– LeBron James’ cramps are no joke to the Heat or Spurs (from Paul Flannery, SBNation):
” There is no one with any shred of medical or athletic credibility arguing that LeBron should have pushed through the pain that rendered his legs immobile at the worst possible moment. That would have been foolish at best and potentially damaging at worst.”
– San Antonio’s New Approach to LeBron and Dwyane Wade (from Couper Moorhead, NBA.com/heat):
” (L)et’s put aside the results for a moment and focus on what each team was trying to do. More specifically, how the Spurs were trying to defend.
How Gregg Popovich schemed for LeBron James and Wade a year ago has been well-covered. The Spurs hung a few feet back whenever Miami’s primary playmakers had the ball, going under just about every single screen in the series as they conceded jumpers and built a wall around the paint. It was, in a sense, aggressively conservative, and it took both players a little time to adjust.
“Their commitment to going under on pindowns (screens) was surprising,” Battier said before the series began. “They really committed to it to the point where [we were like], ‘You guys are really going under that down screen?’ [That’s] an area where most teams would have a faint heart to try and do that in a game, but they did it for pretty much the entire series.”
Thursday night was a step in a different, slightly more traditional direction.”
Read and view it here: http://www.nba.com/heat/news_recap/tales-sauna
– Once a grind-it-out ballclub, San Antonio Spurs have evolved offensively (from Michael Lee, Washington Post):
” For so long, the success of the San Antonio Spurs was accepted, even if not widely appreciated. With their small-market charm, low-maintenance stars and a coach who was sometimes charming and sometimes a curmudgeon, the Spurs were more concerned about being champions than being cool. But as the Spurs’ offense has evolved from boring to beautiful, their staying power has attracted more admirers. Earlier this season, Washington Wizards center Marcin Gortat compared San Antonio’s offense to “listening to Mozart.”
Read it here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/wizards/2014-nba-finals-once-a-grind-it-out-ballclub-san-antonio-spurs-have-evolved-offensively/2014/06/07/72d96d2a-ee7f-11e3-9b2d-114aded544be_story.html
– Spurs and Heat battle over ball movement in the NBA Finals (from Matt Moore, CBS Sports):
” If you ask the Spurs what the key to their offense is, they say “ball movement.” If you ask the Heat what the key to the Spurs is, they also say “ball movement.” And often times, especially in the NBA Finals, when so much coverage hinges on storylines, narratives, heat, hustle, and easy-to-digest sound bytes, that’s where the discussion ends, at the water’s edge.
But there’s a lot more to say about how the Spurs create those possessions full of dazzling ball movement, and how they always know to make that “extra pass” which results in the open corner 3’s. The Spurs’ offensive beauty is structural, in its play design, in the spacing they use, in the talent they have accumulated and honed. But it is also brilliant in its execution, in how they actually play.”
– Spurs’ bench never lets foe rest (from Jeff Caplan, NBA.com):
” Everybody knows a championship team is more than its star players. It takes max production from role players to get this far, and that’s the lesser appreciated byproduct of more bench time for starters — more floor time, experience and confidence for bench players.
“It also does develop the bench, give them some confidence to play,” Popovich said of his carefully monitored rotation. “And hopefully in the end when playoff time comes, sometimes it’s a role player that steps up in a certain game and has a heck of a night and helps you.”
– Few freebies from San Antonio defense (from Steve Aschburner, NBA.com):
” Defending without fouling is a priority of the Spurs. It has been for years. And if that approach can be considered the immovable object of the 2013 and 2014 Finals, it is winning its clashes with the Heat’s unstoppable foul-line force.”
– The evolution of Manu (from Kurt Helin, NBCSports.com):
” The Spurs offense has evolved, and more importantly so has the 36-year-old Ginobili as he has aged. He influences outcomes much more with his mental game now.
“He’s still Manu, but he’s not the Manu he was a few years back where he could take over games in an instant,” Danny Green said.
It all started a few years back when Gregg Popovich decided to change the offense, picking up the tempo and turning the keys over more to his guards Tony Parker and Ginobili. Popovich saw his team’s roster, saw the direction the league was moving (with more pick-and-rolls and shots early in the clock) and became an early adopter.
“When you look at tapes of how we played in the ’02-03 season, we were very different,” Ginobili said. “We were pretty much a team of going past half court, feeding Tim (Duncan), space around and try to get something out of that.
“Now we try to be way more mobile and move the ball much better, more passes. And I think in the last few years we did it so much better. Everybody is feeling important. Everybody is feeling that they are helping the team do better. It’s been a fun change to be part of.”
– Quin Snyder on his Coaching Philosophy, Player Development, Analytics, and More (from Andy Larsen, Salt City Hoops):
“When Dennis Lindsey was hired in San Antonio in 2007, he was concerned about Quin Snyder as coach of the NBA D-League’s Austin Toros.
“(Spurs general manager) RC (Buford) asked what I thought relative to Quin and the position, and I think I’m pretty good at sizing up situations relative to coaches and teams. I said, ‘RC, I’m skeptical.’”
He’s not skeptical anymore. Today, Lindsey introduced Snyder as the first head coach outside of the organization to be hired by the Utah Jazz in 35 years. Obviously, Lindsey has been impressed since that initial reaction seven years ago, saying now, “I spoke out of ignorance relative to Quin.”
So what was it that impressed Lindsey so much to reverse his initial opinion? ”
Larsen breaks down the key factors here: http://saltcityhoops.com/quin-snyder-on-his-coaching-philosophy-player-development-analytics-and-more/