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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 ..."


Greg Archuleta

Trading the Lakers' Enemies? I Don't Think So posted by Greg Archuleta

Shaq can't even proclaim himself "The Big Trade."

The defending Eastern Conference champion Orlando Magic trumped Los Angeles Laker ex Shaquille O'Neal's move from the Phoenix Suns to the Cleveland Cavaliers when they acquired Vince Carter from the New Jersey Nets.

Carter's relocation to Disney World seemingly would keep the Magic in control of the ever-increasing wild, wild east. Although, it is intriguing to imagine what The Big Change of Address (five teams in the career of the most dominant center of our generation? Hard to fathom) might do for King James -- His Royal Poor Sport -- and the Cavs if Shaq is properly motivated.

Yet, the biggest immediate threat to a potential Laker dynasty -- if properly healed -- comes from our Green "friends" in Boston.

If Kevin Garnett can return to 100 percent form from the knee injury that derailed his 2008 season just inches from the start of the playoffs, the hated Celtics remain the most viable candidate to make good on that "Beat L.A." chant.

Remember, Boston was one game away from knocking Orlando from the postseason in the Eastern Conference semis without Garnett, not to mention Leon Powe.

Sure, two of the key figures in the Celtics' 2008 run to the title -- the New Orleans Hornets' James Posey and 77-year old P.J. Brown -- aren't returning anytime soon to help them.

And the Chicago Bulls almost eliminated the C's in the first round.

But the scary thing about the Celtics is their toughness was evident as ever in the playoffs despite their short stay. And that was without Garnett, their toughest player.

Continue reading "Trading the Lakers' Enemies? I Don't Think So"

San Antonio Spurs News

View All San Antonio Spurs News


Gregg Popovich fondly recalls his team's 'lobotomies,' readies his championship-defending te

Three months later, it’s still remarkable that the San Antonio Spurs were able to win the 2014 NBA title. The team had the talent enough, that’s for sure. Top to bottom, they were probably the deepest team in the NBA, and easily the best squad in the NBA when it came time to thinking on its collective feet and anticipating all manner of movement from opponents on either end of the court. They weren’t gifted a title, they earned one –in spite of the disparate ages and stylings of its core players. No, the Spurs’2014 championship was remarkable because of what happened some 12 months before. San Antonio fell in the final two games of its 2013 season, losing the NBA Finals along the way, in a production that was as galling as anything we’ve seen since Bill Russell’s final championship win over a shocked and reeling Los Angeles Lakers squad in 1969. Perhaps more galling, one supposes, because the 2013 Spurs were supposed to act as the modern-day Celtics in this matter –all full of security and sound moves down the stretch. Instead, they folded; with both players and coaching staff making serious mistakes late in losses in Game 6 and 7 against Miami. How coach Gregg Popovich managed to rally his players initially is one thing, any coach can get the juices flowing after a massive disappointment for a short stretch. How Gregg Popovich managed to rally his players for a training camp, an 82-game season and 23-game playoff run stretched out from early October until mid-June? It may just have been the greatest coaching achievement in NBA history. Even if Tim Duncan is on your side. Coach Pop’s motivational technique was as tangible as well as ethereal. From Buck Harvey’s feature on Popovich in the San Antonio Express-News : If you took a right out of Gregg Popovich's office in the practice facility last season, and you walked past the offices of the assistant coaches, you couldn't miss it. Straight ahead, prominently displayed on a wall, was a framed picture of the Game 6 scoreboard. […] The picture didn't display the final score. It didn't freeze time at 28.2 seconds. It showed a moment late in the third quarter —when the Spurs led by 13 points. That’s a coach burn, right there. Don’t fixate on Ray Allen’s three-pointer or the half-full Heat arena celebrating the win after the final buzzer. Focus on the 12 and a half minutes’worth of things that went wrong on Miami’s way toward outscoring San Antonio by 13 over the rest of regulation on its way to an overtime win. You’d call that typical Coach Pop, until you move on to read what else he and Harvey talked about , as Popovich readied to welcome his players back from a summer spent celebrating that hard-earned championship. On Miami’s mindset, heading into Game 3 of the 2014 Finals, working with a 1-1 series tie and home court advantage : “When they won Game 2,”he said, “they probably didn't handle that win real well. They were probably thinking that we got lucky in Game 1, with the air conditioning issue, and they thought they were just going to do it again. As two-time defending champs, it was natural. This had become their place in the world.”Combine the two attitudes, and the result was a stunning, overwhelming exhibition of basketball excellence. Even now, when Popovich watches the last three games of the Finals, he comes away amazed. “I'm thinking, 'Who are these guys?'”he joked about his players. “'Did they all have lobotomies?'”Popovich, in his own way, is always trying to surgically tweak brains. It's not manipulation as much as it is a search for the clearest, most honest message. He doesn't want to do what the Heat did, which is not handle success well. This is killer stuff. For one, the Heat can’t rightly respond. They don’t have LeBron James at their side anymore, so while Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Luol Deng and (especially) coach Erik Spoelstra can take all the offense they want to the insinuation that hubris got in the way of a third consecutive Heat title, they’ll still have to work through Cleveland, Chicago, and possibly a few other Eastern upstarts if they want a way to make Coach Pop eat his words in the FInals. This isn’t about the Miami Heat, though. You know that. This is about Coach Pop expecting his Spurs to have a mindset that combines the best of the 2013-14 combination of patience and execution, while learning on the fly how to do something that Pop’s Spurs teams have never been able to accomplish. That would be defending a title all the way until they’ve won another one. Finding a way to add to what was already a crystal clear focus in the wake of the 2013 disappointment, while understanding that no longer are the San Antonio Spurs considered the respectful-if-fogeyish mainstays that are to be admired but not feared. Nope, they’re the champs. And with bling, comes burden. - - - - - - - Kelly Dwyer is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at KDonhoops@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @KDonhoops [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

