earlier in the month, took the Spurs to overtime and eventually had their guard, T.J McConnell, ice the game with a midrange while yelling, “That’s what I f—-ing do.”
However, their win over the weekend against the second-place Phoenix Suns has many feeling confused, optimistic and excited.
These emotions all come to play because the Spurs weren’t favored to win as they were missing Demar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl, and Patty Mills, who were resting off a back-to-back and that decision would net the Spurs a $25,000 fine, but that’s not important.
Seeing the Spurs pull out a victory without those three key players and how effortlessly they beat the hot-Phoenix Suns made me pose the question, “Why can’t they do this night in and night out?”
They shot 41.4% from behind the arc, had a close 46-48 total rebound battle, won the assist category via a 23 to 19 ratio, held the Suns to 85, had their largest lead accumulate to 31, and dropped 115 points.
If the Spurs were able to pull this consistent effort on a nightly basis they would be a terror in the league and opposing fans would hate the continued success the organization has been able to maintain.
Some fans may have felt confused as the night before they would lose a heartbreaker to Portland and their inconsistent play and sometimes wonky rotations have frustrated fans, but I believe this win brings a fresh air of optimism and excitement as it gave a little preview into what the Spurs young core is capable of, offers confidence for the whole team and they are back on a winning streak.
Fans were able to see the young core get some valuable minutes this game and some of their biggest contributors proved to be Drew Eubanks and Devin Vassell. Eubanks outdueled former #1 overall pick De’Andre Ayton by posting his second career double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds and brought substantial energy to the floor, while Vassell contributed 18 points, three rebounds, two assists, and shot 66 percent from the 3-point line off the bench.
Eubanks and Vassell were some of the few young stars who helped beat the Suns as Dejounte Murray, Derrick White, and Keldon Johnson had 14, 12, and 17 points respectively, and Spurs vet Rudy Gay contributed 19 off the bench.
The way I see it is that there will be endless debates for the rest of this month and in May on whether the team should tank, push for playoffs, what rotations to run, should they keep Demar or other respective free agents, and who they should draft.
However, I think some fans can all agree on whether you don’t like or do like certain players on the team that these youngsters will only develop in time if given the proper playing time considering they haven’t hit their primes yet.
I know it can be frustrating seeing minutes not given to them and veterans play most of the game, but as Vassell said in an Express-News interview, he tries to stay ready and he understands it’s a process.
The word “process” is the keyword that should be highlighted and branded for some fans because it is hard seeing the Spurs going from contenders to a middle-of-the-pack team or even fighting for their playoff chances.
The players don’t enjoy losing and you have to understand they want to bring championships to the Alamo City, have a parade down the River Walk, and see fans going honking down Commerce St.
But the Spurs organization knows it’s going to be a process to get back to the mecca of contending teams and fans can still rejoice in the past success and grow with the team through its hard times, because that’s the beauty of being a sports fan, you ride or die with your team.
I mean unless you’re a Cowboy fan… you just have been suffering since 1996 with mediocrity.
*Disclaimer I was born the last time they won, and I have been suffering, but We Still Dem Boyzzz*.
However, fans have to keep trusting the process and embrace the future Spurs because there could soon be another parade down the River Walk eventually.