Popovich says hero-ball is ‘boring
Popovich says hero-ball is ‘boring,’ which explains difference between Spurs and Lakers last-second shots
The Spurs beat the Lakers on Tuesday thanks to a three-pointer from Danny Green that put San Antonio up by two with 9.3 seconds left.
We broke down the beauty of the play that Gregg Popovich called — multiple screens, all players in motion, freeing up a shooter for a good look at the final shot.
The majority of teams, for some strange reason, choose isolation with their best player holding the ball and trying to score one-on-one with the game on the line. It’s counterintuitive, in that if during the entire course of the game you’d prefer set plays to free someone for an open look, instead of having guys try to create on their own to force tough shots over one or more defenders, why change the philosophy on a game’s most important possession?
There’s a reason Popovich is one of the game’s best minds– it’s because he does what makes sense. Though it would also seem his reasons are a bit selfish. (via Kevin Arnovitz at TrueHoop)
“I hate that,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “It’s so boring.”
What Popovich hates, of course, is the hero-ball isolation nonsense that I just described.
Whether it truly is due to boredom (doubtful, given Popovich’s famously-dry sense of humor) or whether it’s just the smarter decision, the Spurs choose to run plays on a final possession rather than trust one guy to do it all on his own.
Now, contrast that with the look that the Lakers got on their final possession.
The Bernie Bickerstaff era in Los Angeles will be neither historic nor looked back upon fondly, especially when considering the way L.A. failed to execute with the game in the balance.
With 9.3 seconds left, there’s a virtual eternity to get into something better than this.
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Pau Gasol cuts to the corner, and receives the inbound pass behind the three-point line. He’s alone, save for Tim Duncan right there closely contesting whatever move Gasol would choose to make.
He had Kobe Bryant cutting to the basket, and even if he was late with the pass, Bryant would have had the ball on the low block with more than five seconds left, and with no help available from Duncan given his position defending Gasol. If Tiago Splitter decided to come over to contest, Bryant could have bounced it to Dwight Howard, who would have gotten fouled at the very least.
That would have been a decent choice, and Bryant may very well have been able to tie the game in that position. But it’s still not a good plan, and it looks even worse when Gasol launches a three over Duncan’s outstretched arms.
It’s one play, and the Lakers certainly are hopeful that with Mike D’Antoni firmly in place, their offensive options will look a lot more reasonable. But it’s a great example of what more teams should look to do on a game’s most critical possession, and it’s why Popovich has the Spurs consistently near the top of the league-wide standings.
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Pop teaching the Lakers a lesson. :worthy
I find this somewhat bogus since I have seen Ginobili or Parker at the top of the key at the end of games probably over 100 times.
Tim The GREATEST caroled Gasol and suffocated him! Ha Ha.
If only Gasol saw how some other Laker players were wide open to pass so he did not have to shoot that horrible 3 attempt!
Tim is Da Man!
Also What a HUGE D from LEONARD on Kobe... :hat
OMG and Splitter Taking that TIMELY Rebound! And holding on to it! Then TD comes and says Time!!!!! :rock
WOW just WOW
Right in the heart of LA Lakers land!!!
I love my Spurs!
We all do! Go SPURS GO! Just had my license plate made for my car with "SPURS" written on it at the DMV today :)
I don't think he's saying that we shouldn't or that he always wants to avoid running the final play through our big stars, but that you look to the most efficient/effective option and that's not always your stars.
In this case, you definitely got the surprise off on the Lakers.
That's probably true, then the fact that none of these guys is able to completely dominate his defender makes teamwork a necessity.
DEFENCE ladies and gents, wins championships!
Hitting the open man!! Also Manu to Horry vs the Pistons. lakers in .05 or .06 seconds with less time on the clock--could have used boring that year--ugh, but had to include it.
When teams play with confidence and trust each other it is truly less boring and more exciting. Other high profile examples include Jordan to Steve or Duncan to Avery in play off wins for Bulls and Spurs back the day.
I've watched probably 80% of the Spurs games since Popovich started coaching them.
Here's how it breaks down:
You'll notice that Ginobili or Parker isolate at the top of the key on 99% of End of Quarter plays.
However, if you watch End of Game plays, you notice that probably less than half the time does the play start with an isolation by Manu or Tony. The reason you have to do this at least some of the time, is that you have to set up the other team for the isolation. You don't always start with the changeup, you gotta throw a few fastballs sometimes to set up your changeup.
Anyway, even on end of game plays that start with as isolation, about half of the time, the isolation is a diversion for a weak-side play. I studied this back in 2008. The Spurs had about 7 end-of-game possessions that year, and on 5 of them they ran a weak side screen off Duncan for Finley or Barry for a baseline 3 pointer, with the play starting as a strong side isolation then pick and roll with Manu and whoever was playing center. Only a couple times did they actually run a true isolation play for the last shot.
Remember in the playoffs against Phoenix in 08 (i think), when Duncan hit the 3 pointer in OT to win? Well to make it to overtime, the Spurs ran a play for Finley at the end of regulation which was a strong side isolation diversion with a weak side screen for Fin. And he made it.
I guess the most famous iso was when Manu beat Denver 2 years ago then got the offensive foul at the end on Carmello. But if you check out end of game plays by Pop over the last several years, you will find a weak-side screen play run at least as often as an isolation play.
It's like Dennis Hopper in HOOSIERS, running the ole picket fence at 'em.
I gotta believe that Pop would prefer a league that still relies on two-handed set shots and underhand free-throws. He goes with the flow and is probably the best in the league right now, but the man is definitely Old School.
when you have Parker/Ginobili at the top of the key or Duncan posting up while looking for an open teammate isn't. who's the hero in that instance? not the superstars.
i'd be shocked if Pop didn't draw out the play and tell each player where to be and the designated PG how to drive. the difference between the Spurs and Lakers/Heat is that 99.9% of the time when their superstars have the ball, the coach puts in players who stretch the floor and just tell them to stand around while the superstar takes the shot.
there's no comparison to the 2.
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