Gregg Popovich fondly recalls his team's 'lobotomies,' readies his championship-defending te

Three months later, it’s still remarkable that the San Antonio Spurs were able to win the 2014 NBA title. The team had the talent enough, that’s for sure. Top to bottom, they were probably the deepest team in the NBA, and easily the best squad in the NBA when it came time to thinking on its collective feet and anticipating all manner of movement from opponents on either end of the court. They weren’t gifted a title, they earned one –in spite of the disparate ages and stylings of its core players. No, the Spurs’2014 championship was remarkable because of what happened some 12 months before. San Antonio fell in the final two games of its 2013 season, losing the NBA Finals along the way, in a production that was as galling as anything we’ve seen since Bill Russell’s final championship win over a shocked and reeling Los Angeles Lakers squad in 1969. Perhaps more galling, one supposes, because the 2013 Spurs were supposed to act as the modern-day Celtics in this matter –all full of security and sound moves down the stretch. Instead, they folded; with both players and coaching staff making serious mistakes late in losses in Game 6 and 7 against Miami. How coach Gregg Popovich managed to rally his players initially is one thing, any coach can get the juices flowing after a massive disappointment for a short stretch. How Gregg Popovich managed to rally his players for a training camp, an 82-game season and 23-game playoff run stretched out from early October until mid-June? It may just have been the greatest coaching achievement in NBA history. Even if Tim Duncan is on your side. Coach Pop’s motivational technique was as tangible as well as ethereal. From Buck Harvey’s feature on Popovich in the San Antonio Express-News : If you took a right out of Gregg Popovich's office in the practice facility last season, and you walked past the offices of the assistant coaches, you couldn't miss it. Straight ahead, prominently displayed on a wall, was a framed picture of the Game 6 scoreboard. […] The picture didn't display the final score. It didn't freeze time at 28.2 seconds. It showed a moment late in the third quarter —when the Spurs led by 13 points. That’s a coach burn, right there. Don’t fixate on Ray Allen’s three-pointer or the half-full Heat arena celebrating the win after the final buzzer. Focus on the 12 and a half minutes’worth of things that went wrong on Miami’s way toward outscoring San Antonio by 13 over the rest of regulation on its way to an overtime win. You’d call that typical Coach Pop, until you move on to read what else he and Harvey talked about , as Popovich readied to welcome his players back from a summer spent celebrating that hard-earned championship. On Miami’s mindset, heading into Game 3 of the 2014 Finals, working with a 1-1 series tie and home court advantage : “When they won Game 2,”hesaid, “they probably didn't handle that win real well. They were probably thinking that we got lucky in Game 1, with the air conditioning issue, and they thought they were just going to do it again. As two-time defending champs, it was natural. This had become their place in the world.”Combine the two attitudes, and the result was a stunning, overwhelming exhibition of basketball excellence. Even now, when Popovich watches the last three games of the Finals, he comes away amazed. “I'm thinking, 'Who are these guys?'”he joked about his players. “'Did they all have lobotomies?'”Popovich, in his own way, is always trying to surgically tweak brains. It's not manipulation as much as it is a search for the clearest, most honest message. He doesn't want to do what the Heat did, which is not handle success well. This is killer stuff. For one, the Heat can’t rightly respond. They don’t have LeBron James at their side anymore, so while Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Luol Deng and (especially) coach Erik Spoelstra can take all the offense they want to the insinuation that hubris got in the way of a third consecutive Heat title, they’ll still have to work through Cleveland, Chicago, and possibly a few other Eastern upstarts if they want a way to make Coach Pop eat his words in the FInals. This isn’t about the Miami Heat, though. You know that. This is about Coach Pop expecting his Spurs to have a mindset that combines the best of the 2013-14 combination of patience and execution, while learning on the fly how to do something that Pop’s Spurs teams have never been able to accomplish. That would be defending a title all the way until they’ve won another one. Finding a way to add to what was already a crystal clear focus in the wake of the 2013 disappointment, while understanding that no longer are the San Antonio Spurs considered the respectful-if-fogeyish mainstays that are to be admired but not feared. Nope, they’re the champs. And with bling, comes burden. - - - - - - - Kelly Dwyer is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at KDonhoops@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @KDonhoops [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

