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2010-2011 San Antonio Spurs thread

BTW, we're coming back on you b***hes!
Originally posted by TheSixthRing:
BTW, we're coming back on you b***hes!

Spurs win, again. [/game]

Suns can't outrun the Spurs anymore!!
Originally posted by TheSixthRing:
Maybe it's just the resolution of the feed I'm getting, but Tim Duncan looks to be as lean as I can ever remember him being.
Originally posted by TheSixthRing:
Originally posted by TheSixthRing:
Maybe it's just the resolution of the feed I'm getting, but Tim Duncan looks to be as lean as I can ever remember him being.

Manu, Parker and Duncan came into the season in good condition.
Gary Neal! We just keep finding these guys.
Originally posted by Joecool:
Gary Neal! We just keep finding these guys.

We are the New England Patriots of the NBA lol
Good luck tonight fellas.
Just great! We get the Lakers after they had 2 bad losses and time in between to re-focus.

I don't see this game ending well for us. There's only one matchup between the starters that favors us and that's Parker vs. Lakers PGs.

The only way I see the Spurs winning this game is if the bench comes ready to play and we are hitting our threes.

RJ is playing very, very good defense this year but I don't see him affecting Kobe very much.
Damn! Surewest doesn't have NBATV!
Originally posted by Joecool:
Damn! Surewest doesn't have NBATV!

That sucks. I'll be listening to Seal Elliott tell it like it is.
This game should be a good one, it will definetely be entertaining, I will will be keeping an eye on it while the Mavs are taking care of the Raptors.

Kinda hope the Lakers beat the Spurs, so that Thursday's game will be for the Southwest Division lead.
Originally posted by eamjr10:
This game should be a good one, it will definetely be entertaining, I will will be keeping an eye on it while the Mavs are taking care of the Raptors.

Kinda hope the Lakers beat the Spurs, so that Thursday's game will be for the Southwest Division lead.

If the Lakers decide to show up, it should be an entertaining game. But that's no sure thing.
Originally posted by LA9erFan:
Originally posted by eamjr10:
This game should be a good one, it will definetely be entertaining, I will will be keeping an eye on it while the Mavs are taking care of the Raptors.

Kinda hope the Lakers beat the Spurs, so that Thursday's game will be for the Southwest Division lead.

If the Lakers decide to show up, it should be an entertaining game. But that's no sure thing.

Yeah, I am interested in seeing how the Laker's will respond in this game, this will be a good test for this team.
Subtle changes helping Spurs stay among league's elite

Posted Dec 27 2010 1:15PM
Two months into the season, and are you as sure about that Boston-L.A. Finals rematch now as you were a week ago? Are you so sure the Magic are going to fall into oblivion, and that Miami is too small to beat the big boys? Or have the last seven days only served to confuse you as much as it has me?
The Hawks beat the Magic, who beat the Spurs, who beat the Suns, who beat the Thunder, who beat the Nuggets, who lost all three games without Carmelo Anthony. But the Spurs are the team with the NBA's best record, even after their win streak ended Thursday in Orlando. Their 26-4 start is the best in San Antonio's history.

"We've had great runs later in the season, like February, March and April in the past," Manu Ginobili said last week. "But this year we've started like this. It feels great, of course. And we are enjoying the present. We know it's going to be really hard to maintain this kind of rhythm of wins. But it's been fun."
Not that Coach Gregg Popovich takes anything from playing .867 ball at Christmas.
"If our players look at it as a cushion, just mentally, that can become a quagmire," he said Thursday. "You think you're in such good shape, subconsciously your energy level drops or your concentration drops, which leads to problems with execution and that sort of thing. I don't want to look at that at all. I want to more look at it as we haven't accomplished anything, because it's still the regular season, and we're still such an average-at-best defensive team.
"We've got to look at it like we've got a long way to go rather than talk about any kind of cushion with our record. I'd rather think we're lucky to have the record, and if we want to take advantage of the record we better get our ass together at the defensive end. Otherwise we've squandered what the basketball gods have given us so far."

