Over a decade has passed since the league experienced a compressed season as a result of a lockout. We are about to witness the same thing this season due to the same reason. In this piece, we will discuss a few things that could be significant to what many would consider as the Big 3's final championship run.
The Spurs were fun to watch last year, which was largely due to a radical change in style. We scored more than we used to on the average. We played FASTBALL primarily because Pop introduced small ball, which allowed our guys to run at every opportunity.
We played well in most parts and paced the entire league early on. It gave us a little cushion. Despite losing a lot of games in the tailender of the elimination round, we still managed to get the top seed in the West.
But here's the problem. Injuries caused our longest losing streak just before the playoffs started and when the 1st round went underway, we came up short against an eighth-seeded team. I now dare say that the reason for our early success became the same reason for our early exit. Here's why...
Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili weren't nearly 100% when we faced the Grizzlies. Furthermore, we weren't in sync on both ends of the court. When Tim and Manu started missing games in the latter part of the season, our chemistry was affected and our confidence faded. This was compounded by the fact that we faced a hungry and energetic squad with a lot of resolve and had something to prove.
Now, let's go back to the cause of all that sad end of what could have been a championship story: FASTBALL. When we chose to up the tempo, we subsequently chose to add some more mileage to our aging core. A faster pace results to more fullcourt runs. More trips from one end to the other end. This is particularly exhausting and an injury catalyst to our team's older statesmen.
If we want to maximize Duncan's last ounce of energy, we need not give him those unnecessary miles to run. I'm not saying that we ought to totally abolish FASTBALL. It's still a good change-of-pace strategy, which provides us with easy baskets. What I'm merely suggesting is that when Tim is NOT on the bench, we ought to refrain from playing up-tempo type of ballgame. His knees are no longer as strong as they used to. They're brittle, if I am to be blunt about it. A slower pace will allow him to settle down on offense and on defense. This is very essential.
In any championship run, the hardest and most important challenge is to stay healthy both individually and as a team. Our chances at capturing our 5th title still rests on the health of our old fellows. We shouldn't sacrifice it just for the sake of an early success. Homecourt advantage means nothing if our guys are not in top form.
This is my first fanpost, by the way. c",?