Gregg Popovich fondly recalls his team's 'lobotomies,' readies his championship-defending te

Three months later, it’s still remarkable that the San Antonio Spurs were able to win the 2014 NBA title. The team had the talent enough, that’s for sure. Top to bottom, they were probably the deepest team in the NBA, and easily the best squad in the NBA when it came time to thinking on its collective feet and anticipating all manner of movement from opponents on either end of the court. They weren’t gifted a title, they earned one –in spite of the disparate ages and stylings of its core players. No, the Spurs’2014 championship was remarkable because of what happened some 12 months before. San Antonio fell in the final two games of its 2013 season, losing the NBA Finals along the way, in a production that was as galling as anything we’ve seen since Bill Russell’s final championship win over a shocked and reeling Los Angeles Lakers squad in 1969. Perhaps more galling, one supposes, because the 2013 Spurs were supposed to act as the modern-day Celtics in this matter –all full of security and sound moves down the stretch. Instead, they folded; with both players and coaching staff making serious mistakes late in losses in Game 6 and 7 against Miami. How coach Gregg Popovich managed to rally his players initially is one thing, any coach can get the juices flowing after a massive disappointment for a short stretch. How Gregg Popovich managed to rally his players for a training camp, an 82-game season and 23-game playoff run stretched out from early October until mid-June? It may just have been the greatest coaching achievement in NBA history. Even if Tim Duncan is on your side. Coach Pop’s motivational technique was as tangible as well as ethereal. From Buck Harvey’s feature on Popovich in the San Antonio Express-News : If you took a right out of Gregg Popovich's office in the practice facility last season, and you walked past the offices of the assistant coaches, you couldn't miss it. Straight ahead, prominently displayed on a wall, was a framed picture of the Game 6 scoreboard. […] The picture didn't display the final score. It didn't freeze time at 28.2 seconds. It showed a moment late in the third quarter —when the Spurs led by 13 points. That’s a coach burn, right there. Don’t fixate on Ray Allen’s three-pointer or the half-full Heat arena celebrating the win after the final buzzer. Focus on the 12 and a half minutes’worth of things that went wrong on Miami’s way toward outscoring San Antonio by 13 over the rest of regulation on its way to an overtime win. You’d call that typical Coach Pop, until you move on to read what else he and Harvey talked about , as Popovich readied to welcome his players back from a summer spent celebrating that hard-earned championship. On Miami’s mindset, heading into Game 3 of the 2014 Finals, working with a 1-1 series tie and home court advantage : “When they won Game 2,”he said, “they probably didn't handle that win real well. They were probably thinking that we got lucky in Game 1, with the air conditioning issue, and they thought they were just going to do it again. As two-time defending champs, it was natural. This had become their place in the world.”Combine the two attitudes, and the result was a stunning, overwhelming exhibition of basketball excellence. Even now, when Popovich watches the last three games of the Finals, he comes away amazed. “I'm thinking, 'Who are these guys?'”he joked about his players. “'Did they all have lobotomies?'”Popovich, in his own way, is always trying to surgically tweak brains. It's not manipulation as much as it is a search for the clearest, most honest message. He doesn't want to do what the Heat did, which is not handle success well. This is killer stuff. For one, the Heat can’t rightly respond. They don’t have LeBron James at their side anymore, so while Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Luol Deng and (especially) coach Erik Spoelstra can take all the offense they want to the insinuation that hubris got in the way of a third consecutive Heat title, they’ll still have to work through Cleveland, Chicago, and possibly a few other Eastern upstarts if they want a way to make Coach Pop eat his words in the FInals. This isn’t about the Miami Heat, though. You know that. This is about Coach Pop expecting his Spurs to have a mindset that combines the best of the 2013-14 combination of patience and execution, while learning on the fly how to do something that Pop’s Spurs teams have never been able to accomplish. That would be defending a title all the way until they’ve won another one. Finding a way to add to what was already a crystal clear focus in the wake of the 2013 disappointment, while understanding that no longer are the San Antonio Spurs considered the respectful-if-fogeyish mainstays that are to be admired but not feared. Nope, they’re the champs. And with bling, comes burden. - - - - - - - Kelly Dwyer is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at KDonhoops@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @KDonhoops [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

