How can we sit here and blame one player, when the entire team is healthy?
Let's pretend that Richard Jefferson was injured. Then what? Would anything have been different vs the Lakers? HELLS NO.
Gregg Popovich would have made the exact game time adjustments regardless of Jefferson.
One would think that a Hall of Fame coach would have sense enough to NOT create mismatches that would go against his team. Not with this year's head coach, either he does not know or he is too stubborn to change and neither is good.
Let's take his very first sub. Jefferson missed a defensive assignment on Ron Artest. For Popovich, this was so bad, that Pop hurts the team by pulling Jefferson for Keith Bogans.
Bogans can't stop anyone and he is NO offensive threat either. Keep in mind, on the post Bogans has no chance of guarding Artest in the paint, he can only hope that Artest stays on the perimeter. So why put Bogans in if you are going to make this sub? Micheal Finley would have been better. Finley can't guard Artest in the paint either, but Finley is a threat on the other end and the Lakers can't clog the paint on Tony Parker and Tim Duncan with a spot up shooter like Finley on the perimeter.
Making this sub gives a mismatch to the Lakers.
Just when I thought the Bogans for Jefferson sub was bad, the next sub DOOMed the Spurs in this game and quite possibly killed the rest of the little confidence I had in Pop for the rest of this year.
Matt Bonner for Tim Duncan. Let me say that again.
Matt Bonner came into the game to replace Timothy Theodore Duncan.
All I can say is WHY???
What could Bonner possibly do in this game? If ever I saw a player look bad in an NBA game, it was Bonner trying to guard Lamar Odom.
Instead of getting small with Bonner, lets look at the alternative. Theo Ratliff in for Tim Duncan. Naturally Ratliff guards Pau Gasol and Antonio McDyess would guard Odom. Still a mismatch for the Lakers but McDyess has a better chance with Odom than Bonner^3. If by chance the Lakers miss a wide open shot, Ratliff and McDyess are a better rebounding tandem than McDyess and Bonner.
Besides, isn't that why we brought Theo here, to match up with the Laker's size?
However, again, making the Bonner sub gave another mismatch advantage to the Lakers.
Let's fast forward to the start of the 4Qtr, we open with Blair, Jefferson, Manu, Finley, Hill vs Gasol, Walton, Vujajic, Brown, Farmar.
Where in this lineup is a mismatch for the Spurs? Where???
The only mismatch here is Gasol over Blair. A HUGE advantage for the Lakers.
The Lakers push their lead to 9 points and with our next sub we get even weaker defensively, in comes Roger Mason for Hill. Where is the starting lineup that got us off to a decent start? Duncan, McDyess, Jefferson/Manu, Hill, Parker? Our Closers?
McDyess played 19 mins, least of any starter, yet he almost equals Duncan's 15 rebounds with 12 boards of his own. McDyess was the only player capable of keeping the Lakers off the offensive glass yet he doesn't play at all in the 4th Qtr.
Again, wasn't Dice brought here to match up with the Lakers size?
McDyess was no where to be found when it counted the most, because Pop benches him, for ONLY grabbing 12 rebounds in the first 3 quarters of the game.
With coaching like this, there is no way the Spurs win this game. This team is not done, this head coach is done. You wanna trade someone, trade Gregg Popovich for a real coach. No more Russian mind games, the Spurs need a true basketball coach who isn't out there trying to play mind games with the talent.
When a team is completely healthy and loses games to injured teams like Portland twice and L.A., there is no one to blame but the coach, GREGG "Please Get Me Out Of Here" POPOVICH.