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2014 San Antonio Spurs Preseason Report posted by Spurs Fan

San Antonio Spurs performance was almost perfect, which earned them the 2013-14 season, championship title. The players performed as expected, and there was not a single contract, which could be considered bad. The Spurs ended the season with an impressive 62-20 record.

For the 2014-15 season, San Antonio Spurs have second best chance of winning the title again. The Spurs have met Miami Heat in the finals two times in a row, which makes Miami the favorite this season; however, changes in the team could keep shifting the odds between them. San Antonio Spurs have an excellent system in place for a long time, and Gregg Popovich could again lead the team to victory. The three star players, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, and Tim Duncan are no doubt getting older, but Popovich has managed their time excellently up to now, and he continues to do so this season as well.

Kawhi Leonard, who is a star and MVP of the last series, has been retained for $3million for the next season. Boris Diaw, Matt Bonner, and Paddy Mills are all key players, and are re-signed by the Spurs, and Greg Popovich, the coach, obviously had his contract extended. San Antonio Spurs are focusing completely on this season and considering legacies as well. Tim Duncan who was a rookie in 1999 anchored the team's first championship. He has five rings up to now, and he will be concentrating on getting his sixth, even though he is aging. For Duncan, a sixth title would make him all-time great, and he will not want to miss this opportunity.

Coach Popovich, and international stars, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili will also be aiming for the same thing of being listed as the all-time greats, and hence will be working hard towards their sixth win. Quite a bit is riding for these players this season, and hence we can expect the best from them.

Continue reading "2014 San Antonio Spurs Preseason Report"


Brad Hurt

Gasol out indefinitely with MCL sprain posted by Brad Hurt

An MRI on Marc Gasol's left knee, which he injured in the first half of the Grizzlies' loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Friday night, revealed a Grade 2 sprain of the medial collateral ligament (MCL).  The injury, similar to one suffered two years ago by Zach Randolph, will keep Gasol out of action indefinitely but will not require surgery.  Kosta Koufos will start in his place.  This is a huge blow for the team, both in terms of production and morale.  The injury has been called "non-contact", although there could have been some contact as it occurred while the Spurs' Danny Green posted up against Gasol and backed into him.  Even so, it's still a freakish, unfortunate injury.Continue reading "Gasol out indefinitely with MCL sprain"

Brad Hurt

Gasol leaves loss with knee sprain posted by Brad Hurt

The Grizzlies had reason to be proud as they returned home Friday to face the perennially tough San Antonio Spurs.  They had just finished the most successful West Coast road trip in a decade.  Now they would have the FedEx Forum crowd behind them to urge them to victory.  Unfortunately, the Spurs would have none of that, playing the role of the rude houseguests with a 102-86 victory.

Potentially far worse for the home team, however, is the fact that center Marc Gasol left the game after suffering a non-contact injury to his left knee early in the second quarter and did not return.  The team is calling it a sprain, and Gasol will undergo an MRI today.  Losing Gasol for any extended period of time would be a crushing blow to the team.  He is currently averaging 16 points and more than 7 rebounds per game, teaming up with Zach Randolph to form an imposing post duo.  Randolph has been putting up monster numbers in his own right, but losing Gasol would undoubtedly change the way teams choose to defend Randolph, enabling more double-and-triple teams.  The Grizzlies currently have the 23rd-ranked offensive output in the league, averaging 94.1 points per game.  Ideally, they would like to see that number increase as they work toward a return to the playoffs come April.  Gasol is also a great veteran leader for the team, and intangibles are difficult to replace.  So let's hope the sprain isn't too severe and Gasol can return to action soon.

