Posted on: January 4, 2011 11:04 pm
Edited on: January 4, 2011 11:31 pm
Strange coaching occurrences in New York, Miami.
Posted by Matt Moore
Two strange pieces of coaching news occurred in the NBA Tuesday night, one in Miami where two techs does not equal an ejection, and one in New York, where the fat lady didn't sing, but it was over anyway apparently.
The Heat came back from a halftime deficit, again, to beat the Bucks 101-89. Scott Skiles was whistled for your run of the mill technical foul for getting all Skiles-like on the sideline in the first half. In the second half, Skiles accidentally made contact with a player on the floor, earning him a second technical. So two techs equals an automatic ejection, right? Except the officials ruled that the second technical was not on account of "unsportsmanlike conduct" which is requisite for an ejection, and therefore Skiles got to stay. Very strange all around. Not as strange as the continuing collapse of the Bucks after such a great 2010 season, but still pretty odd.
Even more bizarre, however, was Gregg Popovich's decision to pull his starters with 3:13 remaining in the 4th down by only 10 to the Knicks. The Spurs' defense was horrific all night to be sure, allowing over 100 points in three-quarters. But the Spurs were still hanging in a very Spurs way, when suddenly, apparently Popovich had seen enough from his team and pulled Manu Ginobili, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Richard Jefferson. The Spurs' offense featured Chris Quinn, Gary Neal, and Ime Udoka down the stretch. In shocking news, the Knicks hung on over that mighty lineup, 128-115 .
Some speculated that Popovich was merely resting his starters for Wednesday night's game against the Boston Celtics. But judging from the behavior of Manu and Parker on the sideline, Pop was making a point. I guess at 29-45, Pop felt he could spare a win in order to make a point. Either way, New York managed to hold on against a playoff contender at home.
In other news, Kevin Durant missed a three-pointer to tie, the lion laid down with the lamb, and a bad moon is rising. Run for your lives!
Posted on: January 3, 2011 9:29 am
Posted by Royce Young
Posted on: December 30, 2010 1:36 pm
Edited on: December 30, 2010 1:54 pm
Posted by Royce Young
If you want to just do this all simple like, start with the standings. San Antonio is 27-4, which is the best record in the league. Dallas, while owners of a very nice 24-6 record, is two and a half games back of the Spurs.
So we're done here, right?
Actually, there's a lot more to it.
No doubt the Mavericks good. Really good. Forget that loss to the Raptors without Dirk. Every good team loses to someone they shouldn't. And when you're missing your very best player, you've got a good excuse too. But what separates San Antonio from Dallas right now is that the Spurs don't have a Dirk.
Wait, I know what you're thinking. That should make the Mavericks better , right? Not having a great, MVP-type player like Dirk Nowitzki is what makes San Antonio better than Dallas? Does not compute, right?
But it does. Because the Spurs are 27-4 despite not having a guy score 20 points a game. The Spurs are 27-4 with Tim Duncan averaging career-lows all over the place. The Spurs just whipped the defending champion Lakers with Duncan scoring two points and grabbing four rebounds. Tim Duncan, two points, four rebounds! Can you ever imagine the Spurs beating a good team five years ago with Duncan playing like that?
The Spurs are 27-4 because of Gary Neal. Because of Richard Jefferson's rebirth. Because of DeJuan Blair. Because of Matt Bonner. No team understands the role player concept and how each guy has value more than San Antonio. That team works completely in unison. It's like an engine on a 2001 Honda Civic. Nothing all that spectacular, nothing all that flashy. But everything works perfectly together.
Not to say the Spurs don't have some serious players though. You could make a legitimate case for Manu Ginobili as an MVP candidate. He's been the glue for San Antonio the past decade and when he's healthy like he is currently, he one the biggest X-factors in the league. Tony Parker is healthy again and playing at an All-Star caliber level. George Hill is one of the most underrated combo guards in the league.
And then there's the trump card for the Spurs. It starts with a "g," ends with two more "g's" and a frown. Rick Carlisle is a nice NBA coach, but he's not Gregg Popovich. Coach Pop is one of the few NBA coaches that you really know makes a difference with his team. Phil Jackson, Jerry Sloan, Vinny Del Negro (just kidding)... only a handful of coaches genuinely make their team better despite who's on the roster. Popovich is the leader of that pack. His team's are always ready, always prepared and always focused. Look at the Spurs' home record this season (18-2 and undefeated in December). That shows that his team is never not ready.
Popovich wasn't afraid to make a subtle switch either. San Antonio is running more than ever despite that not being the ideal game for Duncan. But it works for the other pieces and Duncan has adapted. The Spurs are averaging almost 106 points per game, which is fourth in the league. Their point differential is an impressive +8.4 compared to the Mavs' +5.6.
Those things are tangible parts to settling this debate. But it's not always about what meets the eye with the Spurs. They're the league's best and by default, Texas's best, because they march to the company line that's carried them to four titles. There's a reason they're great, even if it's not painfully obvious.