Gregg Popovich fondly recalls his team's 'lobotomies,' readies his championship-defending te

Three months later, it’s still remarkable that the San Antonio Spurs were able to win the 2014 NBA title. The team had the talent enough, that’s for sure. Top to bottom, they were probably the deepest team in the NBA, and easily the best squad in the NBA when it came time to thinking on its collective feet and anticipating all manner of movement from opponents on either end of the court. They weren’t gifted a title, they earned one –in spite of the disparate ages and stylings of its core players. No, the Spurs’2014 championship was remarkable because of what happened some 12 months before. San Antonio fell in the final two games of its 2013 season, losing the NBA Finals along the way, in a production that was as galling as anything we’ve seen since Bill Russell’s final championship win over a shocked and reeling Los Angeles Lakers squad in 1969. Perhaps more galling, one supposes, because the 2013 Spurs were supposed to act as the modern-day Celtics in this matter –all full of security and sound moves down the stretch. Instead, they folded; with both players and coaching staff making serious mistakes late in losses in Game 6 and 7 against Miami. How coach Gregg Popovich managed to rally his players initially is one thing, any coach can get the juices flowing after a massive disappointment for a short stretch. How Gregg Popovich managed to rally his players for a training camp, an 82-game season and 23-game playoff run stretched out from early October until mid-June? It may just have been the greatest coaching achievement in NBA history. Even if Tim Duncan is on your side. Coach Pop’s motivational technique was as tangible as well as ethereal. From Buck Harvey’s feature on Popovich in the San Antonio Express-News : If you took a right out of Gregg Popovich's office in the practice facility last season, and you walked past the offices of the assistant coaches, you couldn't miss it. Straight ahead, prominently displayed on a wall, was a framed picture of the Game 6 scoreboard. […] The picture didn't display the final score. It didn't freeze time at 28.2 seconds. It showed a moment late in the third quarter —when the Spurs led by 13 points. That’s a coach burn, right there. Don’t fixate on Ray Allen’s three-pointer or the half-full Heat arena celebrating the win after the final buzzer. Focus on the 12 and a half minutes’worth of things that went wrong on Miami’s way toward outscoring San Antonio by 13 over the rest of regulation on its way to an overtime win. You’d call that typical Coach Pop, until you move on to read what else he and Harvey talked about , as Popovich readied to welcome his players back from a summer spent celebrating that hard-earned championship. On Miami’s mindset, heading into Game 3 of the 2014 Finals, working with a 1-1 series tie and home court advantage : “When they won Game 2,”he said, “they probably didn't handle that win real well. They were probably thinking that we got lucky in Game 1, with the air conditioning issue, and they thought they were just going to do it again. As two-time defending champs, it was natural. This had become their place in the world.”Combine the two attitudes, and the result was a stunning, overwhelming exhibition of basketball excellence. Even now, when Popovich watches the last three games of the Finals, he comes away amazed. “I'm thinking, 'Who are these guys?'”he joked about his players. “'Did they all have lobotomies?'”Popovich, in his own way, is always trying to surgically tweak brains. It's not manipulation as much as it is a search for the clearest, most honest message. He doesn't want to do what the Heat did, which is not handle success well. This is killer stuff. For one, the Heat can’t rightly respond. They don’t have LeBron James at their side anymore, so while Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Luol Deng and (especially) coach Erik Spoelstra can take all the offense they want to the insinuation that hubris got in the way of a third consecutive Heat title, they’ll still have to work through Cleveland, Chicago, and possibly a few other Eastern upstarts if they want a way to make Coach Pop eat his words in the FInals. This isn’t about the Miami Heat, though. You know that. This is about Coach Pop expecting his Spurs to have a mindset that combines the best of the 2013-14 combination of patience and execution, while learning on the fly how to do something that Pop’s Spurs teams have never been able to accomplish. That would be defending a title all the way until they’ve won another one. Finding a way to add to what was already a crystal clear focus in the wake of the 2013 disappointment, while understanding that no longer are the San Antonio Spurs considered the respectful-if-fogeyish mainstays that are to be admired but not feared. Nope, they’re the champs. And with bling, comes burden. - - - - - - - Kelly Dwyer is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at KDonhoops@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @KDonhoops [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