Continue reading "Gasol leaves loss with knee sprain"


Paul Hansborough III

Change needs to come! posted by Paul Hansborough III

I love the Spurs but, Duncan needs to retire, Parker needs to develop a jumpshot in the worst way, Rj needs to go somewhere else he couldn t buy a bucket against Memphis, we need to get a bonified athletic shooting forward and shooting guard in the draft or via free agency. Another center would help because again Duncan is on his last leg!Continue reading "Change needs to come!"


nbaball

Parker has no desire to transfer to other NBA teams posted by nbaball

The starting pointguard of the San Antonio Spurs has categorically denied persistent report that he had the desire to transfer to other National Basketball Association (NBA) teams.
Tony Parker told the media that there is no truth to the report since his heart belongs to the Spurs and he wants to stay with the team for many years to come.
Parker said he had a house in San Antonio and had no intention at the moment to move to other NBA teams other than the Spurs.
He revealed that he has confidence that a suitable agreement will be reached between him and the Spurs so that he will remain with the team for many years to come.
To show his desire to remain with the Spurs, Parker has decided to skip the World's Basketball Championship slated on August 28 to September 12 in Istambul, Turkey.
The superstar pointguard said he decided to forego his chance to play for France in the global basketball event to help the Spurs in the next NBA season by keeping himself from injury.
The 27-year-old pointguard had been a vital factor for the success of the Spurs the past 10 years wherein he won championship with the ball club.
Parker is very significant for the Spurs management since he do not only orchestrate plays but also contribute and offense and defense as well.
The Spurs was earlier defeated by the red-hot Phoenix Suns 4-0 in their best of seven NBA second round playoff match-up.
The French pointguard and the rest of the Spurs roster tried their very best to inflict defeat to the Suns but their effort were futile as the Suns proved hotter in the end.
Continue reading "Parker has no desire to transfer ..."


john howard

Big Week for the Thunder posted by john howard

Losing to Indiana last night was tough.  If they had one last night, they would be tied for the 5th seed with Phoenix and 2 games ahead of 7th in front of San Antonio.  But, that didn't happen.  All is not lost, it just makes this week more difficult.  Tonight they are at home against the Spurs.  They have a one game lead over them.  A loss tonight would put the Thunder in 7th.  A win would keep them in 6th and put 2 games between them and San Antonio and more breathing room going into the last 14 games.

The Thunder play the Spurs, the Lakers, Houston, and Portland. Going 2-2 would be fine.  That would keep them in the playoffs and still have a shot at a good seed. Anything above that would be great. Anything below that would put them in danger of falling to the 8th seed.  It all starts tonight with San Antonio. 

Houston may be the biggest game of the week.  Right now, they are the first team not in the playoffs. They can win 50 games if they run the table.  That makes the Thunder's magic number 9, since they have 42 wins. So, winning that game would reduce the magic number by 2. 

Portland is a game and a half behind OKC.  Sweeping the Spurs and the Trailblazers would distance OKC from the bottom to seeds and keep them in the hunt for the 5th seed.  With the 5th seed, they would likely face Utah, the team they have had the most success with of those in the top 4.

As a sidenote, Russell Westbrook played limited minutes with a stomach virus last night.  Eric Maynor did good, as usual, in his absence.  But, they are going to need everyone at full throttle this week.

Continue reading "Big Week for the Thunder"


Paul Stengel

New York Knicks, what the salary cap future holds posted by Paul Stengel

CLAAAANG!!!  Another errant Knicks shot glances off the rim.  The New York Knickerbockers have mastered the art of losing for the past 10 years.  The only silver lining after this season is the possibility of signing two big name, “max contract” players.  The Knicks traded away their upcoming draft pick (along with Jared Jeffries and others) to Houston,  to free up more money for these players.  Nothing is guaranteed, the Knicks aren’t necessarily getting anyone for their trouble. 

 

The losing that the Knicks have been doing is a relatively new experience for their head coach, Mike D’Antoni.  D’Antoni came over from Phoenix, where he had an outstanding winning percentage, playoff appearances every year, and usually a late-season meeting with the San Antonio Spurs that ultimately would decide who would come out of the west.  Before he coached Amare Stoudemire, Steve Nash and Shawn Marion to 60 wins a year.  Now he leads Al Harrington and a band of inexperienced, below average knicks to likely two 30 win seasons. 

