Here are a few things that fans need to consider after the Spurs' 0-2 start:
1. The Spurs showed terrible transition defense against Phoenix during game one, and that was a big difference maker. They worked on those problems and reacted much better during game two in Portland.
This group is "ahead of schedule" when it comes to picking up the set defensive rotations and that is a huge plus, but they have to continue working the wrinkles out of the transitional defensive game plan.
2. As has been discussed, the front line was short some big bodies, causing some here to freak out. That's way too soon. Step away from the panic button.
Yes, Tim Duncan worked extremely hard during those first two games, but the team had no choice. Even so, it was great to see Duncan play so well and so long against the youngsters in Portland. He did a great job and the Spurs almost pulled a rabbit out of the hat.
3. The Portland Trailblazers and their fans were pumped up and prepared for opening night against the Spurs. This was a huge "target on our backs" game for the Spurs. The fans in the Pacific Northwest haven't been this excited about a Portland team in a long time and their expectations and decibel level were very, very high.
Even so, the "old" Spurs came in there and not only never went away, almost winning the game. As one wise NBA coach once said. "In professional basketball, having a shot at winning the game is what you hope for every night."
Kudos to the Spurs for making adjustments. Kudos for their tremendously deadly shooting from long-range during the game and kudos to Gregg Popovich for coaching and making adjustments given the lack of big bodies in his front court.
The Spurs face an early stress test this week. They've got to play three games in four nights. Not only will their legs and wind be tested against the teams they're playing, they're also going to get a good look at where the new guys stand on their offensive execution and "corporate knowledge."
We'll see if the Roger Mason the Spurs have been seeing during practice ("lighting everyone up") is for real. We may get a chance to see whether Anthony Tolliver ("a really smart guy") is going to help this team. And if his thumb is better, Pop will insert George Hill into a game or two to see (once again) how he responds to a couple of the league's best point guards.
Don't hang your head about the 0-2 start, Spurs fans.
The race is long and the echo of the starting gun can still be heard.
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