Posted on: December 28, 2010 11:25 pm
Edited on: December 29, 2010 12:11 am
Posted by Royce Young
From the opening tip, you could feel the intensity. This might've been a regular season game on Dec. 28, but it sure seemed like something you'd see April 28.
Two titans of the postseason were playing and even though it's just one more of 82, anytime the Spurs and Lakers hook up, pleasantries don't stay in the arena very long.
Kobe Bryant and George Hill tangoed in the first half, pointing fingers in faces and saying, um, stuff to each other. Ron Artest roped Tony Parker on a fast break for a hard foul. Andrew Bynum clothes-lined Tiago Splitter on the inside. Richard Jefferson and Derek Fisher had an exchange with Fisher picking up a technical after chasing Jefferson down to bump. Hard fouls, technicals, trash talk -- this one just had that extra umph.
But just like a classic Spurs playoff win, San Antonio used stifling defense, smart offense and big plays from role players to overwhelm the Lakers in the fourth quarter, beating the defending champs 97-82 in front of a sold-out AT&T Center crowd.
And here's where we go one of two ways: Is the story how well the Spurs are playing or if the Lakers officially in crisis mode?
Let me hedge here and say both. The Spurs are playing wonderful basketball. They're undefeated at home in December, own the NBA's best record and get something from everybody that steps on the floor. Tim Duncan was just 1-7 from the floor and scored only two points. Manu Ginobili went just 3-12 from the field. So naturally, since this is the Spurs we're talking about, someone stepped up.
DeJuan Blair was a complete difference maker scoring 17 points while also grabbing 15 rebounds. Gary Neal -- who you can just picture becoming Robert Horry in the postseason -- hit two huge fourth quarter 3-points to give the Spurs some serious breathing room. George Hill was entirely terrific on Kobe in the fourth quarter, frustrating the Laker star into turnovers, bad shots and some serious barking at the officials. And of course one of the San Antonio stars played big with Tony Parker pouring in 23 including 14 in the first half.
On the Laker side, things never really looked good. The Lakers almost seemed like the team desperate for energy, frantically looking for a spark. It was almost like they were rattled. Offensively, there was never any kind of rhythm. Especially in the second half where L.A. scored only 38 points total.
The Lakers shot 35 percent for the game and the man leading the charge there was Kobe. He went just 8-27 from the field for 21 points. Pau Gasol was 3-8 for only nine points. Lamar Odom was 3-9 for nine points. Really, L.A.'s best offensive player was Matt Barnes who went 3-4 from the field.
So again, good Spurs or bad Lakers? From my perspective, it looked like a game where the Lakers self-combusted a bit as Kobe kept shooting and shooting while a very good team in San Antonio took complete advantage of it. Take this game for L.A. and put it against Sacramento and the Lakers probably win ugly. But against the Spurs? You lose by 15.
That's not something that should sit well with the Lakers. Kobe has been pretty honest with his appraisal of the team, feeling at times that they don't seem interested or committed enough. And that's what really showed against San Antonio. Kobe tried to do way too much, the offense never ran through Bynum or Gasol and defensively, there wasn't ever any kind of urgency.
This makes three straight losses for the Lakers, all coming by double-digits. And while it seems like this might be a time to scratch your head, keep in mind, this is December, even if the game felt like it was in April. It's not time to worry... yet.
Posted on: December 11, 2010 1:25 am
Edited on: August 14, 2011 9:26 pm
San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili claims to have seen a UFO in Los Angeles, and there's video to prove it. Posted by Ben Golliver. San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili claims to have seen a UFO, and it wasn't Eva Longoria throwing one of her shoes at Tony Parker. File this one under strange-but-sort-of-true. Take it away, MySanAntonio.com.
On the night of Dec. 1, while the Spurs were in Los Angeles for a game against the Clippers, Ginobili saw what he thought was a single-engine plane in the process of crashing outside the team’s Santa Monica, Calif., hotel. He tweeted about it. He posted video. He forgot about it.
Then, Friday morning, TMZ.com picked up on the story, posting video of the moment shot by fans waiting for autographs near the Spurs bus. In it, you can see Ginobili, a Spurs’ security officer and what appears to be a strange light in the California sky.
“It was a pretty strange flight pattern,” Ginobili said. “I thought it was falling, not landing. I thought it was like a plane crash. We were expecting to see it on the news the following day, and there was nothing. That’s when we got a little curious, ‘What the hell was that?’ ”
Here's a link to the TMZ video, so you can determine exactly how insane Ginobili is for his claim.
We can also rule out Tim Duncan as the UFO, because aeronautical experts have confirmed that he hasn't been able to jump since 2004.
Dollars to doughnuts, this is all an elaborate mental test from Spurs coach Gregg Popovich.
Posted on: November 23, 2010 9:26 am
Spurs and Magic have a classic, the Pacers show they're decent in dismantling a mediocre Miami team, and the Celtics take the Hawks to the shed in today's Game Changer.
Posted by Matt Moore
Each game is made up of elements which help formulate the outcome. Monday through Friday, we'll bring you the elements from the night before's games in our own specialized version of the game recaps. It's not everything that happened, but it's an insight into what lead to the results you'll see in the box scores. This is the Game Changer.