 

The Knicks have been on a downward spiral since they decided to trade away their franchise player of the 90’s Patrick Ewing.  They have been compiling bad contracts ever since, and it wasn’t until Donnie Walsh became the active general manager that their attitude toward free agents began to change.  Starting with the trades of Jamal Crawford and Zach Randolph, Walsh has managed to free up more and more salary cap space, and with it, the possibility of greater things in the future. 

Continue reading "New York Knicks, what the salary cap future holds"


Al Liggens

Top european NBA players risk injury, money, to play summer basketball posted by Al Liggens

I hope that it's not part two for the San Antonio Spurs. Manu Ginobili got hurt last summer playing for Argentina in the olympics and at the time, contract negotiations between Ginobili and the spurs were underway. Now, those talks have stalled, as the spurs have taken a cautious approach regarding his contract, meaning no extention up to this point!. If Ginobili doesn't come out this year and have one his best, he stands to lose millions.

 Tony Parker was injured playing basketball for France this week and I'm quite sure that the spurs are not happy with this latest episode. The question is will he be healthy and 100% for the spurs training camp and the regular season? Sometimes players that play basketball year round begin the season tired and not playing at their usual high level, and it does affect the entire team. So at some point, personal judgement and career decisions must be made by the players themselves and  realize the risks involved with playing basketball during the summer.

The spurs were fortunate to find Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker. They are the core of the team along with Tim Duncan, but there is a responsibility to the team that you are under contract to play for and perform well. There is the business side of professional sports that needs to be taken into account...

Continue reading "Top european NBA players risk injury, ..."


Al Liggens

Is there a heated rivalry between the San Antonio Spurs and L.A. Lakers on the horizon? posted by Al Liggens

The spurs and lakers have done just about everything possible to put themselves in a position to win a championship. Both teams added some key players and odds are that the western conference will come down to these two teams!

How is Ron Artest going to fit into the lakers rotation and get his shots? I know that he's going to bring a toughness to the lakers that they haven't had in recent years, but will he have a positive impact on the team? I'm sure Phil Jackson will do a good job of managing player issues. The spurs on the other hand, are back in the discussion with their offseason moves. It will be interesting to watch the lakers and spurs play during the regular season. They will meet  four times and these games will all be statement games. The fact that the L.A. Lakers are the current NBA champs means that the San Antonio Spurs might have a little something to prove!     

Continue reading "Is there a heated rivalry between ..."


Al Liggens

Can the San Antonio Spurs win a 5th NBA Championship for the upcoming 2009-2010 season? posted by Al Liggens

Have the spurs put together enough talent to contend with elite teams in the NBA?

I believe the answer is a definite yes. The San Antonio Spurs have had an offseason many feel was their best ever and with the talent already in place, the spurs should be in the hunt for another title. It will be interesting  to see how the new players mesh with the likes of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili. Richard Jefferson and Antonio McDyess will add much needed scoring and length to a team that was exposed a bit during this  years surprising first round exit against the Dallas Mavericks. Looking back to last season, the spurs had quite a few issues that needed to be addressed to make the team better, younger and more athletic.

Defense will be an important factor this upcoming season.

 Last year, the overall defensive play of the spurs seemed to be lacking and at times non existent. I expect to see much more emphasis on stopping teams from scoring at will and return to spurs basketball, which is to shut people down and rely on your defense to help you win games. The  defensive rotations will be much better with the addition of NBA journeyman Theo Ratliff getting minutes off the bench. This allows for Tim Duncan to get some much needed rest as well as have a guy on the court that can play good defense and score when necessary and give you quality minutes off the bench.

