20 Second Timeout: November 2012
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 | April 11 | December 11 | January 12 | February 12 | March 12 | April 12 | May 12 | Oct 12 | Nov 12
Focus and Maturity
by Bill Schoening | Nov 27, 2012
To win on the road in the NBA takes more than just talent and execution (and perhaps a bit of good fortune). It also requires focus and maturity. When NBA players travel, there are more than enough distractions to take them away from the task at hand. The Spurs have had tremendous success away from home for a number of reasons, not the least of which is they understand they are on a business trip and not a vacation.
A former NBA player (not a Spur) once told me that it was frustrating for him because his team was not concentrating on basketball when it came time to play away games. He says he knew his team had no chance to win one night because an hour before tipoff the chatter in the locker room did not center on defending pick and roll plays or game strategy. Instead, the discussion focused on which nightclub had the best party going on after the game. He was not surprised his squad suffered a blowout loss that evening.
After the Spurs recent victory over the Wizards in Washington, rookie guard Bradley Beal had high praise for the Spurs, saying "That's how the game was invented, to play and have fun. You can tell they are having fun."
For the Spurs, most of the fun comes DURING the game.
The Captain, Steady As Ever
by Bill Schoening | Nov 23, 2012
The Boston Celtics had just cut a double digit Spurs lead to six with over three minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. The sellout crowd at TD Garden was loud and raucous and eager for the Celts to do what they had done so many times in their storied history--rally for a come from behind win.
The Spurs, however, turned to their seasoned captain to right the ship and steer the Spurs out of troubled waters. Tim Duncan hit a tough runner in the lane and the crowd became quiet once again.
The basket was the most important shot of the game and propelled the Spurs to their eighth straight road win over an eastern conference foe. It was part of a 20 point/15 rebound night for Duncan that has become commonplace this season as the 36 year old power forward continues to produce in that familiar, methodical way.
He has been the most consistent Spur and is one of the primary reasons the Spurs are still among the elite in the Western Conference.
Mixing and Matching Up Front
by Bill Schoening | Nov. 15, 2012
(D. Clarke Evans/NBAE/Getty)
The Spurs' frontline may not be the tallest or most athletic in the NBA, but it is one of the most versatile.
Tim Duncan is the centerpiece of it all. Now in his 16th season, Duncan has shown no signs of slowing down. He still has all the low post moves, the patented bank shot from the wings, and his pick and pop has been effective thanks to a consistent midrange jumper from the key and the high post.
DeJuan Blair brings a toughness and willingness to do the dirty work inside, even when he is often six inches shorter than his opponent.
Boris Diaw is blessed with a high basketball IQ and is one of the best passing big men in the NBA.
Matt Bonner is called upon to stretch opposing defenses because of his deft touch from beyond the arc.
Tiago Splitter has the length to help Duncan defend bigger centers and forwards, and showed his value in the Laker game Tuesday night with a solid job against Pau Gasol.
The Spurs can mix and match these bigs to create different looks against foes on both ends of the floor.
Bench Shows Versatility
by Bill Schoening | Nov. 6, 2012
(D. Clarke Evans/NBAE/Getty)
After Monday night's loss to the Spurs, Pacers' coach Frank Vogel called the Spurs "a well oiled machine." The compliment is not only directed at the Spurs' system and coaching staff, but also the players that are charged with executing the plan. The fact that the Spurs' reserves are capable of keeping the "machine" running smoothly will likely pay dividends down the line.
When the Spurs play other contenders in the Western Conference, the versatility of the bench will come into play. Against OKC's Kevin Durant, the Spurs can start out with Kawhi Leonard, and then let Stephen Jackson come in to guard the three time league scoring champion. While Durant may still get his points, he will likely have to work extra hard to get free for shots.
When the Spurs play the Lakers, they can give Kobe Bryant different looks using Leonard, Danny Green, Manu Ginobili and Jackson. DeJuan Blair may be a bit undersized but brings energy and toughness. Tiago Splitter is very good at pick and roll and works especially well with Ginobili. His size (6'11)may come into play against taller frontcourts . Gary Neal has started the season as the backup point and has worked hard on pull up midrange jumpers behind screens. It's becoming a reliable shot.
Jackson brings an edge and confidence that can be contagious. Patty Mills can be a length of the floor defender to pester opposing point guards, and we know he can score. He led the Olympics in scoring and dropped 34 at Golden State late last season. Although he didn't start out on fire, Matt Bonner has recently shown he hasn't lost his touch. He can stretch opposing defenses with his range.
Although he hasn't logged many minutes so far, rookie Nando DeColo from France has shown excellent ball handling and passing skills. Cory Joseph is a tough defender who has improved offensively, and benefitted from a summer of hard work. Ginobili will provide the spark with his enthusiasm, uncanny court vision, scoring and playmaking skills.
If the Spurs bench can continue it's production, the Spurs may be primed for another successful season.