20 Second Timeout: Bill Schoening Blog - November 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 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 2013

Energy, Pace Help Spurs Bench Shine
by Bill Schoening | Nov 27, 2013

Marco Belinelli
(D. Clarke Evans/NBAE/Getty Images)

For many NBA teams, the role of the bench is a simple one; just try to maintain, don't make too many mistakes, and just hang in there.

For the Spurs, it's a different feel altogether. On many occasions early this season, we have seen the Spurs reserve unit take the floor and literally take over the game. The Spurs bench scored 69 points against Cleveland and 65 versus New Orleans.

While those numbers may be escalated a bit because of the one-sided nature of those two games, it could also be argued that the bench was chiefly responsible for the games being out of reach early.

Guard Manu Ginobili, who spearheads the "Foreign Legion", says, "I am very happy with the second unit. We are playing really well. With Marco (Belinelli) and Patty (Mills) we try to change the game by pushing the pace and creating tempo, and we've been successful with it."

Ginobili and Belinelli have worked especially well together. Mills has provided outside shooting, toughness and pesky defense, while Boris Diaw has been much more assertive, especially in the paint and around the basket. The Spurs' depth will be a critical element all season long.

So far, so good.

Spurs Defense Off to Good Start
by Bill Schoening | Nov 19, 2013

Bill Schoening
(NBAE/Getty Images)

Guard Danny Green says the Spurs' four day break came at a good time, partly because the Spurs can work on some "stuff", especially on defense.

That statement from Green shows the Spurs will continue to emphasize improving at the defensive end (as always).

This is particularly encouraging because the Spurs defense has been pretty sharp so far.

While it's true the Spurs have not played the most difficult schedule out of the gate, it's also hard to argue with the numbers.

The Spurs are allowing teams to shoot just 42% and score 89 points per game.

The fact that the Spurs have only two new rotation players (Jeff Ayres and Marco Belinelli) comes into play, since this team enjoys the "corporate Knowledge" that is valuable to Head Coach Gregg Popovich.

Spurs Influence Continues to Spread
by Bill Schoening | Nov 12, 2013
Bill Schoening
(NBAE/Getty Images)

Philadelphia 76ers head coach Brett Brown says it was actually difficult to develop a game plan and strategy against the San Antonio Spurs.

Brown, a trusted aide on Gregg Popovich's staff for eleven seasons, was thrilled to see Pop and so many players and coaches with whom he had worked, but being familiar with them didn't help.

The first year head coach of the Sixers told Spurs Radio prior to the game that he was looking forward to competing, but admitted it was a bit strange. "You have to hold yourself back from doing too much.

We want to focus mostly on what we do, but the Spurs don't let you do that. Because I have such intimate knowledge of their plays and people, I had to make sure I didn't give my young team too much information, and that was difficult", said Brown, who had nothing but praise for the Silver and Black.

Brown added, "They really are like a machine that just keeps chugging along. They will bang out another 50 win season, and once again be among the elite teams in the NBA. They are who we aspire to be."

As you look around the NBA, head coaches who either played or worked under Gregg Popovich are all over the map. Los Angeles, New Orleans, Atlanta, Philly, Orlando, and Cleveland. The blueprint is there but not easy to copy.

Bench Play Critical
by Bill Schoening | Nov 4, 2013

Bill Schoening
(Noah Graham/NBAE/Getty Images)

It's no big secret that the Spurs rely on their depth, perhaps as much as any team in the NBA. This season will certainly be no exception.

With head coach Greg Popovich keeping a close eye on minutes played by forward Tim Duncan and guard Tony Parker, the ability of the reserves to come in and have a positive impact will be critical.

Patty Mills appears poised to play a solid role. An offseason dedicated to fitness and conditioning has Mills playing with confidence.

Up front, veteran Boris Diaw gives the Spurs experience and versatility. (Diaw has scored 14 points in each of his first three games, although he started against the Lakers due to Duncan's chest contusion.)

Newcomer Marco Belinelli is eager to help out the second unit, and can play several positions. He showed what he can do against Portland last Saturday night when he hit 8 of 12 shots and scored 19 points, igniting a Spurs comeback that fell short.

Of course, the Spurs bench leader is former NBA 6th Man of the Year Manu Ginobili, who has looked refreshed and energized to start the season. The contributions made by these players will go a long way in determining how far the Spurs go this season.