The spurs now have enough weapons to challenge the so called "elite" teams in the NBA. This was a major problem last season as Tim  Duncan and Tony Parker had no scoring help  and the bench players couldn't help carry the team during the playoffs and were a non factor. Other teammates are going to have to find a way to score and create their own shots when called upon. I expect to see better bench play this season with rookie Dajuan Blair getting some minutes off the bench along with some other players contributing. General managers around the league are going to kick themselves after they get a glimpse of this young player. The talent and potential to be a great NBA player are definitely present and his physical style of play will cause problems for anyone trying to guard him. He will exceed expectations this coming season! This team has made a very good effort to try to get younger and add some youth to the team during the offseason, so we know that trying to stay injury free is probably the biggest common denominator for the entire year. Manu Ginobili needs to regain his form and stay healthy throughout the season in order for the spurs to have any chance at  winning a championship. Hopefully, he can compete at a high level and contribute to the team...     

Continue reading "Can the San Antonio Spurs win a 5th ..."

San Antonio Spurs News

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BDL's 2014-15 NBA Season Previews: All 30 team previews, collected in one spot (Ball Don't

It's been 136 days since the San Antonio Spurs put the finishing touches on their five-game demolition of the Miami Heat to win the 2013-14 NBA championship. Since then, we've seen a new decision that knocked over the dominoes that shifted the balance of power in the Eastern Conference, a foot fracture that could tilt the brutal West, a long overdue change in L.A., and more movement —of players, coaches, front-office staffers and everything else —than you can shake a stick at ... except in San Antonio, of course, where the Spurs brought back their entire O'Brien-winning roster in pursuit of the repeat title that's thus far eluded them. [ Yahoo Sports Fantasy Basketball: Sign up and join a league today! ] It's been a long summer and early fall, and our seemingly interminable wait is now over. The 2014-15 NBA season tips off tonight, with looming monster /2014 FIBA World Cup star Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans hosting the Orlando Magic, the Spurs (and their fans ) getting their rings before taking on the retooled Dallas Mavericks, and Dwight Howard leading the Houston Rockets back to Hollywood to square off with the once-again-healthy Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers. It ought to be a pretty fun night. We've spent the last month preparing for tonight, putting together in-depth looks at all 30 NBA teams —how we left them last season, what they did on their summer vacations, their big moves, big questions and all the storylines and subplots to keep an eye on this coming season. They're all collected here, in case you missed any, would like to take another look, or just want to study up before the opening buzzer. You can also find our predictions for the season ahead —our picks for the 2014-15 champion, who'll win each major individual award and more —right here . The links below point to each team's season preview, along with predicted records and playoff seeding.* Dig in, enjoy, and feel free to tell us where you think we've gone wrong —today, tomorrow, all season long and always —on Twitter , Facebook and Tumblr . * NOTE: A few of the Western Conference records listed below differ from those that appear in the team-by-team previews, many of which were published before Kevin Durant suffered the Jones fracture that will keep him out for the first six or so weeks of the season. That, as you might expect, led us to juggle a few things. Now, let's get to it: EASTERN CONFERENCE Atlantic Division 1. Toronto Raptors —50-32 2. Brooklyn Nets —38-44 3. New York Knicks —37-45 4. Boston Celtics —28-54 5. Philadelphia 76ers —15-67 Central Division 1. Cleveland Cavaliers —60-22 2. Chicago Bulls —57-25 3. Detroit Pistons —32-50 4. Indiana Pacers —28-54 5. Milwaukee Bucks —20-62 Southeast Division 1. Washington Wizards —48-34 2. Charlotte Hornets —46-36 3. Miami Heat —43-39 4. Atlanta Hawks —41-41 5. Orlando Magic —25-57 Which would mean, playoffs-wise ... 1. Cleveland 2. Chicago 3. Toronto 4. Washington 5. Charlotte 6. Miami 7. Atlanta 8. Brooklyn WESTERN CONFERENCE Northwest Division 1.** Oklahoma City Thunder —55-27 2.** Portland Trail Blazers —55-27 4. Denver Nuggets —36-46 4. Utah Jazz —24-58 5. Minnesota Timberwolves —20-62 Pacific Division 1. Los Angeles Clippers —59-23 2. Golden State Warriors —58-24 3. PhoenixSuns —47-35 4. Sacramento Kings —35-47 5. Los Angeles Lakers —27-55 Southwest Division 1. San Antonio Spurs —57-25 2.** Dallas Mavericks —50-32 3.** Houston Rockets —50-32 4. Memphis Grizzlies —45-37 5. New Orleans Pelicans —44-38 Which would mean, playoffs-wise ... 1. L.A. Clippers 2. Golden State 3. San Antonio 4. Oklahoma City/Portland** 5. Portland/Oklahoma City** 6. Dallas/Houston** 7. Houston/Dallas** 8. Phoenix ** depending on tiebreakers More NBA coverage: [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports


All of the Portland Trail Blazers got brand new motivational hammers to start the season (Photo)

Welcome to the 2014-15 NBA season, Portland Trail Blazers. Please report to your lockers, inspect your uniforms to ensure that your last name is spelled properly, and pick up your complimentary personalized big ol' hammer. [ Yahoo Sports Fantasy Basketball: Sign up and join a league today! ] Each Blazers player was given one of these today from the organization. pic.twitter.com/e1kTQppNwY —Erik Gundersen (@blazerbanter) October 28, 2014 Now, I know what you're thinking, and the answer is no. The NBA didn't decide to implement Marcin Gortat's idea of allowing fighting during games and go one step further by encouraging players to have weapons at the ready should the beef get to sizzling. (I know what else you're thinking, and yes, I too immediately thought that Robin Lopez probably named his hammer Mjolnir .) These are merely inspirational hammers, hammers of metaphor and imagery, intended to remind the members of this year's Blazers squad —facing the difficult task of building upon last season's surprising 54-28 record and second-round playoff appearance —of the importance of giving it their all each and every night. From Erik Gundersen of The Columbian : According to Wesley Matthews, who was so kind as to let us take a picture, the hammers are a reminder to “keep grinding, stay on our worst behavior.”Some players had theirs out while some still had them in their box. [...] To recap, the hammer for each player is just a physical manifestation of the “COMPETE”mantra the Blazers have on their gear, all over their locker room and practice facility. This sort of "physical manifestation" has been a go-to move for some coaches in years past. Recall, if you will, Dwane Casey having a 1,300-pound boulder plunked inside his office after taking over the Toronto Raptors, which put to shame the 200-pound hunk of granite that Jon Gruden showcased inside the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' locker room during their 2002-03 Super Bowl run. I prefer the Blazers' token talismans, though. Easier to move, and plus, you can use them for repairs around the house. All these rocks and hammers, of course, circle back to the same point of inspiration —the following famous quote by Danish-American social reformer and activist Jacob Riis: "When nothing seems to help, I go look at a stonecutter hammering away at his rock perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not that blow that did it, but all that had gone before." Riis' quote became a mantra for Gregg Popovich and the San Antonio Spurs, and was later deployed by former Spurs assistant Mike Brown during his time with the Los Angeles Lakers, and by Lawrence Frank during his stint with the Detroit Pistons, and by a slew of other coaches all over the place. (It's a copycat league, after all.) The co-opting makes sense —it's smart to emphasize hard work, perseverance and focus on process rather than immediate results, after all —but it's especially nice to be able to connect yourself to five-time NBA champion Popovich, who loves the quote so much that he used it as the name of his wine . Keep your eyes and palates peeled for Pop dropping that new Jacob Riisling in the summer of 2015. Amar'e Stoudemire, for one, can't wait . Whether Terry Stotts experiences more success in Portland with his hammering than Brown did in L.A. or Frank did in Detroit remains to be seen, but if nothing else, the Spurs' ring night ceremony offered a pretty stellar and shiny reminder of what can happen if you just keep swingin' 'em: The pounding the rock detail on the Spurs' title rings is excellent. pic.twitter.com/zJ5jFQFsDl —Andrew A. McNeill (@drew_48moh) October 29, 2014 I mean, personalized tools are one thing, but there's a hell of a motivator. More NBA coverage: - - - - - - - Dan Devine is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at devine@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YourManDevine Stay connected with Ball Don't Lie on Twitter @YahooBDL , "Like" BDL on Facebook and follow BDL's Tumblr for year-round NBA talk, jokes and more. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports


Thomas, Morris lead pesky Suns past Spurs 94-89 (Yahoo Sports)

[read full article]

From Yahoo Sports


BDL's 2014-15 NBA Season Previews: All 30 team previews, collected in one spot (Ball Don't

It's been 136 days since the San Antonio Spurs put the finishing touches on their five-game demolition of the Miami Heat to win the 2013-14 NBA championship. Since then, we've seen a new decision that knocked over the dominoes that shifted the balance of power in the Eastern Conference, a foot fracture that could tilt the brutal West, a long overdue change in L.A., and more movement —of players, coaches, front-office staffers and everything else —than you can shake a stick at ... except in San Antonio, of course, where the Spurs brought back their entire O'Brien-winning roster in pursuit of the repeat title that's thus far eluded them. [ Yahoo Sports Fantasy Basketball: Sign up and join a league today! ] It's been a long summer and early fall, and our seemingly interminable wait is now over. The 2014-15 NBA season tips off tonight, with looming monster /2014 FIBA World Cup star Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans hosting the Orlando Magic, the Spurs (and their fans ) getting their rings before taking on the retooled Dallas Mavericks, and Dwight Howard leading the Houston Rockets back to Hollywood to square off with the once-again-healthy Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers. It ought to be a pretty fun night. We've spent the last month preparing for tonight, putting together in-depth looks at all 30 NBA teams —how we left them last season, what they did on their summer vacations, their big moves, big questions and all the storylines and subplots to keep an eye on this coming season. They're all collected here, in case you missed any, would like to take another look, or just want to study up before the opening buzzer. You can also find our predictions for the season ahead —our picks for the 2014-15 champion, who'll win each major individual award and more —right here . The links below point to each team's season preview, along with predicted records and playoff seeding.* Dig in, enjoy, and feel free to tell us where you think we've gone wrong —today, tomorrow, all season long and always —on Twitter , Facebook and Tumblr . * NOTE: A few of the Western Conference records listed below differ from those that appear in the team-by-team previews, many of which were published before Kevin Durant suffered the Jones fracture that will keep him out for the first six or so weeks of the season. That, as you might expect, led us to juggle a few things. Now, let's get to it: EASTERN CONFERENCE Atlantic Division 1. Toronto Raptors —50-32 2. Brooklyn Nets —38-44 3. New York Knicks —37-45 4. Boston Celtics —28-54 5. Philadelphia 76ers —15-67 Central Division 1. Cleveland Cavaliers —60-22 2. Chicago Bulls —57-25 3. Detroit Pistons —32-50 4. Indiana Pacers —28-54 5. Milwaukee Bucks —20-62 Southeast Division 1. Washington Wizards —48-34 2. Charlotte Hornets —46-36 3. Miami Heat —43-39 4. Atlanta Hawks —41-41 5. Orlando Magic —25-57 Which would mean, playoffs-wise ... 1. Cleveland 2. Chicago 3. Toronto 4. Washington 5. Charlotte 6. Miami 7. Atlanta 8. Brooklyn WESTERN CONFERENCE Northwest Division 1.** Oklahoma City Thunder —55-27 2.** Portland Trail Blazers —55-27 4. Denver Nuggets —36-46 4. Utah Jazz —24-58 5. Minnesota Timberwolves —20-62 Pacific Division 1. Los Angeles Clippers —59-23 2. Golden State Warriors —58-24 3. Phoenix Suns —47-35 4. Sacramento Kings —35-47 5. Los Angeles Lakers —27-55 Southwest Division 1. San Antonio Spurs —57-25 2.** Dallas Mavericks —50-32 3.** Houston Rockets —50-32 4. Memphis Grizzlies —45-37 5. New Orleans Pelicans —44-38 Which would mean, playoffs-wise ... 1. L.A. Clippers 2. Golden State 3. San Antonio 4. Oklahoma City/Portland** 5. Portland/Oklahoma City** 6. Dallas/Houston** 7. Houston/Dallas** 8. Phoenix ** depending on tiebreakers More NBA coverage: [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports


