Nov. 10, 2005 Link: Charlote Oberserver
Charlotte Bobcats guard Brevin Knight (22) tries to strip the ball from San Antonio's Manu Ginobili on Wednesday. Knight, who finished with 10 points and eight assists, said of the Spurs: "That's the best team in basketball, by far." Spurs hold off Bobcats
Reigning NBA champs teach a few lessons
The San Antonio Spurs out-execute everyone, so why should the Charlotte Bobcats be any different? They were fast and furious in the first half with point guard Tony Parker. They were deliberate and penetrating in the second half with power forward Tim Duncan.
So it was inevitable the Spurs would prevail, 94-86. The question became what the Bobcats could learn from this.
"That's the best team in basketball, by far," said Bobcats point guard Brevin Knight (10 points, eight assists). "They have all that talent, and still Pop (coach Gregg Popovich) goes in and says, `This guy go here, that guy go there,' and those guys do exactly that."
It was that precise. Considering how the Spurs shot (49 percent to Charlotte's 41 percent) and rebounded (44 to Charlotte's 38) it was deceiving how close the final score looked. And the Bobcats knew it.
"They have the best player in the world (Duncan), and so many other weapons," said Bobcats center Primoz Brezec (13 points, seven rebounds).
So they walked away from Wednesday's game 2-3, with a clear vision of what good is. Today they'll look to get better, in what coach Bernie Bickerstaff hopes is the first hard practice since before the season-opener.
They opened with a heavy schedule -- five in seven nights -- plus various injuries to rotation players.
Bickerstaff let the starters rest those injuries Tuesday, but to use the coach's favorite term, slippage is creeping into the Bobcats' habits.
Now that they've slipped below .500, Bickerstaff has plenty to clean up.
"We need a practice. The guys in this league are too good not to practice," said Bickerstaff, whose team faces Dallas and Miami, plus Indiana twice, in the next nine days.
If they're looking for a model, the 4-1 Spurs provided it. The defending champs varied speeds, building a lead on Parker's drives (15 of 23 points before halftime) and retaining it with Duncan's cool in the second half (17 of his 29 points).
"We were playing too fast. Fifteen (first-half) turnovers is way too much on the road, so we got it inside to Timmy," Parker said.
"When Timmy gets it, we play with better pace, better control and fewer turnovers."
The Bobcats need more of all that. Knight, for one, says he'll start ignoring aches and pains, so that he practices more to clean up the mistakes.
"We've done a lot of good things," Knight said of the early results. "Did we make some mistakes tonight? Yeah. But we are on the verge of being a good team.
"We need to get out on the practice court to be that team."