Posted on: November 4, 2011 8:05 pm
Edited on: November 4, 2011 8:13 pm
By Matt Moore
The Mavericks and Spurs have had some titanic battles through the course of the past decade-plus during this time of contention for both teams. For the first time, we would be seeing the Mavericks as the defending champs, as the team that figured things out, while the Spurs are the team that couldn't put it together, who fell apart at the wrong time.
These battles are precious. We're only going to see Dirk Nowitzki go at Tim Duncan so many more times as both head towards retirement. Already Duncan is not the player he used to be, as Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker take more of a role. But it's still Duncan vs. Dirk, Parker vs. Jet, Manu vs. well, whoever the Mavs put on him. The Mavericks now have the bruisers inside, Tyson Chandler and Brendan Haywood, while it's the Spurs with the defensive sieves in DeJuan Blair and Matt Bonner.
This game would still be a huge clash of juggernauts, though, especially with the shooters on each side. Both teams had titanic offenses last week, while it was only the Spurs who ran into the iceberg against Memphis.
Jason Kidd against Tony Parker is a smarter matchup than it seems, while Kawhi Leonard would be facing Caron Butler in a past-face-present. It would have all the rivalry that Texas teams demand, and the drama of a battle between two teams with five championships and six Finals appearances over the past twelve seasons.
And we get none of it.
Today is Day 127 of the NBA Lockout.
Posted on: October 26, 2011 1:51 pm
Posted by Royce Young
The tone coming from the players' side of things changed drastically when last week's talks with the federal mediator fizzled out. Derek Fisher did his best to start that by announcing the media was lied to by Adam Silver and Peter Holt following negotiations.
Both sides though are proliferating their own "truths" that the other quickly disputes. Most recently, after Billy Hunter talked about a proposal made by Mark Cuban, the league refuted that saying it was actually something presented by the union.
Keep up with this crap is kind of hard to do. And I thought politics were bad.
Joining in on that was Spurs' forward Matt Bonner who was on TSN Radio. When asked if David Stern's lying, Bonner danced and jumped all around calling the commish a liar without actually doing it.
“About certain things, yes. Lying is a strong word, mis-characterizing for sure. He talks about the owners, that he’s proud of the owners for the sacrifices they’ve made and the concessions they’ve made. They haven’t made a single concession. We haven’t asked for one thing more than what we had at the expiration of our last CBA. In fact, we haven’t even asked for any thing the same as the last CBA. We’ve made concessions on basically every front. … Despite that, they’re still anchored in at this extreme positions at both their split of the revenue and system issues.”Lying is indeed a strong word, so as Bonner altered that to, mis-representing and mis-characterizing probably fits better. But that's just the nature of the game. The owners probably don't even see it as lying when the players do. They're entrenched in their positions and as Hunter said recently, it's almost a principle thing for players. Which means they're going to be even more passionate about every little thing.
Bonner went on to speak so much sense that I don't think it actually made any:
“From my position, you’re going to start to ask yourself, ‘Why are we not getting this ball rolling?’ It’s kind of a philosophical paradox in that you know eventually, at some point, a deal is going to be made. It’s not like there’s never going to be the NBA ever again. So for simplicity’s sake, why not let’s get a deal now? … We had a 15-hour meeting and it’s like pulling teeth trying to get anywhere with these guys. It’s just frustrating and leads you to question, they must not be ready to make a deal.”Writers and fans have been saying the same thing since July. A deal WILL be made. It HAS to happen. So why not start moving past this negotiation bullcrap and get to your bottom-dollar best offer? We're already missing games. Before further damage is done, let's actually, as Bonner says, get the ball rolling.
Via Sports Radio Interviews
Posted on: June 30, 2011 3:13 pm
Edited on: June 30, 2011 5:22 pm
The NBA owners have informed the players that there will be a lockout. Posted by Ben Golliver.
CBSSports.com's Ken Berger reports from New York City that the NBA owners have informed representatives of the National Basketball Players Association that they will be instituting a lockout, as no deal was reached on a new collective bargaining agreement.
