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  #1  
Old 07-23-09, 10:12 AM
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A Return to Spurs-like Defense

With the additions of Richard Jefferson and Antonio McDyess, as well as several young frontcourt players, my hope is that we will see a return to Spurs-like defense, where we limit high percentage shots and suffocate opposing teams again.

Two years ago, with Manu's injury, I felt that we lacked the offensive firepower to defend our title. Last year, we scored more points in the playoffs despite our lack of depth, but it was the WORST Spurs defensive team that I can remember in the Duncan/Popovich era.

We gave up tons of dunks and layups. 3 point shots went uncontested. We were worst in the league at creating turnovers, and we gave up second chance points too many times at critical junctures in the game. At times, I thought I was watching the Warriors or Suns, instead of the silver and black!

We will only be NBA champions again if we return to playing Spurs defense. Our depth is much better, but outscoring everybody is not our identity.
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Old 07-23-09, 10:16 AM
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The problem with playing Spurs-Like defense is that we are missing a key component.....a Bruce Bowen-type defensive specialist. This doen't mean it can't be done, but it's hard to replace a Bruce Bowen defensive mentality.
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"He said, 'Go for every pump fake,' " Hibbert said.
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Old 07-23-09, 10:30 AM
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Playing Bonner didn't and doesn't help either.
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Old 07-23-09, 10:30 AM
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I'm still hoping that the Spurs can somehow bring Bruce back so he can be apart of this championship ride. If the rumors are true regarding Ratliff then the Spurs would have have to move someone (Bonner) to create a roster spot for BB.
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Old 07-23-09, 10:38 AM
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I doubt the Spurs bring Bruce back. He's not the defender he once was and he can't score. Waste of a roster spot IMO.
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Old 07-23-09, 10:48 AM
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Ratliff would bring an aging center with shot blocking abilities, which is very Spurs-like defense, lol...and as much as I like Bowen I don't think he's got the lateral quickness to guard that first step anymore. I'd like to have him back but that wouldn't give the Spurs suffocating defense. They'd need a guy that can do what Bowen used to be able to do.
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Old 07-23-09, 11:01 AM
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EXCELLENT POINT!!!!!

The defense has been horrible, and I have never been completely happy since Sean left. For quite some time, we have been lacking a player that can gaurd the 3/4 athletic players and the 4/5's that can gaurd the rim.

Jefferson and hopefully Haislip or even Blair should be an improvement guarding 3/4's over Bonner, Finley, and Thomas.

Ian and Ratliff should add they type of shot blocking presence we have lacked for a while, and Haislip will add a shot blocking presence from the wing that we have really never had.

Granted all accept RJ have yet to prove they can do it or in Ratliff's case stay healthy, but I feel good about it.
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Is our defense that good? I think so. And the scary part is that the whole team seems to take a sadistic pride in shutting people down. What is Pop feeding them? They looked brainwashed out there, a single minded machine that just eats up their opponents. -----pjrfan
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Old 07-23-09, 11:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryhn View Post
EXCELLENT POINT!!!!!

The defense has been horrible, and I have never been completely happy since Sean left. For quite some time, we have been lacking a player that can gaurd the 3/4 athletic players and the 4/5's that can gaurd the rim.

Jefferson and hopefully Haislip or even Blair should be an improvement guarding 3/4's over Bonner, Finley, and Thomas.

Ian and Ratliff should add they type of shot blocking presence we have lacked for a while, and Haislip will add a shot blocking presence from the wing that we have really never had.

Granted all accept RJ have yet to prove they can do it or in Ratliff's case stay healthy, but I feel good about it.
I assume you are talking about Sean Elliot??? How could u not be happy? We won 3 titles after Sean left!
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Old 07-23-09, 11:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryhn View Post
The defense has been horrible, and I have never been completely happy since Sean left.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TimmyDthaWay2B View Post
I assume you are talking about Sean Elliot??? How could u not be happy? We won 3 titles after Sean left!
+1
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  #10  
Old 07-23-09, 12:12 PM
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The DEFENSE has to be not only good but GREAT in order for the Spurs to win it all. You know lakers won it all in 09 because of playing great offense and somehow good defense, but that doesn't mean that it is the norm. If the C's were healthy and even the Spurs and even the Rockets stayed healthy they would have eliminated that lakers team IMO.

This coming year it is going to have to be the defensive team will win it all.

This just solidates what the Spurs FO have done so far. And that is becoming more defensive.

