20 Second Timeout: Bill Schoening Blog: May 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

The Waiting
by Bill Schoening | May 30, 2013
Tony Parker and Tim Duncan
(Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty)

In the NBA, nine days is like an eternity. If it was the regular season, we could squeeze in two road trips and four or five games in nine days. That, however, is the amount of days off (from games) for the Spurs as they await the NBA Finals, and the winnner of the Eastern Conference. It got me to thinking about my favorite songs about waiting and time. Needless to say, there are a bunch of them. I narrowed my list to a Top Ten. Click on each one if you'd like to give them a listen.

1) I Will Wait - Mumford and Sons
2) Time Is On My Side - Rolling Stones
3) Waiting On The World To Change - John Mayer
4) The Waiting (Is The Hardest Part) - Tom Petty
5) Sitting Waiting Wishing - Jack Johnson
6) Can't Wait - Bob Dylan
7) Right Here Waiting For You - Richard Marx
8) No Time Left For You - The Guess Who
9) Time In A Bottle - Jim Croce
10) Waiting on June - Holly Williams

It's an eclectic list, dating back to the '60's. Some of these songs, however, are (ahem) timeless! See you on June 6th for Game One of the NBA Finals! I can hardly wait.

Manu Being Manu
by Bill Schoening | May 26, 2013
Manu Ginobili
(Ronald Martinez/NBAE/Getty)

Prior to Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals, Hall of Famer Chris Mullin (now an analyst for ESPN) sat down with me for a pregame interview.

"I'm expecting a breakout game from Manu Ginobili", said the former sharpshooting guard, "We've seen bits and pieces and flashes of what he can do, but it's been uneven. The Spurs could use a complete game from Ginobili."

At that point of the interview I reminded Mullin that I have been fortunate to see every single game Ginobili has played for the Spurs, and in a big spot, on the road in the playoffs, is where we have seen him shine In the past. That's exactly what he did in Game 3 in Memphis. He hit an early three pointer which quieted the crowd when Memphis jumped out to a big lead early.

He continually drove the lane breaking down the Grizzlies tough defense, he grabbed critical defensive rebounds, and with the game on the line there he was right in the middle of the heat of the battle.

Tony Parker and Tim Duncan scored more points, but Ginobili's very gritty and efficient performance was vintage Manu - 19 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists in 30 spirited minutes of play.

Memphis coach Lionel Hollins mentioned Ginobili's performance on multiple occasions in postgame interviews.

The late season hamstring injury which kept Ginobili off the floor for a big chunk of the stretch run have been a blessing in disguise. He appears to be gaining momentum and is rounding into form as the Spurs keep up their playoff run.

We shouldn't be surprised really...it's just Manu being Manu.

Battery Recharge Comes at a Good Time
by Bill Schoening | May 22, 2013
Tony Parker
(Joe Murphy/NBAE/Getty)

I had to laugh when a talk show host asked me if the Memphis Grizzlies' comeback from 18 points down in Game 2 was almost a win for Memphis, even though the Spurs pulled out a 93-89 overtime win.

Even Grizzlies' guard Tony Allen told reporters after the game that there are no moral victories, and he's right...the Spurs lead the series 2-0, no matter how you slice it. However, there's more good news for the Spurs. Since the Spurs did not play well down the stretch, it heightens the urgency to watch film a little bit closer, pay more attention to detail, and try to make proper corrections in Game 3 in Memphis on Saturday night.

Head Coach Gregg Popovich's assessment in the postgame press conference indicated that there is improvement needed.

"Along with the turnovers, we fell into some poor shots (in the fourth quarter) at the end of the shot clock", said Pop, "and Memphis did a better job on the board and with 50-50 balls. Memphis is a heck of a team and they're not going to back down."

In some ways, it's the best of both worlds for the Spurs. They still got the win and lead the series 2-0, but there's no chance anybody wearing Silver and Black will be anywhere close to being happy or satisfied.

After a quick turnaround from the Golden State series, they also now will have a chance to rest up, get treatments, and re-charge the battery for a couple of games in Memphis that are sure to be knock down- drag out type affairs.

After all, that's the way the Grizzlies play. The Spurs, however, have overcome hostile environments in these playoffs, especially with their two wins at Oracle Arena against the Warriors.

I have a feeling they'll be ready.

