June 6, 2012
Turnovers huge concern for Spurs heading into Game 6
By RYAN WOLSTAT, QMI Agency
TORONTO - San Antonio head coach Gregg Popovich doesn’t think much of long winning streaks.
He purposely ended two 11-in-a-row runs this season by resting his stars and never got too carried away by the Spurs’ 20-gamer, which stretched deep into the playoffs.
Amazingly, after that long run, San Antonio has now dropped three straight to Oklahoma City and a berth in the final that once seemed a foregone conclusion is now very much in doubt.
And even the normally unflappable Popovich seems concerned.
“We've won (in Oklahoma City) and they've won here, and I expect to go in there and win a basketball game,” Popovich said on Tuesday.
“But to do that we have to take care of the basketball. We will or we won't. But they deserve credit, because down the stretch in games, they've made shots. That's the talent showing. And we can't afford to do what we've done during those games and expect to win. We'll see if we can handle it a little bit better.”
Ah yes, the turnovers. Somehow the Thunder, the NBA team most prone to mistakes in the regular season has cut down on its miscues in the postseason, while the veteran-laden, traditionally calm, cool and collected Spurs have had the jitters.
The errors have bothered the NBA’s coach of the year.
“They're a good enough team already, and I don't think they need our help. But when they score 28 points off of our 21 turnovers, it's enough to make you kick yourself,” he said.
“It's frustrating and maddening more than anything because we've played so poorly as far as handling the basketball. And they have something to do with that; their defense has been very good. So they deserve a lot of the credit for that.
But it's also uncharacteristic of our guys.”
Since stopping Kevin Durant is simply not going to happen (“Nobody else has that kind of a weapon,” Popovich admitted), the Spurs must stop giving up the ball.
If Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook keeps launching poor shot after poor shot, the Spurs also have a chance at sending the series back to Texas.
The team certainly will come in motivated.
“You know me, I’m not submitting to nothing. We’re going to go win this game,” Spurs swingman Stephen Jackson told the San Antonio Express-News after Monday’s tough loss.
“It’s a heartbreaking way to end that game. I’m ready to get ready to get out there and lace them up again and go,” Spurs star Tim Duncan told reporters.
“All in all, I think we had the right game plan. We just need to play better for longer.”
BOSH MASSEUSE DIES
Tragedy struck at the home of Chris Bosh just as he prepared to return to the Miami Heat lineup.
According to Miami Beach police, a South Florida masseuse died at a hospital after collapsing at Bosh’s home on Monday.
According to the report, foul play is not suspected. The woman appeared to be well upon arriving, but suddenly collapsed and was taken to hospital.
According to reports, a friend of the woman said she survived a bout with cancer about a year ago.
CLIPS UP TO OLD TRICKS
Oh those Los Angeles Clippers.
Just when the perennial laughing stock of a franchise seemed to be doing things right, its Mickey Mouse ways caught up with it again.
Despite paying general manager Neil Olshey a bottom of the barrel salary for a while now (and an unprecedented month-to-month contract, no less), just days ago it seemed a done deal that Olshey would re-up in Los Angeles on a better deal. The Clippers even sent out a release saying a tentative agreement was in place.
Except the Portland Trail Blazers – a franchise that has also been heavily criticized for its bizarre actions over the past few years – came up with a better option and Olshey, third in executive of the year balloting, is heading there.
The Clippers offered to match, but Olshey apparently had had enough of Donald Sterling’s way of doing business.
THINGS COMING TOGETHER FOR CANADA
Canada’s senior women’s roster of 12 is set for qualifying for the London Olympics.
It will take place in Turkey from June 25-July 1.
Seven members of the team hail from Ontario, including Guelph-born star Natalie Achonwa.
Five berths are on the line.
Meanwhile, Canada’s impressive junior men’s team has reconvened at Humber College ahead of the FIBA Americas U18 championship in Brazil which starts on June 16.
The team will play an intersquad game free of charge to the public at 7:30 on Thursday at Humber’s North campus. Indiana recruit Trey Lyles has joined the team.
AROUND THE RIM
Now that the Lakers have exercised the $16.1 million US 2012-13 option on Andrew Bynum’s contract, the team is expected to begin talks on a multi-year extension. Few expect Bynum’s frontcourt partner – Pau Gasol – to return to the team next season … Eric Gordon attended a workout in New Orleans this week and that’s good news for the Hornets, since Gordon said he will test free agency. New Orleans can match any offer on the restricted free agent … Former Hornets GM Jeff Bower is the favourite to take over for Otis Smith in Orlando, according to CBS Sports. Bower almost joined the Raptors as Bryan Colangelo’s right-hand man, but Ed Stefanski got the job instead … Is there a contender in a tougher spot than the Chicago Bulls? Derrick Rose will miss all or most of the season, the team’s payroll is high to begin with, Carlos Boozer is a tremendously expensive net negative despite his offensive abilities and teams might make big offers to restricted free agents Taj Gibson and Omer Asik, putting further pressure on the payroll.