This decision was expected, given the lack of progress during recent negotiating sessions. The two sides had until midnight Thursday to negotiate a deal that would have avoided a lockout. The lockout will officially begin at 12:01 AM eastern time. Berger reports that the two sides have not yet scheduled any future bargaining sessions.
Berger also reports that the players union "has no plans to decertify as of now and will continue to negotiate, according to a source." That decision will allow the two sides to continue negotiating.
Berger quotes Derek Fisher, president of the NBPA, regarding a "last-ditch proposal" presented to the owners on Thursday: ""It was met with the reality that we'll probably be locked out tonight."
He also quotes Billy Hunter, Executive Director of the NBPA: "I've been anticipating this lockout for the last two or three years, and now it's here."
The Associated Press adds these additional details.
Despite a three-hour meeting Thursday, the NBA and its players could not close the enormous gap that remained in their positions. The CBA was due to expire at midnight.NBA commissioner David Stern told reporters in a televised press conference that the players suggested that the two sides should "start from scratch" in their forthcoming negotiations.
"The players on the way out suggested to us that when we reconvene maybe that we should start from scratch. Maybe there are things that we should think about that we haven't thought about before. I don't mean to suggest [the league's current offer] is 'off the table' in any threatening way, it just hasn't done the job. The question is what does it take on both sides to get the job done."
Stern also said: "I'm not scared, I'm resigned to the potential damage it could cause to our league."
Here are live updates as they come in from New York City regarding the labor negotiations.
Yahoo! Sports quotes NBPA representative Matt Bonner: "We tried to avoid a lockout. Unfortunately we could not reach a deal."
CNBC.com reports that Billy Hunter, the Executive Director of the NBPA, said: "Their position was that we're too far away... the gap is too great." The site also quoted Hunter on the decision not to decertify the union: "I just don't think it's necessary."
The New York Post reports that Hunter expects the two sides to meet "in two weeks" to continue their negotiations. The paper also notes that the players association has requested "documentation" from the owners.
The Salt Lake Tribune quotes Utah Jazz guard Raja Bell on the union's resolve: "We're not going to crack."
This post will continue to update throughout the day as news breaks.
Posted on: March 15, 2011 2:33 am
Edited on: March 15, 2011 2:39 am
The Spurs get trounced in a meaningless regular season game against the Heat, but does it bely a concerning trend regarding their defense?
Posted by Matt Moore
Somewhere, in the bottom of his cold, unfeeling heart, Gregg Popovich knows what the loss to the Heat represents. In the grand scheme of things, it's a blip, a bump in the road, nothing to be concerned about. The team's still 54-12, still the best team in the league, still a juggernaut and a near-lock for homecourt advantage throughout the playoffs. Popovich will remain a big picture guy, never overreacting to a single game of the regular season. But somwehere he knows the really concerning thing to take away from the Spurs' 110-80 loss to the Heat Monday night.
The Spurs entered Monday night 7th in the league at defensive efficiency (which estimates points per 100 possessions, removing the element of pace and providing a more true image of defensive productivity). That's not as good as they typically are, but it's still a top ten mark. But they also entered Monday night's game against Miami having averaged giving up 102 points per game in March, as opposed to their typical mark of 97. Their season defensive efficiency has been a solid 101.1. In March? The Spurs have averaged a 108.5 defensive efficiency, including marks of 117 to Memphis, 112 to the Lakers, 114 to Detroit,and the abomination, a 122 mark to the Heat. For reference, the worst team in the league, the Cleveland Cavaliers, average a 110 defensive efficiency. So in a supremely small sample, this month the Spurs are surrendering a defensive efficiency that would be the worst in the league if spread over the season. Looking at the Spurs' defensive efforts per game, you'll notice some solid efforts betrayed by huge breakdowns, with a concerning increase as of late.
