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alh1020 11-14-12 01:47 PM

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.

<iframe src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/Nq74rdiOsPk" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="332" width="590"></iframe>

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.

Related link: Report: Heat now on top of Kenyon Martin?s list | ProBasketballTalk

Eddy from Austin 11-14-12 02:11 PM

Pop teaching the Lakers a lesson. :worthy

choppsboy 11-14-12 02:49 PM

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.

Uwe Blab 11-14-12 03:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by choppsboy (Post 1287061)
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.

Exactly. The play call is a result of TD, Manu and Parker being unable to isolate and score anymore.

spurscrazed 11-14-12 03:45 PM

TIMMMMMAY!

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!
:hat

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!

Jose_TheGenius 11-14-12 04:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by choppsboy (Post 1287061)
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.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Uwe Blab (Post 1287066)
Exactly. The play call is a result of TD, Manu and Parker being unable to isolate and score anymore.

i think hero ball is described more like a superstar at the top of the key and getting a screen or finding a way to create their own shot somehow, something you see Lebron/Kobe/Wade do a lot. the difference with the Spurs is, while Manu/TP may get a screen, Pop has guys in there that are there to take the shot if they're open without hesitation (like Mason a few times, Finley, Bowen even). i think that's the big difference. when Lebron gets an iso on the top and passes to an open role player, it most likely wasn't drawn up that way. i'm sure Pop draws up a play where he gives it to a star and the role players are equally involved in taking the game winning shot.

spurduncan21 11-14-12 06:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by spurscrazed (Post 1287068)
TIMMMMMAY!


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 :)

grizzly_bexar 11-14-12 06:34 PM

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.

Uwe Blab 11-14-12 07:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jose_TheGenius (Post 1287070)
i think hero ball is described more like a superstar at the top of the key and getting a screen or finding a way to create their own shot somehow, something you see Lebron/Kobe/Wade do a lot. the difference with the Spurs is, while Manu/TP may get a screen, Pop has guys in there that are there to take the shot if they're open without hesitation (like Mason a few times, Finley, Bowen even). i think that's the big difference. when Lebron gets an iso on the top and passes to an open role player, it most likely wasn't drawn up that way. i'm sure Pop draws up a play where he gives it to a star and the role players are equally involved in taking the game winning shot.

In the glory days, there were three plays at the end of a game: 4 down where Timmy backed his player down and either scored or dished, Manu at the top of the key where he penetrated and either scored or assisted (i.e. game 6 against the Sonics that one year), and TP at the top of the key doing the same thing. And that was because 90% of the time they could get the job done themselves. Now, you have lots more player movement before the inbound, and even more after, all the while anyone could be the number one option. And I think that's a direct result of those guys not being as much of a threat all by themselves anymore.

grizzly_bexar 11-14-12 10:23 PM

That's probably true, then the fact that none of these guys is able to completely dominate his defender makes teamwork a necessity.

Guapo 11-15-12 02:58 AM

DEFENCE ladies and gents, wins championships!

old timer 11-15-12 07:30 AM

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.

JuanCaca 11-15-12 09:18 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by old timer (Post 1287097)
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.

THIS, is what i was about to post :-)

Money4Nothing 11-15-12 11:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by choppsboy (Post 1287061)
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.


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.

$

mckennaspur1 11-15-12 11:59 AM

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.

Jose_TheGenius 11-15-12 12:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Uwe Blab (Post 1287087)
In the glory days, there were three plays at the end of a game: 4 down where Timmy backed his player down and either scored or dished, Manu at the top of the key where he penetrated and either scored or assisted (i.e. game 6 against the Sonics that one year), and TP at the top of the key doing the same thing. And that was because 90% of the time they could get the job done themselves. Now, you have lots more player movement before the inbound, and even more after, all the while anyone could be the number one option. And I think that's a direct result of those guys not being as much of a threat all by themselves anymore.

the concept of "hero ball" isn't the guy at the top of the key, it's what the play is. when you have Lebron or Wade or Kobe at the top of the key, them taking the last shot and forcing it without looking around is hero ball.

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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