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Old 04-13-12, 01:01 PM
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1 Gamble Every NBA Playoff-Bound Team Should Make

1 Gamble Every NBA Playoff-Bound Team Should Make
By John Friel - (Featured Columnist) on April 13, 2012

San Antonio Spurs

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Gamble: Should the San Antonio Spurs go after the No. 1 seed or rest for the playoffs?

If you gave Gregg Popovich a D-League team, he'd turn them into a playoff team. Give him the Dream Team and they'd still be playing to this day winning gold medals. If you let Popovich take over the Washington Generals, he'd start a winning streak.

There's just something about this guy and his ability to run teams with players past their prime and average role players that gets the best out of them. Popovich is the best head coach in the NBA and it's not even really close. Once Phil Jackson retired, Popovich immediately took the throne.

He's continuing to give evidence of why he should be a first-ballot Hall of Famer, as well.

Despite dealing with injuries to Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan's knees continuing to wear out, he has the Spurs at 40-16 thanks in part to the MVP-caliber season of Tony Parker and the plethora of role players who have done an excellent job making up for the shortcomings of the injured Manu and Timmy.

Gary Neal, DeJuan Blair, Tiago Splitter, Stephen Jackson, Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard have all played excellent ball this season. So excellent that you'd hardly notice that Ginobili has only played in 26 games and Duncan is only averaging 15 points and nine boards per, far below what he usually averaged early on in his career.

The postseason is all about having your top players in peak condition. The playoffs can get extremely drawn out with seven games meant to decide who's the better team between two.

When that happens in four series, you want to have your main scorers rested and ready for those series that can get extended.

The Spurs are going to get either the No. 1 or No. 2 seed. They're only a game out of first place and are nearly five games ahead of the third-place Los Angeles Lakers. Instead of chasing that first seed, it might be best for San Antonio to have their injured shooting guard healthy and their aged power forward ready for the long haul.

This team is balanced enough to rely on Tony Parker and a bunch of role players for the rest of the year. Let the Oklahoma City Thunder get the No. 1 seed if it comes down to it.

After all, at 17-11 the Spurs are the third-best road team in the NBA.

1 Gamble Every NBA Playoff-Bound Team Should Make | Bleacher Report
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Old 04-13-12, 01:21 PM
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The world must be coming to an end! A Bleacher Report article that actually made sense.

Nine games left,
14th Phoenix Suns - TD / Manu Play
16th at Golden State Warriors TD / Manu Play (No more than 15 minutes)
17th at Los Angeles Lakers TD / Manu Play
18th at Sacramento Kings TD / Manu / Tony all sit
20th Los Angeles Lakers They all Play
22nd Cleveland Cavaliers TD / Manu 15 minutes TP 25 minutes
23rd Portland Trail Blazers TD / Manu Sit
25th at Phoenix Suns They play just to get loose and ready for playoffs
26th at Golden State Warriors - The kids play
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Old 04-13-12, 04:40 PM
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I dunno.....seems like too much rest kinda threw them "off" against the Fakers, I'd play them on a case by case basis.....
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Old 04-13-12, 04:53 PM
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I don't trust our young role players to be able to perform on the road in the playoffs. I say play the Big 3 minimal minutes on the second game of back to backs, mix and match on the trifecta. I know it's thinking ahead, but OKC, MIA and CHI are good teams and are hungry. I have concerns playing them in critical games on the road.
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Old 04-13-12, 05:03 PM
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Old 04-13-12, 08:15 PM
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it makes sense and is a good article (who woulda thought from BleacherReport? ), but i don't see it as a gamble. i could see it as one if we were the #1 seed and gave it up and rested. they aren't a veteran team. i do think OKC needs the #1 seed, but i think we can beat them when a game 7 in OKC
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Old 04-14-12, 07:52 AM
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I may be alone on this, but I think the Spurs really need the 1 seed. Not becaouse they couldn't win it from the 2 spot, but because the road is soooooo much easier. If you look at the 3,6, and 7 seeds (Lakers, Mavs, Rockets) vs the 4,5,8 (Memphis, Clips, Nuggets), you can see the difference. As the 2 seed we would have a path of Dallas/Houston, Lakers, OKC, Finals. I'd much rather have OKC battle the Lakers and Mavs while we go through Denver and Memphis. Just my opinion.
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Old 04-14-12, 12:48 PM
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Not sure that Memphis might not give OKC more fits, well Clips and mavs, too, for that matter. Do not think it really will affect the Spur much who they play. As for the Lakers, the other night did show the Spurs one weakness, but on any average night when they are shooting and moving the ball well, they can manage them. Let us look at the "perfect storm" surrounding the outcome of their game. It included a totally skewed output from the big three. Face it, people have to miss a bunch of shots for so manynrebounds to be there. Artest/World peace, whoever, is not likely to have another out break like that. If he does, perhaps the Spurs may just have to turn his "bleacher buddy", SJax, loose on him.
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Old 04-14-12, 03:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by esparzar1 View Post
I dunno.....seems like too much rest kinda threw them "off" against the Fakers, I'd play them on a case by case basis.....
Two nights off isn't an abnormal amount of rest. In fact, it is very well documented fact that Duncan and Ginobili play significantly better after 2 nights of rest than 1 or on the second night of a back to back. That Fakers game was just a good team with a slight matchup advantage that caught us on a bad night while they were hot.
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