Gregg Popovich fondly recalls his team's 'lobotomies,' readies his championship-defending te

Three months later, it’s still remarkable that the San Antonio Spurs were able to win the 2014 NBA title. The team had the talent enough, that’s for sure. Top to bottom, they were probably the deepest team in the NBA, and easily the best squad in the NBA when it came time to thinking on its collective feet and anticipating all manner of movement from opponents on either end of the court. They weren’t gifted a title, they earned one –in spite of the disparate ages and stylings of its core players. No, the Spurs’2014 championship was remarkable because of what happened some 12 months before. San Antonio fell in the final two games of its 2013 season, losing the NBA Finals along the way, in a production that was as galling as anything we’ve seen since Bill Russell’s final championship win over a shocked and reeling Los Angeles Lakers squad in 1969. Perhaps more galling, one supposes, because the 2013 Spurs were supposed to act as the modern-day Celtics in this matter –all full of security and sound moves down the stretch. Instead, they folded; with both players and coaching staff making serious mistakes late in losses in Game 6 and 7 against Miami. How coach Gregg Popovich managed to rally his players initially is one thing, any coach can get the juices flowing after a massive disappointment for a short stretch. How Gregg Popovich managed to rally his players for a training camp, an 82-game season and 23-game playoff run stretched out from early October until mid-June? It may just have been the greatest coaching achievement in NBA history. Even if Tim Duncan is on your side. Coach Pop’s motivational technique was as tangible as well as ethereal. From Buck Harvey’s feature on Popovich in the San Antonio Express-News : If you took a right out of Gregg Popovich's office in the practice facility last season, and you walked past the offices of the assistant coaches, you couldn't miss it. Straight ahead, prominently displayed on a wall, was a framed picture of the Game 6 scoreboard. […] The picture didn't display the final score. It didn't freeze time at 28.2 seconds. It showed a moment late in the third quarter —when the Spurs led by 13 points. That’s a coach burn, right there. Don’t fixate on Ray Allen’s three-pointer or the half-full Heat arena celebrating the win after the final buzzer. Focus on the 12 and a half minutes’worth of things that went wrong on Miami’s way toward outscoring San Antonio by 13 over the rest of regulation on its way to an overtime win. You’d call that typical Coach Pop, until you move on to read what else he and Harvey talked about , as Popovich readied to welcome his players back from a summer spent celebrating that hard-earned championship. On Miami’s mindset, heading into Game 3 of the 2014 Finals, working with a 1-1 series tie and home court advantage : “When they won Game 2,”he said, “they probably didn't handle that win real well. They were probably thinking that we got lucky in Game 1, with the air conditioning issue, and they thought they were just going to do it again. As two-time defending champs, it was natural. This had become their place in the world.”Combine the two attitudes, and the result was a stunning, overwhelming exhibition of basketball excellence. Even now, when Popovich watches the last three games of the Finals, he comes away amazed. “I'm thinking, 'Who are these guys?'”he joked about his players. “'Did they all have lobotomies?'”Popovich, in his own way, is always trying to surgically tweak brains. It's not manipulation as much as it is a search for the clearest, most honest message. He doesn't want to do what the Heat did, which is not handle success well. This is killer stuff. For one, the Heat can’t rightly respond. They don’t have LeBron James at their side anymore, so while Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Luol Deng and (especially) coach Erik Spoelstra can take all the offense they want to the insinuation that hubris got in the way of a third consecutive Heat title, they’ll still have to work through Cleveland, Chicago, and possibly a few other Eastern upstarts if they want a way to make Coach Pop eat his words in the FInals. This isn’t about the Miami Heat, though. You know that. This is about Coach Pop expecting his Spurs to have a mindset that combines the best of the 2013-14 combination of patience and execution, while learning on the fly how to do something that Pop’s Spurs teams have never been able to accomplish. That would be defending a title all the way until they’ve won another one. Finding a way to add to what was already a crystal clear focus in the wake of the 2013 disappointment, while understanding that no longer are the San Antonio Spurs considered the respectful-if-fogeyish mainstays that are to be admired but not feared. Nope, they’re the champs. And with bling, comes burden. - - - - - - - Kelly Dwyer is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at KDonhoops@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @KDonhoops [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

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