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Posts Tagged ‘San Antonio Spurs’

Essay: Back-and-Forth With Chris Paul And Tony Parker

The best point guard’s in the game today played against one another this past weekend. Lost amid other games of note—particularly the Spurs-Heat matchup on Sunday night, which ceded most of its luster after the Bulls ended the Heat’s winning streak last week—the Los Angeles Clippers and San Antonio Spurs went at each other on Friday night at the AT&T Center, and it was everything you’d want in a late-season game between two of the best teams in the superior Western Conference. Read more…

Essay: Snoozing on the Spurs and their Defense

February 15, 2013 Leave a comment

When we watch basketball we watch the ball. It’s naturally where the eye is drawn, so it makes sense that defensive-oriented teams are generally among the lowest rated games on television and the least talked about in the media. There’s one team that’s been a defensive juggernaut for more than a decade, and they’ve managed to win four titles in that span, despite a dearth of attention from casual fans and most media outlets. This season is no different, and while the San Antonio Spurs continue to win at historic levels, their automaton-like dominance is swept under the rug as mere commonplace, rather than shouted from the top of Mount Helicon as Popovich bottles Hippocrene water for his vineyard.

Why don’t more people care, or get excited about the San Antonio Spurs? It’s a tough question to answer without getting into hairy attempts at gleaning information based off what you think, rather than what you know. The basketball watching populace is a fickle bunch; they want points and star players, but dunks and a barrage of 3-pointers will do. Defense, in its still inchoate days of analytics, just isn’t that sexy, and it’s hard to write about without actually watching basketball. Nor is attempting to describe what the Spurs do on defense that’s allowed them to finish in the top 10 in defensive efficiency (points allowed per 100 possessions) every year except one–the 2010-11 season–since they drafted Tim Duncan in the summer of 1997. And that lone year they failed to crack the top third in defensive efficiency, they finished 11th (per basketball-reference).

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Essay: Wants and Needs in the Drive for the 2013 NBA Title

February 1, 2013 3 comments

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“Things belong to people who want them most.” – Dashiell Hammet, An Unfinished Woman

Oftentimes we–the few who attempt to extrapolate nuances of meaning from what is, at its root, a game–spend oodles of time trying to figure out what teams do which things right, and use that somewhat esoteric bit of quantitative information to show how it’s the driving force behind one team’s success and another team’s failure. But increasingly in this day and age of shot charts and synergy cameras, we forget to step back and look at the big picture: namely, who has the drive or the will to want it more, or perhaps more aptly: who needs to win the 2013 NBA title the most?  Read more…

Essay: With Harden Out, Who Takes 6th Man Of The Year?

October 30, 2012 Leave a comment

Ah, the Sixth Man of the Year award. Obviously not as special as Most Valuable Player or Defensive Player of the Year, but still, fans seem to have a special affinity with it—the endearing concept of this “spark plug” who comes off the bench and tries to be as electric as possible while the starters sit.

Last year, new Rockets guard James Harden won the award, coming off the bench for 60 out of 62 games, and averaging around 17 points per game. With Harden out of Oklahoma City, it’s fair to say he’ll probably be starting, and many NBA analysts will have to change their pick for a potential winner. The crop of possibilities contain a few previous winners. No winner has repeated since Detlef Schrempf in the 1991-92 season, but it’s hard to pick otherwise, due to the production of some of these previous winners and their roles on their teams. Read more…

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