CLIPPERS NOTEBOOK: Spurs all big shots in their system - LA Daily News
CLIPPERS NOTEBOOK: Spurs all big shots in their system
By Vincent Bonsignore and Jill Painter, Staff Writers
While LeBron James and Dwyane Wade struggle to figure out who will close games down the stretch for the Miami Heat and the Lakers get criticized for passing to a wide-open Steve Blake rather than forcing it to Kobe Bryant for a potential winning basket, the San Antonio Spurs just continue to float above the issue of who gets the ball with the game on the line.
When has anyone freaked out over Manu Ginobili taking the big shot rather than Tony Parker - or vice versa?
When have the Spurs struggled to decide what ego to feed in the closing seconds - Tim Duncan, Parker, Ginobili, Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard?
How about ... who cares?
How about just run a good, solid play and get the ball to the open man and have confidence he can knock it down.
That's what the Spurs have done for years, and it's worked so well they've won four NBA titles since 1999 and could be closing in on a fifth.
There never seems to be controversy over, say, why Parker got the call over Duncan or vice versa.
"That's on our coach," Spurs guard Gary Neal said. "That's the respect we have for him. He calls the play and we run it."
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich cultivates a team-first attitude with an emphasis on moving the ball to the open man and not settling for anything less.
That's one of the reasons the Spurs rarely force an ill-advised shot.
It's been pounded into them to find a teammate with a better look.
In doing so, a number of Spurs have been afforded the chance to take so-called big shots. And with each make, the confidence soars. The result is Popovich is comfortable calling multiple players' numbers in key situations.
And good luck defending a team in the closing seconds when you have no idea who might end up with the ball for the best look.
"It's usually different people for us, it's never one guy," Popovich said. "It could be Timmy or Tony or Manu or Danny Green. We've gone to Gary Neal on occasion."
The fact that his players buy into it - and it works - is why no one ever questions it.
"Maybe because we spread it around," Popovich said.
Popovich had plenty of good things to say about Clippers forward Blake Griffin, who's playing in his first career postseason.
"I don't see Blake every day, but I do know he's a committed athlete, tough-minded and has a great work ethic," Popovich said. "He wants to be great. His basketball skills will someday match his physical skills."
The Spurs are employing a hack-a-bad-shooter philosophy and Popovich makes no apologies for doing so. That worked with Reggie Evans in Game 3 Saturday, when Evans missed 7 of 10 free throws, all in the fourth quarter.
"When you're intentionally fouling guys, we have to make free throws," Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said. "That puts a different spin on the game from the flow standpoint. We've got to get up there and make free throws. If that's not the case we'll have to (make changes)."
The possibility of the Clippers-Spurs game being moved to today if the Kings-Phoenix Coyotes NHL playoff contest went to several overtimes was much ado about nothing. Phoenix beat the Kings 2-0.
Popovich was one of those basketball fans who tuned in just because the game could have affected the NBA playoff schedule.
"I watched it," Popovich said. "I didn't know what was going on, but I watched it."
NO D, NO RING!!!!
With 26 points on 4 of 4 shots from distance in only 20 minutes of PT. Efficient eviceration.
Wolves' fan: ginobili vs. the wolves is like he's just kind of laughing to himself all game...kind of like he thinks it's cute that they're trying to play basketball.
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