Please don't underestimate that RICH JEFFERSON CAN and WILL play good D.d I am pretty sure he will impress some here. I am so excited we got Rich on our team.

Spurs D is going to be top in the league again.
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Old 07-23-09, 12:19 PM
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Just limiting the minutes of Bonner and Finley will improve our defense. Its all upside from here.
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Old 07-23-09, 12:39 PM
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Quote:
I assume you are talking about Sean Elliot??? How could u not be happy? We won 3 titles after Sean left!
I didn't mean unhappy overall, simply from a defensive standpoint. Trust me, Spurs after Sean has been great.. Don't read too much into it.
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Is our defense that good? I think so. And the scary part is that the whole team seems to take a sadistic pride in shutting people down. What is Pop feeding them? They looked brainwashed out there, a single minded machine that just eats up their opponents. -----pjrfan
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  #13  
Old 07-23-09, 01:00 PM
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their 'd' will be upgraded from last year. they won't have the lockdown guy but they will crash the boards like never before and with jefferson they upgrade over fin's d. plus with hill getting more minutes and mcdyss and ratliff our inside presence will be much improved.
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  #14  
Old 07-23-09, 01:17 PM
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I think Hill has shown he can be the next Bowen-type defender. What we need are our bigs to scare people from attacking the baskets. Bonner wouldn't scare me and I suck at basketball. Also... rebounding should be greatly improved and should limit opposing team's second chance points.
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Old 07-23-09, 01:48 PM
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Shot blocking, rebounding and a big man to really help/spell Tim (not since DROB IMO) have all been less than stellar the past few years. All the new pieces acquired add something to Pop's defensive schemes. Let's face it, the Spurs aren't going to become some kind of "run and gun" team. This is Pop we are talking about. Defense is much better and has the potential to be very dominating Bruce Bowen or not.

They have really busted the bank for the first time I can ever really remember,(That's is so HUGE and so un-Spur like I'm still in shock, we are in the luxury tax in a huge way...no precedent for it ever) Added new and young players, new experienced vets and more loe post bigs that I can recall. Summer league went well. No they don't have a Bruce Bowen or BB type player but not even the Lakers/Celtics do as far as I'm concerned. Bruce was always the exception and few NBA players exist to become "defensive specialists" nor do it that well.

It's time for training camp and preseason and for Pop to pull this team together and get it on the same page. RC and Holt did great, the purse strings were destroyed. Blair, Ian, Ratcliff, RJ, a healthy Manu, Tony (the most underrated PG in the NBA) and the bedrock that Tim brings and all the other usual suspects. Unless you got KB/LBJ for the vet minimum, this was a superb off season.

Only injuries and health could prevent what I think will be one of the most interesting and dynamic Spurs teams to watch since 2003.

Nope. I can't anticipate any fears or anxieties about this team in the slightest. It's time to kick some ass and we have announced to the NBA to 'get ready'. Dismiss the Spurs with "Too old", "lost a step", boring usual hyperbole at your own risk.
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Old 07-23-09, 02:41 PM
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You actually can't blame the second chance points. IIRC, the 2008-2009 Spurs had one of the best defensive rebounding rates of the whole decade.

You're right about the defense being bad, though.
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Old 07-23-09, 03:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryhn View Post
EXCELLENT POINT!!!!!

The defense has been horrible, and I have never been completely happy since Sean left.
That's not correct. The Spurs have had great defensive teams post Sean, in particular most of the years they won championships.
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  #18  
Old 07-23-09, 03:53 PM
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Originally Posted by ProjectGSX View Post
Just limiting the minutes of Bonner and Finley will improve our defense. Its all upside from here.
Exactly. Pop's not exactly working with the best raw material there for defense. It's like trying to make a nuclear warhead, only substituting toe cheese for the enriched uranium.
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Old 07-23-09, 04:13 PM
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Let's see, how do I put this? Having a lock-down guy is a bit overrated in my opinion. Yes, Bruce hounded the other teams best guard relentlessly. Yes, he made the game difficult for them. But in the end, the guy, especially Kobe, would still end up with 20+ or 30+ points. Great offense always trumps great defense, individually at least. It was mostly the Spurs great team defense that won titles.

And why was this possible? Because that same guard who Bruce was defending, had the luxury of coming back on defense and sitting at the arc "guarding" Bruce. So that player did not have to expend any energy on the defensive.

