20 Second Timeout: Bill Schoening Blog - May 2014

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 | March 14 | April 2014 | May 2014

Pop's Coaching Tree Gets Another Branch
by Bill Schoening | May 30, 2014

TNT analyst and former Spurs guard Steve Kerr is about to embark on a new challenge, as he will soon take the reins as Head Coach of the Golden State Warriors.

Kerr, in town for the Western Conference Finals, credits his time in the Alamo City as a factor in landing the Warriors' gig.

"My time here in San Antonio is a big reason I have this new opportunity", says Kerr. "Everyone who has played for or worked for Pop gets extra consideration for these jobs. I've told Pop, RC Buford and Peter Holt that my experience as a player here helped me get this job and I am forever grateful to the Spurs for my time here."

I then asked Kerr if he was looking forward to coaching against Gregg Popovich, and the reply came without hesitation, "No!"

Former Spurs players (who played for Pop) who are now head coaches in the NBA include Jacque Vaughn, Monty Williams, and Kerr.

Recent head coaches Avery Johnson and Vinny Del Negro are in the mix for current vacancies.

Best of Three
by Bill Schoening | May 28, 2014

Two seasons ago, when the San Antonio Spurs dropped four in a row after a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference Finals, head coach Gregg Popovich called it a case of "identity theft".

Suddenly, OKC was the more aggressive and physical team. While we have seen some of those same scenarios play out in the 2014 Conference Finals, something that happened down the stretch in Game 4 may have paid some dividends.

Already trailing by 20 midway through the third quarter, Pop decided to rest his regulars. A unit led by third string point guard Cory Joseph cut the Thunder lead from 27 to a lead of 12, mainly against the Thunder starters.

Sitting and watching from the bench in the 4th quarter of a playoff game is not something with which Tim Duncan is familiar, but he took notice.

"The bench came in and played well", said the 17 year veteran, "they showed the way, and hopefully we can build on that."

Duncan says it's not just a matter of returning home.

"We have to make it happen. It's not just a matter of settling things down. It's now a best two out of three series and at least we have 2 of them at home."

While it's true the Spurs have a nine game losing streak in Oklahoma City, it's also true that the Spurs have been nearly unbeatable at home in the 2014 playoffs (8-1).

Now they have to steal back the identity that defined them during the first two games of Western Conference Finals.

The Trio is in Tune
by Bill Schoening | May 23, 2014

I remember the first playoff game in which Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili played together.

Amare Stoudamire banked in a three to force overtime, and the Suns won the game 96-95 when Stephon Marbury banked in a running 3 pointer at the buzzer.

It happened at the AT&T Center on April 19, 2003.

I remember that loss as a gut punch, but the Spurs showed their steely resolve by bouncing back to win the series in 6 games, then they followed that series by ending the Lakers' reign atop the NBA in an emotional 6 game series that ended in a 110-82 rout of the Lakers at Staples Center.

The Spurs were well on their way to the NBA title, the first of three rings for the big three together. On Wednesday night in their win over OKC, the Spurs Big Three became the winningest trio in NBA playoff history.

One hundred and eleven playoff wins together is an amazing feat, especially when you consider the start of the streak was delayed by a tough loss at home.

The names Parker, Duncan and Ginobili- a trio for the ages!

Kawhi Not
by Bill Schoening | May 15, 2014

During the second half of the Spurs game 5 series clinching win over the Portland Trailblazers, Kawhi Leonard showed why Spurs' fans are excited about his future.

After securing a steal in the backcourt he starting racing up the floor, but Blazers Wesley Matthews and Damien Lillard were flanked out ahead of him. It didn't matter.

Leonard split the two defenders while operating the dribble (asst. coach Jim Boylen compared it to a running back blasting through a tight hole) and then finished with an authoritative dunk.

It was just one of several big plays turned in by the third year small forward with the wingspan of a condor.

Leonard's large fingerprints were all over the game 5 win. (22 points/7 rebounds/5 steals) Leonard's importance to the team may be felt even more in the conference finals.

Bench-Advantage Spurs
by Bill Schoening | May 8, 2014

Spurs Bench

Throughout the course of this season, the Spurs have relied on the production they received from their reserves, which accounted for over 45 points per game, tops in the NBA.

During the Western Conference Semifinals vs. Portland, the Spurs depth could become a major factor. The Blazers simply don't rely on their reserves the way the Spurs do.

In their impressive six game conquest of the Houston Rockets, the Blazers bench accounted for just 16 points per game.

In the opening round against Dallas, the Spurs bench (which admittedly didn't play as well collectively as it had in the regular season) still accounted for 38 points per game.

In the opener against the Blazers, The Foreign Legion out scored Portland's bench 50-18, complete with a welcome but unexpected boost from Center Aron Baynes. (10 points, 7 rebounds in 15 spirited minutes).

If the Spurs bench continues that type of play, more pressure is applied to the Blazers' starting five.