20-Second Timeout: April 2011

Follow the team all season long with the 20-Second Timeout blog by Bill Schoening, The Radio Voice of the Spurs for the past 10 years. Bill has over 30 years of play-by-play experience including broadcasting Major League Baseball, the NFL and the NBA. *Timeout Archive: October 10 | November 10 | December 10 | January 11 | February 11 | March 11

Neal Nails It
by Bill Schoening | April 28, 2011

After Manu Ginobili hit one of the most improbable shots in recent NBA playoff history, it is Gary Neal who ends up #1 on every highlight show around the country...and for good reason.

Neal showed tremendous poise with a playoff series...and a season...on the line. He readily admitted that this was the biggest shot of his career, even though he hit some big ones at LaSalle and Towson, and in Italy, Turkey and Spain.

On a humid night in Mexico City back in October, Neal hit a game winner in a preseason game against the LA Clippers. Ironically, the play was drawn up by Ginobili during a previous timeout. So this wasn't the first time Manu set the table for Gary Neal.

Both times, Neal nailed it.

Resolve Being Tested
by Bill Schoening | April 27, 2011

Tim Duncan
(D. Clarke Evans/Getty Images)
Tim Duncan admitted that he was using a cliché when he said "one game at a time" following Monday night's game 4 loss at Memphis.

By now you have probably seen the statistic that tells us only eight teams in NBA history have ever come back from a 3-1 deficit in a playoff series. The Spurs can't worry about any of that right now. Their sole focus is trying to figure out how to win one game, Wednesday's game 5 at the AT&T Center.

Duncan says it will take a full 48 minute game, something the Spurs couldn't muster in game 4. The Spurs haven't played their "A" game yet in this series. Wednesday night would be a great time for it.

Trailing in a Series Nothing New
by Bill Schoening | April 19, 2011

(D. Clarke Evans/Getty Images)
Being down 0-1 in a playoff series is not foreign territory to the San Antonio Spurs. Sunday afternoon's 101-98 loss in the opener against Memphis marks the sixth straight series the Spurs suffered a loss in game one.

The Spurs went on to win three of the previous five series where this has occurred.

For those of you who are extremely optimistic ponder this interesting note: in the past three title runs, the Spurs have dropped the opener in round one each time. In '03 against Phoenix, and in '05 and '07 against Denver. The '11 team knows it has drawn an aggressive and physical opponent. Respect for the foe is not an issue.

The word "adjustment" is never used more in sportscasting than it is between games one and two of a series, and we are sure to see a few tweaks from both coaches for Wednesday night.

Hill, Neal Ready To Fill In
by Bill Schoening | April 15, 2011

George Hill & Gary Neal
(Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
The MRI results on star guard Manu Ginobili revealed a sprained right elbow, and even though Ginobili is listed as doubtful for game one against Memphis, this could be worse.

First, the injury is to Manu's right arm- we all know that Manu is a lefty.

Secondly, Game 2 in the Memphis series isn't scheduled until Wednesday, giving Ginobili a few more days to rehabilitate the elbow.

Thirdly, there is the depth the Spurs have at the position.

Even though George Hill is the backup point guard, he can easily slide over and play the two (which he does quite often). Gary Neal has repeatedly shown this season that he will play with confidence in tough spots, and even though he is a rookie about to enter his first NBA postseason, Neal's international experience, maturity, and his extended minutes at times during the regular season should serve him well. He is a first year player who isn't a typical rookie.

Let's be honest, the Spurs need Ginobili on the floor for a variety of reasons, but they are not about to throw in the towel if he has to miss a game or two.

Strong Hoops Roots Help Hill
by Bill Schoening | April 7, 2011

George Hill
(Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Before he went out and hit 8 of his first 9 shots from the floor and led the Spurs to a 114-97 win over the Phoenix Suns, guard George Hill was told by his head coach (and fellow Indiana native Gregg Popovich) to play like "Indiana George". Hill says that means to go and play aggressive ball and enjoy himself and play with a smile.

Hill came within one point of his career high as he took Pop's advice to heart.

Hill has assumed the role once held by Manu Ginobili - the energy guy off the bench who can impact the game in a variety of ways. Hill comes from a city that is entrenched in basketball history and tradition.

Other Indy natives currently in the NBA include Eric Gordon, Mike Conley, Courtney Lee, Greg Oden, Josh McRoberts and Gordon Hayward, so Hill has plenty of competition when he travels home in the summertime.

Hill will be an important piece of the Spurs playoff puzzle, especially if he plays like "Indiana George", or as I like to call him, "Indy G."