Spurs have it all

MIKE GANTER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:49 AM ET

Ask Sam Mitchell why the San Antonio Spurs are so successful and he can't get the answer out fast enough.

"Duncan, Ginobli, Parker, Pop(ovich)," he began listing the on-court trio of Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker as well as their coach Gregg Popovich. "They got a coach that understands their players, they've got Duncan who's a hall-of-famer, and Parker, one of the quickest players who is developing into one of the best point guards in the league. And Ginobili is a bonafide scorer, that kid can just flat out score."

On top of all that, the Spurs also have the stingiest defence in the league, holding opponents to just 90.6 points a game. But Mitchell believes his own offence can counter-balance that.

"What their defence does, most defences do," Mitchell said. "They take advantage of teams being selfish. So if you don't move the ball you play right into their hands. We have to move the basketball. You have to play unselfish basketball. They prey on guys who want to catch and hold and dribble the basketball. They keep you on one side of the court."

BONNER FINDS A HOME

Five months into his tenure with the San Antonio Spurs, former Raptor Matt Bonner has settled in nicely.

Having just returned from a knee injury, Bonner is working his way back into Popovich's rotation. His 13 fourth-quarter points on Saturday against the Seattle Sonics should help in that regard.

But Bonner hasn't forgotten Toronto. He still carries the Red Rocket nickname -- "I'm still the Red Rocket, my hair didn't go grey" -- although the TTC streetcar reference portion of that gets lost down here.

And believe it or not, he misses the cold winters.

"I actually miss walking with that 30-below wind chill coming off that lake in the wind tunnels between the buildings," Bonner said with a straight face. "After practise I used to get hyped up. 'Yeah, I get to walk home now and it's freezing out.' I'd see how far I could make it before I went completely numb and then had to duck into a building. It was like a test of toughness."

Bonner's test of toughness in San Antonio was earning minutes in a star-studded lineup.

Seems he has passed that test, too.


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