Good Start But Lots of Work Left
by Bill Schoening | May 20, 2013
Kawhi Leonard
(Joe Murphy/NBAE/Getty)

Yes, it was quite a way to start the Western Conference Finals.

A loud crowd at the AT&T Center had lots of reasons to cheer, whether it was the Spurs tough interior defense on Memphis power forward Zach Randolph or Matt Bonner and Kawhi Leonard splashing four three pointers each.

However, as point guard Tony Parker reminded reporters from the postgame podium...it's just one win.

"I can guarantee you, there is no one in our locker room celebrating", said Parker, who paced the Spurs with 20 points and 9 assists in Game One.

It's the proper attitude with which to approach Game 2.

The Spurs are well aware of the fact that Memphis is the stingiest team in the NBA in terms of surrendering points. The Grizzlies will likely come out of the gate in Game 2 with a renewed sense of urgency and the Spurs will have to match their energy and intensity. The Spurs are well aware of the fact that the Grizzlies also lost the opener in each of their two previous series, and they came back to win those convincingly.

Yes, it was a good way to start the series, but Memphis has built it's reputation on grit and grind and we will likely see lots more of that as the series continues.

Spurs OK with Uptempo
by Bill Schoening | May 15, 2013
Tony Parker
(D. Clarke Evans/NBAE/Getty)

In the five games so far in Western Conference semifinals, the Golden State Warriors have out scored the Spurs in fastbreak points just once.

The Warriors, for the entire series, have tallied a total of 40 points on the break...the Spurs have totaled 61.

We often see Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich make a sweeping motion with his hands to his guards, exhorting them to push the pace and score in transition or in early offense.

As a frequent talk show guest I am often asked if the Spurs want to slow down the game, and that is true only on the defensive side, as getting back on defense has been one of the main points of emphasis in the series.

Offensively, however, the Spurs want to get down the floor quickly and utilize quick ball and player movement to keep the defense off balance. This keeps the game going at a crisp pace and often results in a good look at the basket for a shooter.

Uptempo pace? The Spurs are fine with that.

Spurs Must Rely on Playoff Experience
by Bill Schoening | May. 9, 2013
Tiago Splitter in Oakland
(D. Clarke Evans/NBAE/Getty)

The San Antonio Spurs enjoy one of the best homecourt advantages in the NBA, but there are other arenas that can get loud, rowdy and raucous in support of their home team, and Oracle Arena in Oakland is one of them. The most impressive aspect of the Warriors' home crowd is the fact they have supported the team through some very lean years. Even when the Warriors were a non-playoff team, Oracle was packed with energetic fans eager to cheer on the Warriors.

The atmosphere now is amped up to a much higher level because this is the playoffs and the Warriors are a very good team. The Spurs now must rely on their wealth of postseason experience. Yes, the Spurs have a few younger players that haven't logged a ton of playoff minutes, but the bulk of the roster has been successful in all kinds of hostile environments in the playoffs. From Phoenix to Utah to Seattle to Denver, I have seen the Spurs quiet the noise. There are few things more satisfying than a relatively quiet crowd at the end of a playoff road game.

It certainly won't be easy, but the Spurs now have an opportunity to wrestle back homecourt advantage by winning either game 3 or 4..and hearing the sweet sounds of silence when the buzzer sounds.

Energy and Intensity
by Bill Schoening | May 4, 2013
Tony Parker
(Rocky Widner/NBAE/Getty)

There's no question that during the NBA playoffs, everything gets amped up a little bit.

Ok, make that a lot. Fans are more raucous, players are more focused, coaches are more intense. This is the best time of year for NBA fans, especially if you follow a team that has had success in the postseason like the Spurs.

During the Western Conference Semifinals against the Golden State Warriors, the Spurs will encounter a team that may not have the experience or track record that the Spurs enjoy, but the Warriors will have that youthful exuberance, boundless energy and a mentality that the pressure is on the Spurs.

The good news for Spurs fans is that their team welcomes the challenge, and is not about to take the Warriors lightly.

Even though the Spurs did not know who they would be facing until late Thursday night, they did know that transition defense would be important against either Denver or Golden State, and now they are working hard making sure they guard the perimeter because Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Jarret Jack and Harrison Barnes are all very capable shooters.

The eight day break between series provided time for practice and rest, and could prove to be valuable as the Spurs try to match the energy that the Warriors are certain to bring to the table.