San Antonio–I’m trying to remember off the top of my head all the times this season L.D. has said the team’s pick-and-roll coverages broke down late in games.
The last time was at Miami, when LeBron turned the corner and found that no Hawks player seemed to be responsible for cutting him off as he went barreling down the lane. It happened against the Knicks, too, once Smoove wasn’t in the back to discourage such excursions. Of course Phoenix and Utah gave the Hawks trouble with screen-rolls.
So now here comes the Spurs, with the Tony Parker and Tim Duncan capable of scrambling Atlanta’s defense.
“They are one of the better pick-and-roll teams in our league,” Drew said. “Parker, he is just really good at it. He is one of the best in the league because of the speed, the quickness. He reads the defenses really well coming off the pick-and-roll. That is one of the primary focuses tonight going into this game. We know there is a chance we will probably have to make some adjustments with out coverages. We may start one way and two or three minutes into it may have to make a change.”
The Parker/Duncan vs. Bibby/Twin pick-and-roll showdown looks like a mismatch on paper.
“It will be a big test for [Collins],” Drew said. “But I don’t care who is involved in the pick-and-roll, whether it is Twin or whether it is Josh or whether it is Al–you are talking about three guys that are all a little bit different from a footspeed standpoint but Parker has the ability to still get in the paint off of it. We are going to have to do a good job on it with not just the guys involved in it but the guys off the ball as well.”
Pop gets with it
Here are San Antonio’s league ranking in pace factor starting from the 2002-03 season until last year: 19th, 19th, 24th, 27th, 28th, 27th, 20th.
So far this season the Spurs rank 10th in pace. It’s a change in approach for their old-school coach, Gregg Popovich, but L.D. said he’s not surprised.
“He recognizes that he has a guy, Tony Parker, who has been in the league a long time who still has the wheels,” Drew said. “If I have a guy that has that ability that can put that kind of pressure, I have got to utilize it. Certainly it looks like everybody has made the commitment to get involved in the break It is nice when you have a guy like that who can get into the interior of the defense before the defense is set.”
Pain but no pads
It seems the severity of Marvin’s limp depends on which day you check in on him. I’d put it at about a five on the scale before the game tonight.
“I am doing all right,” he said. “I get treatment when I need it. It is painful at times, other times it manageable. It is pretty much the same. Just kind of plugging away.”
He said he took a shot to the knee from Brandon Bass at Orlando Monday in about the same place where he originally hurt it. But Marvin said he dislikes wearing kneepads.
“I can’t operate in them,” he said. “It just feels too weird. I tried one time in practice and they kept falling down. I tried another set, and I just didn’t like the way they felt. I will be OK. If it starts to hurt too much Coach Drew has been cool about letting me chill in practice.”