Spurs minus big 3 win in Chicago

Short-handed Spurs run a clinic against the Bulls defense

2/12/13 in NBA   |   MortonsLaw   |   156 respect

Feb 11, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich during the fourth quarter against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center.  The Spurs won 103-89. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY SportsMinus their big 3 (Duncan, Parker and Ginobili) the San Antonio Spurs went into Chicago on a back-to-back and dominated the Bulls 103-89. The Spurs trailed after the first quarter and with the exception of one run by the Bulls late 3rd quarter, they made the Bulls look like an inferior team.

The Spurs ran their offense to near perfection, shooting 52% against a Bulls defense that has now allowed 100 plus points in 3 of their last 4 games. It’s rather simple how to make the Bulls look like a bad defense--attack Nate Robinson with pick and roll. Until Kirk Hinrich and Derrick Rose return, the Bulls will continue to look like an exposed defense.

The Spurs did whatever they wanted offensively against Chicago, and it wasn’t only your typical Nate Robinson and Carlos Boozer blame game. Kawhi Leonard, who came in averaging just a shade under 10 points per game, lit up Luol Deng for a career-high 26 points. Leonard abused the Bulls’ all-star with drives to the hoop and mid-range jumpers. Deng looked lost on both sides of the floor Monday Night. Deng has been flat out awful since being named to his second consecutive all-star game.

While I’m attacking the Bulls for their bad play, I would be remiss not to praise the job head coach Gregg Popovich continues to do no matter what lineup he starts a game with. After watching tonight’s game, you are reminded of how great a head coach Popovich is. Bulls Head Coach Tom Thibodeau still has ways to go before he comes close to being on Popovich’s level. Clearly without Rose we don’t get to see the Bulls at full strength, but I’m tired of playing that card, especially when you see what Popovich does missing more talent on a lot of nights.

The Bulls lost a game by 14 points in which they out-rebounded the Spurs 49-26 (17-2 on the offensive glass). The difference was the turnovers; the Bulls committed 19 turnovers, the Spurs just 8 (one at the half). While it’s easy to say the Spurs defense forced the turnovers, that isn’t entirely true. The Bulls really do not play smart at times and have so many possessions where basic cardinal rules cease to exist in their offense. The Bulls labor on every possession and often make their offense look like rocket science or brain surgery.

The Bulls big men also can’t catch passes to save their lives. Thibodeau needs to do drills where Noah, Boozer and Gibson are just receiving simple bounce passes. It is unreal as to how many times in a game the Bulls big men fumble a ball out of bounds. And when they do catch a pass the result of the shot is always an adventure, especially a contested shot.

The Spurs are NOT the defense they used to be. Sure, they are still top 10 in the league, but keep in mind this is the same team that allowed 119 points in Detroit last Friday night. The Bulls TV broadcast (which is a complete embarrassment) made you believe the Spurs are the same defense that won 4 NBA championships.

While the Spurs currently own the best record in the league, I still don’t believe they will get out of the Western Conference. In fact, you can make a case the Spurs have become the New England Patriots of the NBA. Think about it, the Spurs haven’t won the title since the 06-07 season. I believe Oklahoma City will do enough to advance again. I even feel with another year of experience, the Clippers may be ready and could also beat the Spurs.
I just feel when the playoffs come around, Popovich may rely too much on his big 3, when he should perhaps be looking at some of his younger players to step up and take their game to another level in the big spot.
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2/12/13   |   MortonsLaw   |   156 respect

OneStepBeyond wrote:
I would argue that San Antonio has the best system in place and that's what you saw on Monday. And I wouldn't call them favorites to win it all either.

Couple things I'd like to point to...
The Spurs havent won a title since 06/07. Sure, but I don't see how this fact would determine this team from failing to win one this season. A steady record of playoff appearences would argue against that tidbit. If the Spurs are not able to claim that trophey in June it will be because of the positive steps of their opponents - not that trival stat.

Coach Pop relying on his stars to heavily? San Antonio's system is built to allow opportunity for the bench to produce and it has been effective, just as you saw on Monday. Pop has been quite good at giving these stars ample rest, and I don't see him changing something so effective when it comes to playoff time. The bench is growing in confidence.

What about losing in the first round 2 of the last 5 years? In any of the last 5 playoffs, do you think the big 3 weren't on the court in the last 5 minutes at anytime, besides perhaps fouling out? Now clearly they deserve to be, but that hasn't produced even a trip to the Finals since winning it all in 06-07. While you tell me the bench is growing in confidence, and I agree with that 100%, isn't it Pop who needs to recognize that perhaps it's time to turn the page if he wants to advance?

And Parker isn't even the issue here; he's actually only 30 years of age. People forget how young he is and group him with Duncan and Ginobili. However, don't you think in the last 2 playoffs Pop relied heavily on each guy down the stretch of games, when probably they were lacking the ability to close games out the way they once did?

I remember specifically watching Ginobili fade late in playoff games recently. I just wonder if Pop will ever take his big 3 off the floor in the closing minutes of a close game if they aren't producing at a high level, or will he once again go out without a trip to the finals? I think his loyalty to the big 3 may be the downfall of this team in a big spot. 

2/12/13   |   OneStepBeyond   |   35 respect

I would argue that San Antonio has the best system in place and that's what you saw on Monday. And I wouldn't call them favorites to win it all either.

Couple things I'd like to point to...
The Spurs havent won a title since 06/07. Sure, but I don't see how this fact would determine this team from failing to win one this season. A steady record of playoff appearences would argue against that tidbit. If the Spurs are not able to claim that trophey in June it will be because of the positive steps of their opponents - not that trival stat.

Coach Pop relying on his stars to heavily? San Antonio's system is built to allow opportunity for the bench to produce and it has been effective, just as you saw on Monday. Pop has been quite good at giving these stars ample rest, and I don't see him changing something so effective when it comes to playoff time. The bench is growing in confidence.