Fresh off their surprising run in the playoffs, the Porin Announcements Thu May 28, 2015 9:27 am
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Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - We take things for granted, and not necessarily in a bad way. One of the things we as an NBA world have taken for granted is the greatness of the San Antonio Spurs, though is it actually taking it for granted when this group has been so successful for so long? Theyve earned so much of our respect that no matter what, we universally agree theyll always be fine. Though that concession comes with an important caveat - so long as Pop patrols the sideline, Timmy patrols the paint, Tony patrols the point and Manu patrols the bench. All pegs are in place for San Antonio, yet is it fair to question the Spurs now as theyve lost five of their last six, including three of those at home? They are 18-12, which is respectable, but thats seventh in the Western Conference. They are two games out of the eighth spot in the conference and three from being lottery-bound. Can you believe that? Are the Spurs really in danger of missing the playoffs? At this stage of the game, its too early to make any judgments, but the reality is, yes, they could miss the postseason in the ultra-loaded Western Conference. Nothing is a guarantee in the west. One minute, the Phoenix Suns look dreadful and destined for a return to the lottery. Now, theyve won four straight and are semi-comfortably a game ahead in the race for the eighth seed. The Oklahoma City Thunder made up a 5 1/2-game deficit for the final spot in less than two weeks when Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook finally played together. At the heart of the problem is that the Spurs arent built to battle for a postseason berth - they are built to contend for titles. Theres a huge difference. Head coach Gregg Popovich has been able to maximize his players performances in the postseason so brilliantly because hes been able to rest his aging guys during the regular season. The Spurs are older than the Golden Girls cast, so thats both wise and necessary. Tim Duncan (38), Manu Ginobili (37), Matt Bonner (34), Boris Diaw (32) and Tony Parker (32) are not children. On top of counting the inner rings, or drivers license showing their age, this group has a lot of tread on the tires from prolonged runs in the playoffs. Pop has strategically benched them throughout recent seasons. The players need it and Popovich could afford to do it considering the Spurs were always near the top of the standings. If the Spurs remain in a three- or four-team hodgepodge for the final two spots out West for the remainder of the season, one game makes the difference. Can Popovich sit Duncan, et al considering the value of each contest? Hard to say. Pops a mad genius -- equal parts mad, equal parts genius. I still think hell sit his guys, but theres nothing guaranteed to these Spurs. Thats possibly another major issue facing San Antonio and Popovich brought it up after a disappointing Christmas Day loss at home to the Thunder, who were without Durant. I think we floated around like were entitled, so that was disappointing, he said. Thats a new dilemma for the Spurs. Never during this epic run of titles would anyone believe the Spurs felt entitled to anything. Their professionalism is the thing of legend. Maybe its not whats going on with the Spurs, but there is something missing from this group. Perhaps its a hunger issue, or it could be injuries. Parker has missed time and Patty Mills, who was huge in the championship run, hasnt played yet, although hes clear for 5-on-5 work. The big setback is Kawhi Leonard. His hand is in bad shape and theres no timetable for return. Of course Kawhi is huge for us. He was the MVP of last seasons Finals. We need him, Ginobili said after the Thunder loss. But they were missing Durant. No excuses. There are no excuses for the Spurs, but theres reality. Age could be catching up. That seemed like a far-fetched problem entering the season after they steam-rolled the Miami Heat in the Finals. Watching them dissect the Heat like terminal Kermits was breathtaking. We didnt want to see it end, nor would a loss to Father Time be expected. But, Father Time is undefeated as they say. No one wanted to believe it after the precision we watched in June. Injuries arent excuses, theyre explanations. The core group of Duncan, Parker, Ginobili, Leonard, Diaw and Danny Green havent spent much time together on the floor. Duncans play has been tremendous, but his minutes have been high during December. He has sat out four times since the start of the month, but of the 10 games hes played in December, hes logged over 32 minutes eight times and over 39 minutes three times. To be fair, there were two triple-overtime marathons in there, but thats still a heavy workload for a 38-year-old. The sad part is, Tim Duncan comes out and plays every night. We cant find a group around him that can consistently compete and execute, Pop said on Thursday. Its got nothing to do with schedule and injuries. Every schedule for a Western Conference team is brutal. Almost every team is already hampered by injuries. The Spurs just arent themselves right now. Theres