20 Second Timeout: Bill Schoening Blog - June 2013

Bill Schoening's :20 Timeout

Follow the team all season long with the 20-Second Timeout blog by Bill Schoening, The Radio Voice of the Spurs for the past 12 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 | April 11 | December 11 | January 12 | February 12 | March 12 | April 12 | May 12 | October 12 | November 12 | December 12 | January 13 | February 13 | March 13 | April 13 | May 13 | June 13

Proud of the Silver and Black
by Bill Schoening | June 21, 2013
Tim Duncan, Tony Parker
(Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty Images)

No, the Spurs aren't returning from South Beach with the Larry O'Brien trophy, but they may have captured the hearts of basketball fans coast to coast with their inspired play throughout the NBA playoffs, and especially during the epic 7 game series in the NBA Finals.

I have many friends from different parts of the country who started paying attention to the team in the postseason, and they liked what they saw.

Unselfish, team oriented basketball was on display, with crisp passing and ball movement, hard nosed defense and a team chemistry that serves as the foundation.

I have been privileged to witness and describe the Spurs' exploits for a dozen years, and I don't take it for granted, because there have been very few franchises in any sport with the consistency and class the Spurs exhibit year in and year out.

Focus solely on Game 7
by Bill Schoening | June 20, 2013
Coach Pop, Tim Duncan
(Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty Images)

A number of years ago I wrote a song called " Gotta Stop."

The tune was written in the first person as I had to remind myself to appreciate all that I have and not fret over negative things that may have happened in my past. The reason I mention this is because this is where the Spurs are for Game 7.

A line in the chorus rings especially true,"The more you dwell on it, the more it lingers".

Tonight the Spurs will put Game 6 in the rear view mirror and focus solely on the task at hand.

If there is any team in the NBA with the mental toughness to bounce back, it's this team.

They are focused, ready and poised. One game for the title. The Spurs are locked in!

What a ride
by Bill Schoening | June 17, 2013
Kawhi Leonard
(D. Clarke Evans/NBAE/Getty Images)

When this season started, I had a feeling the 2012-13 campaign could be special, but I had no idea what to really expect.

Very few of the national "experts" had the Spurs winning the Western Conference, but then the Spurs had become an afterthought in the minds of many outside of South Texas.

Was I guilty of being overly optimistic by entertaining the notion that the team that had such an impressive playoff run in 2012 could have an encore performance in 2013?

Perhaps, but I had seen them do it so many times before. I also figured the supporting cast gained valuable experience last season.

So here we are in Miami..the Spurs have a 15-4 record in the playoffs and they are one win away from a fifth NBA title.

I remain optimistic, and for good reason!

Neal nails it
by Bill Schoening | June 12, 2013
Mike Budenholzer
(Joe Murphy/NBAE/Getty Images)

In Game 3 of the NBA Finals, Spurs guard Gary Neal enjoyed the spotlight moment of his career, and to say he took a long and winding road to get here would be an understatement.

After averaging 25 points per game his senior year at Towson, Neal was not drafted, but the 6'4" guard with the deft shooting touch was not about to give up on his dream.

His professional career began with Pinar Karsiyaka in Turkey, then it was off to Barcelona, Spain, Benetton Treviso in Italy and then back to Spain for a 10 game stint with Unicaja Malaga.

After playing well for three seasons in Europe, Neal earned an invitation to play for the Spurs Summer League team in Las Vegas, where he impressed the Spurs brass so much he was signed on the spot.

Neal made the NBA all rookie team in 2010-11, and has been a solid performer off the bench since his arrival. Tuesday night, Neal put all those dusty bus and train rides in Turkey, Spain and Italy, and all those smoke filled arenas behind him as he scored a career playoff high 24 points to help the Spurs take a 2-1 series lead.

Neal's story is one of dedication and hard work, an example of the good things that can happen when a person stays focused on a dream and pays ample dues to get there.

Bud's Focus Solely on the Finals
by Bill Schoening | June 10, 2013
Mike Budenholzer
(Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty Images)

He has been an important part of the Spurs' staff for 19 seasons, 17 of which he has been an assistant coach under Gregg Popovich.

Just over a week ago he achieved a career objective when he was named the new head coach of the Atlanta Hawks, where he will work closely with Hawks GM Danny Ferry, a former Spurs' player and executive.

Mike Budenholzer, however, is putting the Atlanta job on the back burner for now. The 43 year basketball lifer, known as "Coach Bud" told me in Miami last week, "It's a great opportunity and I'm looking forward to it, but my sole focus right now is on the Finals. This is where I am and my job right now is to help our guys."

Budenholzer can be seen nightly, sitting right next to Pop on the Spurs' bench, an extra set of eyes and ears.

Soon it will be his turn to call the shots, but right now he is set on doing what he has done for nearly two decades and that is do all he can to help the Spurs win.

South Beach Stumble
by Bill Schoening | June 7, 2013

It was not exactly the way Gregg Popovich drew it up, and it was not a work of art, but beauty is in the eye of the beholder and Tony Parker's midrange leaner from the right wing could not have been prettier to those who pull for the Silver and Black.

Parker's shot that hit the backboard and the front of the rim before dropping through the net with 5.2 seconds remaining in the 4th quartergave the Spurs a four point lead and sealed the Game 1 victory.

Parker cut to his right behind a screen, slipped, regained his balance, slipped again, fell to a knee (insert Curly Neal/Harlem Globetrotter joke here) regained his footing, slipped under a lunging LeBron James, and then released the game clincher with a fraction of a nanosecond left on the shot clock.

With all apologies to good friend and colleague Sean Elliott, "The South Beach Stumble" may one day rank right up there with the "Memorial Day Miracle".