Now, that's a small sample size to consider, but given that the Spurs have not played brilliant defense all year, it's got to be concerning for Popovich. This is especially true when you look at the kind of style that has led the Spurs' huge winning percentage. They've been an offensive juggernaut, with one of the best marks in the league. They've been balanced, they've been consistent, they've been impressive. But beneath it is the defense, the mark that's always held the Spurs up in the playoffs, even when their regular season success was limited. The Spurs have always won championships with stellar defense and deliberate, efficient offense. This season, when they've had the most regular season success in team history, it's been their offense propelling them forward while their defense has been quietly inconsistent. What's more, their defense is trending slightly worse as the season goes on. As teams are finding their playoff gears, the Spurs are giving up some of their worst defensive efforts of the season. In the chart below, I found the differential for the past month, starting with the February 17th game against the Bulls, for the Spurs defensive efficiency against their season average of 101.1. So for example, they surrendered a 122 efficiency against the Heat (shudder), so I subtracted the Spurs' season average of 101.1 from 122 to find the difference between what the Spurs normally do, and what they've done this month. The results are stunning.
If you're not big on the whole numbers vibe, essentially the Spurs have only performed at or better than their season defensive average three out of their past twelve games. Even in the first romp against the Heat, the Spurs allowed their average of 101 points per 100 possessions. In three of those games, against playoff teams in L.A., Memphis, and Miami, the Heat have allowed more than 15 points more per 100 possessions in those games. That's bad.
Against the Lakers a week ago, it was their positional physical disadvantages that were prominent. DeJuan Blair, Antonio McDyess, and Matt Bonner were helpless to keep the Lakers off the glass, and it was the length of L.A. that gave them the advantage. Conversely Monday against the Heat, it was positional skill matchups that aided the Heat. George Hill was isolated in space against Dwyane Wade, as the Heat deliberately forced the double then started their perimeter rotations, finding open threes. Then when Matt Bonnner was inserted and placed against Chris Bosh, the Heat ran that mismatch into the ground, and it resulted in point after point. When Popovich was forced to switch Blair onto Bosh putting Bonner on Joel Anthony, the Heat ran a play for Joel Anthony... let me restate that one more time for emphasis... the Heat ran a play for Joel Anthony that resulted in an open dunk. Bonner's arguably the best bench three-point shooter in the league, but he's a nightmare for the Spurs defensively, and it showed.
So now the Spurs try and forget about this loss, shrug it off as "one of those games," focus on the huge win they had two weeks ago against the same team and keep pushing forward. But as their fans continue to wonder why they don't receive as much respect as other star-laden teams, this game should serve as a notice. Previous years it was simply a matter of overlooking a great team that often proved everyone wrong by winning championships. But this team has an issue on defense, and if they don't find the extra gear by the time the playoffs roll around, they could be in a world of hurt and fall short once again of the fifth title for Duncan's Spurs.
(All per-game defensive efficiencies courtesy of HoopData.com. Basketball-Reference.com calculates defensive efficiency using a slightly different formula, as a result, the Spurs' defensive efficiency season average is calculated at a slightly higher 104.3. The effect would be standardized across the different per-game efficiencies, meaning the impact would be the same, but it should be mentioned there is a differential there.)
Posted on: October 28, 2010 2:29 pm
Posted by Royce Young
Time for you massively important injury update of the week. Brace yourself, Red Rocket fans. I have some bad news.
The Spurs sharpshooting big man will miss 10-14 days with an ankle sprain. As the San Antonio Express-News reported, Bonner's right ankle had swelled to the size of a baseball and he was quite eager to show everyone.
Bonner said: “Pretty ugly, don’t you think? I came down on somebody’s foot. That’s what I get for jumping."
Yeah, stick to the outside shooting if you know what's good for you. Since when did you think you could jump?
Bonner of course is one of the Spurs most underrated bench weapons. He's deadly on kickouts from Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili and is actually a better post defender than people realize. The Spurs are hurting a bit on the inside right now as Tiago Splitter isn't fully ready for his debut so Tim Duncan and Antonio McDyess will likely be playing more minutes than usual, as well as DeJuan Blair.