All of the Portland Trail Blazers got brand new motivational hammers to start the season (Photo)

Welcome to the 2014-15 NBA season, Portland Trail Blazers. Please report to your lockers, inspect your uniforms to ensure that your last name is spelled properly, and pick up your complimentary personalized big ol' hammer. [ Yahoo Sports Fantasy Basketball: Sign up and join a league today! ] Each Blazers player was given one of these today from the organization. pic.twitter.com/e1kTQppNwY —Erik Gundersen (@blazerbanter) October 28, 2014 Now, I know what you're thinking, and the answer is no. The NBA didn't decide to implement Marcin Gortat's idea of allowing fighting during games and go one step further by encouraging players to have weapons at the ready should the beef get to sizzling. (I know what else you're thinking, and yes, I too immediately thought that Robin Lopez probably named his hammer Mjolnir .) These are merely inspirational hammers, hammers of metaphor and imagery, intended to remind the members of this year's Blazers squad —facing the difficult task of building upon last season's surprising 54-28 record and second-round playoff appearance —of the importance of giving it their all each and every night. From Erik Gundersen of The Columbian : According to Wesley Matthews, who was so kind as to let us take a picture, the hammers are a reminder to “keep grinding, stay on our worst behavior.”Some players had theirs out while some still had them in their box. [...] To recap, the hammer for each player is just a physical manifestation of the “COMPETE”mantra the Blazers have on their gear, all over their locker room and practice facility. This sort of "physical manifestation" has been a go-to move for some coaches in years past. Recall, if you will, Dwane Casey having a 1,300-pound boulder plunked inside his office after taking over the Toronto Raptors, which put to shame the 200-pound hunk of granite that Jon Gruden showcased inside the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' locker room during their 2002-03 Super Bowl run. I prefer the Blazers' token talismans, though. Easier to move, and plus, you can use them for repairs around the house. All these rocks and hammers, of course, circle back to the same point of inspiration —the following famous quote by Danish-American social reformer and activist Jacob Riis: "When nothing seems to help, I go look at a stonecutter hammering away at his rock perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not that blow that did it, but all that had gone before." Riis' quote became a mantra for Gregg Popovich and the San Antonio Spurs, and was later deployed by former Spurs assistant Mike Brown during his time with the Los Angeles Lakers, and by Lawrence Frank during his stint with the Detroit Pistons, and by a slew of other coaches all over the place. (It's a copycat league, after all.) The co-opting makes sense —it's smart to emphasize hard work, perseverance and focus on process rather than immediate results, after all —but it's especially nice to be able to connect yourself to five-time NBA champion Popovich, who loves the quote so much that he used it as the name of his wine . Keep your eyes and palates peeled for Pop dropping that new Jacob Riisling in the summer of 2015. Amar'e Stoudemire, for one, can't wait . Whether Terry Stotts experiences more success in Portland with his hammering than Brown did in L.A. or Frank did in Detroit remains to be seen, but if nothing else, the Spurs' ring night ceremony offered a pretty stellar and shiny reminder of what can happen if you just keep swingin' 'em: The pounding the rock detail on the Spurs' title rings is excellent. pic.twitter.com/zJ5jFQFsDl —Andrew A. McNeill (@drew_48moh) October 29, 2014 I mean, personalized tools are one thing, but there's a hell of a motivator. More NBA coverage: - - - - - - - Dan Devine is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at devine@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YourManDevine Stay connected with Ball Don't Lie on Twitter @YahooBDL , "Like" BDL on Facebook and follow BDL's Tumblr for year-round NBA talk, jokes and more. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

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