With the team we have now, no one has that luxury any more. Now they have to try and get free from a Manu or Jefferson (underrated defensively), have to out-quick Tony, or muscle down low with Tim, Blair or McD. Then they still have to guard them. I'd say, on paper, its the most balanced team we have had in awhile.
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Old 07-23-09, 04:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uwe Blab View Post
Let's see, how do I put this? Having a lock-down guy is a bit overrated in my opinion. Yes, Bruce hounded the other teams best guard relentlessly. Yes, he made the game difficult for them. But in the end, the guy, especially Kobe, would still end up with 20+ or 30+ points. Great offense always trumps great defense, individually at least. It was mostly the Spurs great team defense that won titles.

And why was this possible? Because that same guard who Bruce was defending, had the luxury of coming back on defense and sitting at the arc "guarding" Bruce. So that player did not have to expend any energy on the defensive.

With the team we have now, no one has that luxury any more. Now they have to try and get free from a Manu or Jefferson (underrated defensively), have to out-quick Tony, or muscle down low with Tim, Blair or McD. Then they still have to guard them. I'd say, on paper, its the most balanced team we have had in awhile.

I can't agree. I don't know why you would downplay what Bruce brought to the Spurs. Apparently, Pop liked him and Bruce was a key member of 3 of the Spurs championship teams. If he sucked or was over-rated, Pop would not have had him starting for as long as he did.
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Hibbert, who worked out with Duncan in San Antonio during the lockout, said he has grown close to the perennial All-Star. On Friday, he texted Duncan and asked how he should guard him.

"He said, 'Go for every pump fake,' " Hibbert said.
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Old 07-23-09, 05:05 PM
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Even though it may seem complicated the Spurs defense is based on the premise of "filtering" opposing players along the baseline where a dominant post presense is their to greet the oncoming player.

This worked great when...
1) the perimeter defender had the ability to force the direction.
2) the post players had the athletic abiltiy to switch and defend.

When the Spurs lost the services of Willis/Mohamed/Horry they lost Duncan's effective side kick in the post to defend the weak side.

Our best perimeter defenders Bowen and Manu were non-existent last year due to age and injury and it seemed that their replacements for that role (though not doing all that bad of a job) simply couldn't keep up like a healthier Manu or younger Bowen.

With the additions so far this year in both the post and perimeter players along with (hopefully) a healthy Manu....we will see the resurgence of Spurs defense as well as a more productive offense.
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Old 07-23-09, 05:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Uwe Blab View Post
Let's see, how do I put this? Having a lock-down guy is a bit overrated in my opinion. Yes, Bruce hounded the other teams best guard relentlessly. Yes, he made the game difficult for them. But in the end, the guy, especially Kobe, would still end up with 20+ or 30+ points. Great offense always trumps great defense, individually at least. It was mostly the Spurs great team defense that won titles.

And why was this possible? Because that same guard who Bruce was defending, had the luxury of coming back on defense and sitting at the arc "guarding" Bruce. So that player did not have to expend any energy on the defensive.

With the team we have now, no one has that luxury any more. Now they have to try and get free from a Manu or Jefferson (underrated defensively), have to out-quick Tony, or muscle down low with Tim, Blair or McD. Then they still have to guard them. I'd say, on paper, its the most balanced team we have had in awhile.
The 2003 team was great too. Robinson and Malik at center. MVP Duncan at PF, swings S-Jax, Manu and Bowen, PG's Parker and Speedy.
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  #23  
Old 07-23-09, 05:06 PM
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I blame Matt Bonner.
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Old 07-23-09, 05:22 PM
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That's not correct. The Spurs have had great defensive teams post Sean, in particular most of the years they won championships.
Umm..., yes it was correct.

LATELY, the defense has been horrible. By the all star break last year the spurs defense was in the bottom half for opponent fg%, so yes I am right, (lately) their defense has stunk.