plenty of time to remedy it, but their current plight is something to keep an eye on. Nagging injuries dont get any better for guys in their 30s. Trust me, I cant sit up straight anymore. If Popovich cant get these guys some rest throughout the season, the Spurs chances at a first-ever repeat could be in jeopardy. Fighting for a playoff berth is no way for this team to prepare for a title defense. Theyll have nothing in the postseason. Pop and company have earned our faith. I believe theyll get it all together, but theres no reason to take anything for granted when it comes to the Spurs and the Western Conference. RANDOM THOUGHTS - Resting Kobe Bryant wasnt a masterful stroke of genius, it was common sense. Not only is Bryant 36 years of age, and coming off two major leg injuries a year ago, but over his last seven games, hes shooting a roasting- hot 31.6 percent from the field. Plus, Bryants shooting percentage has declined over the last four games from 35 percent to 26.7 percent. The problem is, sitting Kobe frequently isnt a great plan since theres no long-term youngsters to take a look at and build for the future. - Anderson Varejaos absence isnt quite crippling for the Cavaliers. They can go small with Kevin Love or Tristan Thompson in the middle, but theyll need a more stable, true big man at some point. - Maybe Jermaine ONeal will have a bidding war for his service. Most assume hell go to the Dallas Mavericks, who also need a true pivot man, but the Cavs should inquire. I imagine Kosta Koufos will be on Clevelands list as well. - Im very happy to see that John Wall is ahead of Kyrie Irving in All-Star voting. Same goes for Marc Gasol in the Western Conference. Its early returns, but this is an encouraging start. - Josh Smith made the easy choice. More money, starting role, playing with his best friend and playing for a title made the Houston Rockets the obvious landing spot. - Movie moment - I loved sitting around the dinner table with my family on Christmas Eve talking about their favorite movies of the year. Sure, I saw one movie in the theater - Planes: Fire & Rescue 2, but it was comforting knowing my father saw, and liked, Gone Girl and St. Vincent. Hes the same man who didnt see a movie in the theater from Dragnet to Charlie Wilsons War, a span of 20 years, and now hes the family Ebert. - TV moment - New record - SIX viewings of A Christmas Story this year. You used all the glue on purpose! Mitch Richmond Warriors Jersey . The 55th-ranked Istomin saved 11 of 14 break points to win in just over two hours, setting up a second round meeting with Australian Marinko Matosevic. It was the Uzbeks third win in three matches against fifth-seeded Kohlschreiber, the 2007 and 2012 tournament winner. Stephen Curry Autographed Jersey .com) - Another heated rivalry will be featured in the 2016 Winter Classic, as the NHL announced Saturday that the Boston Bruins will host the Montreal Canadiens in the next edition of the outdoor showcase. http://www.warriorsjerseysfanshop.com/stephen-curry-womens-jersey/ . Fresh from helping the Czech Republic beat Argentina in the Davis Cup semifinals, Berdych beat Yen-hsun Lu of Taiwan 7-6 (7), 6-4 to maintain his record of never losing before the semifinals in Thailand. Chris Mullin Warriors Jersey . The team says Paul is day to day and is questionable for Mondays game against New Jersey. Paul is averaging 18.0 points, 8.4 assists, 3.0 rebounds and 37.3 minutes in nine games for the Clippers, who beat Miami and the Lakers in their last two games. Mitch Richmond Jersey ." Inbee Park began her bid to become the first golfer to capture four straight majors in one season by teeing off at 7 a. PORTLAND, Ore. -- Fresh off their surprising run in the playoffs, the Portland Trail Blazers have signed head coach Terry Stotts to a multi-year contract extension. Stotts led the Blazers to a 54-28 regular-season record, for the teams biggest improvement in team history. Portland made the playoffs for the first time since 2011, dispatching the Houston Rockets in six games, before falling to the San Antonio Spurs in five games in the Western Conference semifinals. The season wrapped up for the Blazers on Wednesday night with a 104-82 loss in San Antonio. "We werent expected to be in the position we were in the regular season. We werent expected to win the first round. So, it was a special year," Stotts said after the game. "I thought everyone of our stars had career yeears.dddddddddddd The young guys got better. We fought through adversity during the season. We made a strong push at the end of the year. There were so many positives about this season." Stotts has an 87-77 record in two seasons with the Blazers, after serving as an assistant with Dallas for four seasons, including the Mavericks championship in 2011. The Blazers finished 33-49 his first season. "Terry has done an outstanding job during his first two years with the organization," general manager Neil Olshey said in a statement. "This extension illustrates our confidence in him as our head coach as well as the Portland Trail Blazers continued commitment to building a model of consistency and stability." The terms of the deal were not disclosed. wholesale jerseys Cheap Jerseys ' ' '