On cannibalism and composure
At the outset of the series, I called our attention to a positively unSpursian trend of San Antonio’s recent play. Namely, the Spurs are not showing an ability to close games. San Antonio’s laughably sophomoric late game execution is a storyline no one saw coming.
This inability to execute was nowhere more obvious than the end of Game 3. Tim Duncan may have been calling for timeout as the clock expired, butÂ the fact remains the Spurs rebounded the ball with 6.6 seconds remaining. Gregg Popovich had an opportunity to call a timeout and draw up a play. He didn’t. Neither did the Spurs. Tim Duncan’s attempted timeout was too little, too late.
This is the sort of short circuit one expects from other teams. No one expects it from the Spurs. This is something that simply doesn’t happen to the Popovich/Duncan Spurs. Except it did.
The Spurs’ reaction to their meltdown, however, is everything you’d expect from San Antonio. Down 2-1, San Antonio’s greatest strength doesn’t lie in their talent. Nor does it flow from their ability to draw cleaner Xs and rounder Os. The Spurs keep their cool. Like Omar Little, San Antonio doesn’t scare. And while they’ve not executed well of late, the Spurs won’t lose their composure. The Spurs won’t begin to cannibalize one another over their collective mistakes.
After the game, Gregg Popovich, George Hill, and Manu GinobiliÂ were asked about the timeout no one bothered to call. Here’s what they said:
That was my fault. I wasn’t quick enough to get it (the timeout). He (Manu Ginobli) got out of there so quick. I should’ve been all over the referee to get the timeout, but I didn’t do it. That was my fault, not George’s.
It is not just one person. It is all of us. We win them together and we have got to lose them together. We will figure out what we are going to do next time.
I thought I had little more time (on the clock), but they played good defense. I saw Marc (Gasol) stretching out with his long arms. When I tried to go right, (Mike) Conley jumped on me too. I lost the ball a little bit. I couldn’t get the shot off, but at the same time, it was my bad in the sense that I had a couple of more seconds. When I saw that I couldn’t get it off, I threw it to someone at the top of the key. There wasn’t enough time. It’s now easier to say we should’ve called a timeout, but we didn’t. I guess we didn’t make the right read.
There is a little to write about in these words. And that’s the point. Over the last decade the Spurs have dug themselves out of many holes. A healthy locker room makes a great shovel.