Sunday, January 25, 2009

We have to out-defend people

"We suck on 'D.'"

That was how Spurs coach Gregg Popovich described his team's performance last week.

"Both individually and team-wise, we suck."

As this article in the SA paper points out, "heading into the second half, the Spurs rank 19th in the NBA in field-goal percentage defense, the metric Popovich believes most honestly defines a team's defensive prowess."

"We're not going to outscore anybody," Popovich said. "We have to out-defend people."

Coach Popovich's emphasis on defense has had an impression on his team.

After Popovich's blowup, the Spurs... limited three opponents to a combined 39.4 percent shooting. None of those opponents (CHI, CHA, IND) topped 90 points. Not surprisingly, the Spurs were 3-0 in that span.

According to this article, San Antonio's "entire philosophy comes from a quote from 19th century social activist Jacob Riis, which Robinson found and is now posted in the dressing room in English, French, Spanish, Serbian and Turkish."

Look at a stone cutter hammering away at his rock, perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred-and-first blow it will split in two. ... It was not the last blow that did it, but all that had gone before.