20-Second Timeout November 2010 Archive


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


The Cathedral of College Basketball
by Bill Schoening | November 30, 2010

The Palestra
Having grown up in the same area as some of true greats of the game (Wilt Chamberlain and Earl "The Pearl" Monroe) I learned to appreciate the history of basketball at a young age. I was also privelged to watch college doubleheaders and high school tournaments at a place called the Palestra on the University of Pennsylvania campus.

Built in 1926 and still in use today by the Ivy League's Penn Quakers, the Palestra has hosted more college games than any other gym or arena in the country. The longtime custodian at the Palestra is a great guy named Danny Harrell. After giving my son Karl and me a personalized tour last summer, Danny gave me an eight inch long piece of wood, part of the original playing surface of the Palestra.

It was a very kind gesture.

I got the wood cut into four two-inch squares and had them each mounted on four marble plaques. My brother Tom took me to quite a few games at the Palestra so he got a plaque.

Selfishly, I kept one for myself.

The next one went to a guy who truly appreciates basketball history, Gregg Popovich.

For the fourth and final plaque I wanted to find someone who had actually played at the Palestra and understood the history of this 9000 seat treasure. I didn't have to look very far. I found someone right here in San Antonio that fit the criteria - Malik Rose.

Malik attended Drexel University which literally lies adjacent to Penn, so the guy who would later spend eight seasons with the Spurs, played and practiced there.

The NBA has its Madison Square Garden and MLB still has Wrigley Field and Fenway Park, but in college hoops, history still echoes best through the Palestra.




Highlights of a Fast Start
by Bill Schoening | November 23, 2010

Tony Parker
(D. Clarke Evans/Getty Images)
Here we are...a month into the regular season and the Spurs have accomplished something that they emphasized during training camp--get off to a good start. Usually basketball memories that linger tend to occur in May or June, but November has produced some highlights that punctuate the fastest start in Spurs history.

We can start with the aggressive play of the Spurs backcourt.

Tony Parker has been dishing out assists at a career high rate and his shooting stroke has made defenses have to pick their poison on pick and roll.

Manu Ginobili seems revitalized and energized and determined to help the Spurs return to prime contender status. His ability to create offense for himself and others is a key component for an offense that has been humming.

Tim Duncan's numbers may be down a bit but the quality of his play is not. His post defense, rebounding and leadership are staples, and yes he still draws double teams in the post, opening the floor for shooters like Matt Bonner.

Aaah yes..the Red Rocket. Even though he missed six games with a sprained ankle, Bonner has followed his coaches' orders- when you are open you shoot it. His 7-for-7 effort behind the arc at Oklahoma City was, as Bonner would say "wickedawesome".

Richard Jefferson's corner threes, baseline drives and eagerness to run the floor on the fast break are all having a positive impact.

The season is young and there is a ton of basketball remaining, but I have a feeling the 2010-11 edition of the Spurs will be a pleasure to watch (and describe) all season long.




Splash Landing For Red Rocket
by Bill Schoening | November 16, 2010

Matt Bonner
(D. Clarke Evans/Getty Images)
Matt Bonner is realistic about his abilities on a basketball court.

When he turned an ankle on opening night after landing on George Hill's foot he told reporters after the game, "That's what I get for jumping." Prior to Sunday night's game at Oklahoma City, Bonner didn't figure he was primed to be a hero. It was just his second game back from the sprained ankle and he told me he was uncertain of his endurance because of the six games he had missed.

When he was inserted into the game, the Spurs had been struggling from the field, but Bonner immediately hit a right wing three pointer, then came threes from everywhere..the left wing, the right corner and straightaway. The final bomb was a true heat check, launched from two feet beyond the left wing.

When that ring tailed howitzer hit the bottom of the net, Bonner had connected on seven straight threes and the Spurs pulled away from the Thunder. His teammates were happy to have Bonner and his unique skill set back.

Bonner downplayed his big night, saying, "I just stand around and wait for my teammates to pass me the ball. When they do, I shoot it."

That may be a bit of over simplification, but at least there's very little jumping involved.




Celebrating Fab
by Bill Schoening | November 9, 2010

I have been blessed in my career that now spans over 30 years (man I'm old) to have covered some special guys. I am not just talking about outstanding athletes. I mean great people that make this entire life experience richer because you shared some time with them. I can honestly say I feel that way about Fabricio Oberto.

Fab was always generous with his time and able to speak in depth on a number of topics. Although he was a grizzled veteran of Euroleague, FIBA, and NBA battles, he was just as likely to chat about his music studio as he was about the challenge of boxing out Shaquille O'Neal.

With a recent history of an irregular heartbeat, Fab made the difficult decision to hang up the sneakers last week.

Before heading back to Argentina, he stopped by San Antonio to spend time with his good friends Manu Ginobili, Tiago Splitter and Luis Scola. During a timeout the fans at the Rockets-Spurs game got a chance to recognize and pay tribute to a guy who was blue collar in every way. They responded with a standing ovation.

It was a fitting farewell for a guy who said the best chapter in his 18 year career was the four years he spent as a Spur.




Gary Neal
(D. Clarke Evans/Getty Images)

Gary Neal Beginning To Impress
by Bill Schoening | November 4, 2010

The path that led 26 year old rookie Gary Neal to the NBA was somewhat unconventional, but now that he's here, the sturdily built shooting guard wants to soak it all in. Afterall, there was a great share of dues paying before Neal could realize his NBA dreams.

After being passed over in the '07 draft, Neal played three seasons overseas, logging time in Turkey, Spain and Italy. Last season he averaged 19 points per game in Italy and finished the season in Spain, hitting 57% from the field.

He continued his torrid shooting in the summer league in Vegas and earned his first NBA contract with the Spurs. In just his third NBA regular season game, Neal looked like he was playing for Benetton Treviso, drilling four three pointers and scoring 16 points in a Spurs win over the LA Clippers.

Neal has impressed coaches with his attitude, work ethic and willingness to become more than just a shooter. Prior to this NBA season, not many NBA fans knew about Gary Neal. With performances like the one against the Clippers, that may be about to change.