I have never been totally happy with our ability to defend tall athletic 3's since Sean left...again that is a fact, I have not been happy. Maybe you have been, but not me.
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Is our defense that good? I think so. And the scary part is that the whole team seems to take a sadistic pride in shutting people down. What is Pop feeding them? They looked brainwashed out there, a single minded machine that just eats up their opponents. -----pjrfan
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Old 07-23-09, 05:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Twilite Kid View Post
I blame Matt Bonner.
I am still waiting for someone to start an "I hate Bonner" thread!
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  #26  
Old 07-23-09, 06:40 PM
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I think those 2 guys are going to be trade bait or moved at the allstar break. Unless they have a sick first half of the season!
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  #27  
Old 07-23-09, 07:01 PM
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Originally Posted by dark21horse View Post
I can't agree. I don't know why you would downplay what Bruce brought to the Spurs. Apparently, Pop liked him and Bruce was a key member of 3 of the Spurs championship teams. If he sucked or was over-rated, Pop would not have had him starting for as long as he did.
Ok, I had a feeling this would upset someone. I did not mean to say Bruce was overrated, I think the idea of a one dimensional defensive specialist is overrated. Bruce WAS great for us, he helped us win. But no one is a true "stopper". And no one can deny that guarding Bruce, or any other offensively challenged specialist, did not require much.
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Old 07-23-09, 08:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryhn View Post
Umm..., yes it was correct.

LATELY, the defense has been horrible. By the all star break last year the spurs defense was in the bottom half for opponent fg%, so yes I am right, (lately) their defense has stunk.
This past year the defense has not been up to snuff, but I'm referring to your implication that the Spurs have not had great defensive teams since Sean left. What teams were you watching? The Spurs won their championships with their defense and they had the best defensive team in the league at various times after Sean left.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Uwe Blab View Post
Ok, I had a feeling this would upset someone. I did not mean to say Bruce was overrated, I think the idea of a one dimensional defensive specialist is overrated. Bruce WAS great for us, he helped us win. But no one is a true "stopper".
That's right that no one is a true stopper but Bruce reduced the efficiency of the great scorers he guarded and that was of an immeasurable benefit to the Spurs.

Last edited by maldoror; 07-23-09 at 08:31 PM.
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Old 07-23-09, 09:12 PM
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This past year the defense has not been up to snuff, but I'm referring to your implication that the Spurs have not had great defensive teams since Sean left. What teams were you watching? The Spurs won their championships with their defense and they had the best defensive team in the league at various times after Sean left.
I did not mean to imply that they have not been a great defensive team since Sean left. Obviously they have, but not lately.... So, let me clarify. While Bowen is a great defender, he has had difficulty at times with larger small forwards on the block and that have length. Since Sean left, I have always felt the Spurs could make life easier with a more prototypical SF. Since Finley has arrived, he has taken a large portion of the minutes at SF, and I think that has been a big reason for the downfall in spurs defense along with not having a legit center that is able to guard the rim when Tim gets pulled away from the basket on P&R situations. Richard Jefferson seems to have a little more length than we have had since maybe Stephen Jackson. He also has a bit more strength. With the additions of Ian, Ratliff, and Haislip, I feel like we have much more of a shot blocking presence since we had a younger Tim, Nazr, and a more spry Horry. Since then, we have had to watch Finley try and guard the perimeter with only Bonner helping Tim. I feel like this is a Spurs team that is trying to get back to that defensive focus that has been missing IMHO for about the past two years.
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Is our defense that good? I think so. And the scary part is that the whole team seems to take a sadistic pride in shutting people down. What is Pop feeding them? They looked brainwashed out there, a single minded machine that just eats up their opponents. -----pjrfan
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  #30  
Old 07-23-09, 10:18 PM
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StNick, I agree about George Hill. I think he has the potential to become an all-world defender like Bruce Bowen.

The stats about the Spurs being the NBA's best defensive rebounding team is misleading, because during crunch time, under 3 minutes we were awful at stopping second chance buckets. I saw us lose several games and have others become close at the end due to that. In the playoffs against Dallas, I was just shocked that a Spurs team could play such terrible defense!

Last year's team was not just old legs and limited athleticism, but POOR EXECUTION of Spurs defensive principles. Guys from the past like Bones Barry, Rasho, Nazr Muhammad and Steve Kerr weren't great perimeter defenders but they played our defensive scheme well. On the other hand, Drew Gooden, a decent athlete looked lost many times on defense. We blew rotations, trapped poorly and were often out of position. Bonner is useless on defense! Yes, he has no hops, but the real issue is that he doesn't know how to use his fairly big body for spacing to get rebounds even though he hustles on the court. Finley is just too slow for the guys on the perimeter. Even Kurt Thomas and Oberto were pathetic on defense at times and they're smart enough to know better.

