Gregg Popovich has been coasting this year.
He has rolled out the same starting five for 53 of the team’s 54 games (Manu Ginolbili had to miss a game so George Hill started). His rotations have been pretty much the same every night. He’s given the same speeches to the same players so many times he may as well just put a video of himself at the front of the room talking about focusing on defense and rebounding.
At least that’s what it looks like, and Popovich was willing to play along with the San Antonio News Express.
“It’s like I don’t have a job anymore,” Popovich said.
Popovich, it seems, has discovered a downside to a 44-8 record.
“It’s boring as hell,” he said.
The upside? Popovich says the Spurs’ apparent shift to autopilot has freed up more time for his real passions.
“Wine and reading,” Popovich said.
And if you believe any of that, Popovich has a bridge in wine country to sell you. Players say Popovich has been just as engaged this season as last, when he started 25 different lineups and the Spurs had to struggle just to make the playoffs as a seventh seed.
Hey Pops, Byron Scott would be willing to trade his exciting job for yours any time.
Obviously this is just Popovich joking and making a point about staying focused and motivated through the dog days of the season. Popovich pushes, has his team pounding the rock, getting everything ready for the playoffs. And, obviously, he is doing a fantastic job at it.
Billy Donovan was given the head coaching job in Oklahoma City to bring their offense into modern times — and it seems to be working, Russell Westbrook said he feels a lot more space in the system.
But if the Thunder are going to contend for a title, they need a top 10 defense as well — and to do that Donovan is going to keep a Scott Brooks move and continue to start Andre Roberson and Steven Adams. Check out the starting lineup for their first preseason game Wednesday.
There also was this report via Anthony Slater in the Oklahoman yesterday about a scrimmage at practice.
Durant, Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka and Andre Roberson all started for the White team. Nick Collison joined them, but that was only because Steven Adams sat out with back soreness….
Donovan said the teams weren’t split by accident. That’s how they’ve been divided in practice. So at this point, it seems Roberson is this team’s starting shooting guard and Adams is the team’s starting center.
This is the smart move. Last season the lineup of Westbrook, Roberson, Durant, Ibaka and Adams was +13.4 points per 100 possessions over their opponents. Roberson and Adams are there for defense — neither brings much offensive game to the floor, but when you have Westbrook and Durant and only one ball between them, you don’t need more offensive threats. You’re going to get plenty of points.
If they can just stay healthy, Oklahoma City is a team to be feared.
The Hall of Fame player behind the original iron man streak is with us no more.
Knicks’ legend Harry Gallatin passes away at age 88, the team confirmed Wednesday.
Gallatin led the Knicks of the late 1940s and into the 1950s, when he set a then record playing in 610 consecutive games. Nicknamed “The Horse,” he was a beast on the boards who averaged 15.3 rebounds a game one season and averaged 11.9 boards and 13 points per game over the course of his 10-year career. He’s still fourth all time in total rebounds in Knicks franchise history.
Gallatin was a seven-time All-Star and twice All-NBA selection. After his playing days, he spent many years as the athletic director at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.
Our thoughts are with his family and friends.