20 Second Timeout: Bill Schoening Blog

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 13 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 | October 13 | November 13 | December 13 | January 14 | February 14

Spurs Bench Getting National Love
by Bill Schoening | March 26, 2014

Spurs Bench

We must be getting close to playoff time. My email inbox and cellphone voicemail box are filling up with interview requests from regional and national radio stations and networks wanting me to wax poetic on the success of the Spurs.

I will never complain about this because I am grateful that I work with such a successful team. I am well aware that there are many of my colleagues around the NBA don't get calls this time of year because their teams are not in the playoff hunt. The other day I had the privilege of appearing on the "Under Center" show on NBC radio hosted by former NFL quarterbacks Donovan McNabb and Mark Malone.

I have appeared on their program several times in the past and they know hoops. (McNabb played some point guard at Syracuse during his college days). McNabb is among a growing number of nationally syndicated talk show hosts who have specifically asked about the impact of the Spurs' bench.

It has become the hot topic on a handful of national shows I have done in the past two weeks. The questions are amusing to me. "Who is this Patty Mills guy?" "Where did the Spurs find Marco Belinelli?" and "Has Manu Ginobili rediscovered the fountain of youth?".

The important aspect of this is that the most productive reserve unit in the NBA is finally getting some much deserved attention from the national media, and that's a good thing. Afterall, the Spurs wouldn't be where they are with the "Foreign Legion".

As Marco would say, "Bellisimo"

Patty Mills The X-Factor
by Bill Schoening | March 20, 2014

Patty Mills

With the Spurs' recent winning streak and ascent to first place in the Western Conference, I have heard national and local talk show hosts and analysts debate about whether this year's Spurs squad is actually better than the team that fell in seven games to the Miami Heat in the 2013 NBA Finals.

While the personnel hasn't changed that much, there is one Spur from last year's team who has made a huge impact, and that is backup point guard Patty Mills.

During a critical two month stretch of the season when the Spurs were fighting injuries to key players, Mills was there to provide energy, leadership, and scoring. His offseason conditioning program has allowed him to play heavier minutes and has improved his ability to defend.

I sat down with Mills before the Laker game in L.A. on Wednesday night, and he was upbeat and positive as always.

"We know where we want to be at the end of the season", says the five year veteran from Canberra, Australia, "In the back of our minds we remember last year and that fuels and motivates us. The most important thing is that we stay on the same page both on and off the court. No matter who we play, every game is important. We must keep that mental attitude."

Spoken like a focused team player who is ready to play each night both mentally and physically.

Health, Focus and Consistency
by Bill Schoening | March 11, 2014

Manu Ginobili

After weathering an injury storm that took key players out of the lineup for an extended period, the Spurs are now trying to find a consistent rhythm for the final month of the regular season.

I sat down with veteran guard Manu Ginobili and asked him to look ahead to what the team would like to accomplish during the upcoming stretch run.

"We have to be more solid for the entire 48 minutes", says Ginobili, "In some games we finished much better than the way we started. We have to remain focused and active and make sure we respect all of our opponents. It would be important to get the #1 seed but the most important thing is that we are healthy, that's more important than the top seed."

Ginobili is often considered an X factor for the Spurs, and the leader of the most productive reserve unit in the NBA. The Spurs bench is averaging nearly 45 points per game, and with Boris Diaw, Marco Belinelli and Patty Mills, the second unit has been instrumental to the team's success.

Their production allows head coach Gregg Popovich to monitor the minutes played by Tim Duncan and Tony Parker. Keeping those guys fresh for the playoffs could bode well for the Spurs moving forward. Health, focus and consistency- it's hard to disagree with Manu's assessment.

Sharing a Priority
by Bill Schoening | March 5, 2014

Danny Green
(David Liam Kyle/NBAE/Getty Images)

Prior to Tuesday night's game in Cleveland, I sat down with veteran NBA center Spencer Hawes, who was recently acquired by the Cavaliers in a trade from Philadelphia. Hawes is not only a solid player, but hosts an offseason sports talk show in his hometown of Seattle, so he follows the league closely.

When I inquired about the main keys to the game for the Cavs, he was effusive in his praise for the Spurs.

"They are like a well oiled machine. It's not about stopping or containing one player. They just have so many guys who can hurt you. Against the Spurs you have to be so disciplined because they move the ball so well, and you have to get out on their shooters and guard the 3 point line which is very valuable to them."

About an hour later, the Spurs were on their way to a season high 39 assists on 43 field goals in a 122-101 victory. Fourteen of those baskets were from beyond the arc. Every player who took the floor for the Spurs dished out at least one assist.

In my 13 seasons with the Spurs, it may have been the best display of team basketball I have witnessed.

Following the game, forward Boris Diaw, who hit all seven of his shots, including two three pointers, commented that he enjoys playing on this team and is comfortable in an offense that constantly moves the ball in order to get the best shot available.

On many NBA teams, players look to score. In San Antonio, players look to set up teammates.

Sharing is a priority.