Athleticism will help us generate turnovers but we really need to be smarter about staying true to our team defense scheme. We didn't do that well last year. I was yelling at the tube for much of last year because Pop stuck with veterans. I'd rather see George Hill and Malik Hairston screw up on D and learn from it, rather than watch Finley, Gooden and Oberto look like statues or dear in the headlights on defense.
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  #31  
Old 07-23-09, 10:35 PM
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Nazr Mohammad never caught on to the Spurs defensive scheme, even after 2 years with the club. That's why he's GONE. He missed assignment after assignment his first year, which was somewhat understandable, but he wasn't any better his second year. He also had that injury thing, but it was his lack of understanding of our defensive scheme that caused his downfall.
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  #32  
Old 07-23-09, 11:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uwe Blab View Post
Let's see, how do I put this? Having a lock-down guy is a bit overrated in my opinion. Yes, Bruce hounded the other teams best guard relentlessly. Yes, he made the game difficult for them. But in the end, the guy, especially Kobe, would still end up with 20+ or 30+ points. Great offense always trumps great defense, individually at least. It was mostly the Spurs great team defense that won titles.
That's usually fine.
If you also see that he took 20+-30+ shots.

I remember plenty of Spur victories over the lakers where kobe scored 24 points... on 29 shots. It's when Kobe scores 24 points on 16 shots, or 16 points with 8 assists that the < insert team here > will almost always lose.

You won't stop Kobe if he REALLY wants to score that night. What you want to do is take him out of the team concept. That's when he's vulnerable.

Great team defense usually starts with a couple great defenders.
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  #33  
Old 07-24-09, 01:23 AM
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D was off last year YES! ANOTHER THING some fail to admit in here we lived and died by the three ball! That is a recipe for failure, when you have to jack up 20 or so a game and hope they fall to win you are toast! Thats our team last year, no slashers really outside of Tony (Manu hurt) and too many old slow three shooters or just spot up like Mason, otherwise? We were not a very good team last year.
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  #34  
Old 07-24-09, 06:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Seventyniner View Post
You actually can't blame the second chance points. IIRC, the 2008-2009 Spurs had one of the best defensive rebounding rates of the whole decade.

You're right about the defense being bad, though.
Last year the Spurs were dead last in offense RR though, and right in the middle at 15th at ovarall Rebound Rate.
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Old 07-24-09, 06:46 PM
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Last year the Spurs were dead last in offense RR though, and right in the middle at 15th at ovarall Rebound Rate.
1st in defensive RR and last in offensive RR...sounds like a problem with the coaching, not the players. Pop was sending everyone back on defense, which gives up fewer transition points, but sacrifices offensive rebounding.
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Old 07-24-09, 07:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Seventyniner View Post
1st in defensive RR and last in offensive RR...sounds like a problem with the coaching, not the players. Pop was sending everyone back on defense, which gives up fewer transition points, but sacrifices offensive rebounding.
Well...kind of. It was more of a case that too many Spurs were on the perimeter shooting 3 point to long distance shots leaving no one in the paint/post area to garnish misses.

That will change this year due to the additions they have made and not having too many players out on the perimeter.

That + this team will be more athletic to get back and defend the break.

We should see a decrease in defensive rebounds and increase in offensive rebounds. Mostly because we will probably see less missed shots and/or put back possesions on the offensive side which will lead to less offensive possibilities for the other team.

That would be great.
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Old 07-24-09, 07:19 PM
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I'm still hoping that the Spurs can somehow bring Bruce back so he can be apart of this championship ride. If the rumors are true regarding Ratliff then the Spurs would have have to move someone (Bonner) to create a roster spot for BB.
We should bring Bruce back..............
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Old 07-24-09, 07:20 PM
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As a coach
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Old 07-25-09, 12:18 AM
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Although the topic is defense, you guys are so right about the Spurs taking way too many 3 pointers; it could be a thread by itself. 3 point-shooting teams do NOT win championships. They don't draw fouls and it speaks to a lack of toughness for playoff basketball. That was certainly us last year. The Mavs didn't even field a great team in the first round; that's just how bad the Spurs looked last year.

Folks get on Matt Bonner for not being athletic. I get on him, Mason, Finley, Udoka et al for DISAPPEARING COMPLETELY in the playoffs. They could have made a fortune bricklaying! The younger versions of Kerr, Barry, Horry and Bowen could be counted on for big buckets in big games. Aside from Duncan and Parker, the rest of the team failed miserably, although George Hill did show some spark late in the series when Pop finally gave him a chance.
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