Gregg Popovich (right) has given Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili more freedom on offense.
Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images
So much for the supposedly warmer and cuddlier Pop, who went to a zone defense out of desperation last week against Denver because, as he recalled it, no one was guarding anybody, anyway. Might as well mess up the Nuggets, too. And, of course, it worked, like most everything has worked out so far this year for the Spurs:
• Like Gary Neal, the former Summer League star that the Spurs gave a three-year deal this summer, and who has stepped in ably when guard George Hill was injured . Neal, who played the last three years in Europe after college at Towson University, had back-to-back 22-point games last week.
• Like Matt Bonner, who got a four-year deal last summer from the Spurs, and is leading the league in 3-point shooting.
• Like center Tiago Splitter, who got off to a slow, inconsistent start but who has begun to earn minutes in Popovich's rotation behind Duncan -- and who will have to improve even more if the Spurs are to have a realistic chance against the likes of the Lakers and Mavericks in the playoffs.
Popovich actually has changed a lot over the years. He's changed the Spurs' offense, going from an attack heavy on force-feeding Tim Duncan in the low post to one where Tony Parker and Ginobili are off and running. San Antonio has gone from one of the slowest, most plodding attacks to one of the league's top-scoring units. Even adjusted for pace, the Spurs are in the top half of the league.
"When I got here, when Tony got here, we were very structured," Ginobili said. "And every time you made a mistake or did something you think is wrong, you'd immediately look at him and say, 'How was that? Did I really mess up?' Now, for the new guys ... like Gary Neal and Chris Quinn, and (rookie) James Anderson, when he was playing, it's got to feel good. Because it's less pressure on you. You play a little more with instincts, not all structured. It's a lot less pressure on Tim."

Said Duncan: "We've been doing it for the last couple of years. We've been changing it to the point where we've been trying to get the ball up the floor and get things a little early in the clock and move the ball. It's been changing for a couple of years. It's not much different right now. I think we're pushing it a little bit harder. But other than that, we expected it."
Ginobili said the Spurs did try to push things last season, but they "didn't have it in us." That's changed this season, with Parker and Ginobili healthy and fresher after having both skipped the World Championships and training camps for their respective teams, France and Argentina. Ginobili thinks that theory is a bit half-baked; he says he's had good NBA seasons after playing internationally during the summer and tough NBA seasons after taking it easy in the summer. But the change in Popovich's tactics is real; he's told his players to be more like Manu and just go when they have the ball.
"It feels good when you see Pop just trying to push the pace and give us freedom," Ginobili said.
There was no epiphany for Popovich that made him change; it was more a gradual sense. After failing to reach the West finals the past two seasons, it became clearer that it was foolish to keep playing the same way -- pounding the ball inside to an aging Duncan and playing off of him while looking for 3-pointers in the short corner. Opponents had caught up to that. The coaches were "boring ourselves," Popovich said, so he could only imagine how the players felt.
He was right.
"You got Tony and Manu; why wouldn't you run?," forward Antonio McDyess said.
When the break isn't there, the Spurs run a lot more pick and rolls, and a lot more motion than they did in the past. It's led to Duncan's lowest scoring average (13.9) of his career. He has also played fewer minutes (29 a game) than he ever has, and that was the whole point -- by spreading the ball around, Duncan gets less wear and tear now, and might be fresher for the postseason. In crunch time, he's still going to get the ball, and everyone knows it. But he may have a lot more left in the tank.
"We're moving the ball a lot differently," Duncan said. "That's working, and that's what we're going to stick with."
Normally, the Spurs start slowly, and build their momenum up through the Rodeo Trip in February, when they're away from home for three weeks or so. That trip has always been when the team's camraderie begins to coalesce, with the hope that San Antonio peaks at the start of the playoffs. But the Spurs are already there.
"We're so much more relaxed," McDyess said. "It's hard to explain. It's a feeling we didn't have last year for each other. It was like we was total strangers on the court with each other ... guys were like afraid to say anything. Now it's like if you mess up, anyone can say something. You've got to be able to take it if you ain't done something right."

But Popovich sees red flags. The Spurs have dropped noticeably defensively, falling to the middle of the pack in both points allowed and shooting percentage allowed. Outscoring inferior opponents works in the regular season, but in the playoffs the best defensive teams usually go further.
San Antonio will be bolstered with the return of Hill, who came back Sunday against Washington after missing four games with a sprained big toe on his right foot. Hill makes Popovich breathe easier with his D -- "he can guard three positions," usually, Popovich says -- and with his maturity with the ball. Ever since Popovich has been in San Antonio, he's usually had a guard -- Avery Johnson, Jacque Vaughn -- that he trusted implicitly. In this incarnation, that's Hill. But Hill alone isn't enough.
So Popovich has been, gently, reminding his veteran players that they're not playing D worth a damn. He can do it in a biting, joking manner because he and the Spurs' core group have been together for so long, and have such respect for one another. But that will probably change soon. No one says it in San Antonio, but the Spurs are well aware they aren't going to get many more cracks at a title with this group. Duncan's contract is up in less than two years, and while he's likely to finish his career as a Spur, he may not be able to carry a team any more.
Clock's running. This start can't be wasted.
"I'm very worried, because I don't know where our capacity is to get to where I think we need to be," Popovich said. "I'm not sure, to be honest with you. And that will become more and more important as the season winds down and playoffs begin. That's why I want to make it an issue with people now, rather than later."