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Old 02-22-06, 09:55 PM
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Spurs Light-Hearted, But Focused, Heading in to Stretch Run

I know this article is a day old, but still some good stuff.

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Spurs Light-Hearted, But Focused, Heading in to Stretch Run

February 21, 2006 | 3:29pm | Greg Ruder


The Spurs are back in the swing of things after the All-Star Break with a full practice yesterday and a shoot-around this morning before tonight’s match-up with the Seattle Supersonics. Here are some sound bytes from the two practice sessions of the last two days. First some fun stuff, then some serious stuff…

Steve Kerr mentioned in the third quarter of the All-Star Game when Tony Parker had three straight turnovers that Pop must be watching at home and throwing things at the television. Pop’s response: “I was relaxing at home…watching one film (on one t.v.) and watching the game (on another t.v.), just getting ready for today’s practice. But I did notice the turnovers,” he said with a laugh.

Anyone who watched the entire All-Star Game, including the player introductions, saw Tim Duncan showcase some of his dance moves during the introductions. A reporter asked Bruce Bowen if he taught Tim those moves, and this is what Bruce had to say: “You should see Tim in the club! No, I didn’t teach him that stuff. That’s 80’s…you don’t have the learn how to do that!”

Nick Van Exel talked to the media after shoot-around this morning. He was asked how he felt after the long break, and he added his jokes to the media. “It’s unbelievable…they gave us maps to the AT&T Center before practice today, so hopefully we’ll be able to make it to the game tonight!”

And finally, Pop had some choice, but sarcastic, words for Mavericks Coach Avery Johnson. The San Antonio media talked to Avery at this weekend’s All-Star Game, and Avery told them that Pop doesn’t talk to him and doesn’t give him coaching tips anymore. “He’s a turn-coat! Talk about a guy who just turns around and sticks it to ya!” The Mavericks passed up the Spurs in the last two games before the All-Star Break to take the Western Conference’s best record into the break. “I only talk to Cassandra (Avery’s wife). I don’t talk to him. I tell her to tell him hi, and that’s about it. I’ll talk to the kids, but I’m not talking to Avery! He’s got that team too darn good!”

On a more serious note, the Spurs understand that they are heading into the stretch run of the season. Historically the Spurs have been a second-half team, but as Pop mentions, we are well past the half-way point of the season. “I don’t know if it is like this every year, but there are only 30 games left in the season. Everybody just kind of assumes the All-Star Break is the half-way point, but this is way past that. I think it used to be about half-way, but this year it’s sort of like coming into the homestretch.”

“I think it’s going to be a heck of a race (down the stretch). I think Dallas is been the most consistent team in the West and has played the best of anybody. I think we have a ways to go…we have some improving to do to get this job done. Avery gets a lot of the credit (for the Mavericks’ success). I couldn’t be more thrilled for the guy.”

“Three areas we need to work on right nowrebounding…we’ve got to pick it up in that area. Taking care of and valuing the basketball I think has been a problem for us in losses…it’s always a common theme when we lose a game. And thirdly would be discipline in some ways…we need to be disciplined in our execution…need more discipline in our 5-man communication on offense and defense. I think we need to focus and have a little more sense of purpose in that area.”

http://www.nba.com/spurs/news/daily_blog.html
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Old 02-23-06, 03:06 AM
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When Pop says, "We need more discipline," we know what that means.

No more screwing around. This is the stretch run, and we have a real battle on our hands this year for HCA in the West, and possibly in the Finals.

If Tim stays healthy and the foot doesn't act up too badly, I like our chances for both. And I think Finley will be a key - if he shoots like he's supposed to, it will be a huge lift for us.
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