When I think of fluent, fast and unselfish basketball, the Spurs were the first team that comes to my mind.
I was proud as Spurs fan when they didn't foul Miami's players two years ago, and when they chose to defend the basket, instead to make a foul. You know, Bosh tipped the ball, Allen received it in the corner, and the rest is the history.
That year, Gregg showed to all the world his greatness and tremendous feeling for the flow of the game. He didn't want to disturb and to destroy a play. Because he knows that all charm of the basketball lies in that uncertainty of the last second, last shot, and last attempt.
Gregg believed in his defense, and he allowed to fans across the world to enjoy the historical spectacle.
Do you remember more matches that are decided over the great play, or through the tantalizing free throws?
Popovich respected basketball that year. He trusted in his players, in his team, in his training and work, and because of that he chose to defend hoop from the last attack.
After that famous Allen's triple, things were back to the normal last year. With playful and spirited playing, Spurs won the championship and showed us one of the most dominant team games in the history of the basketball.
For me, it meant a lot because that was a confirmation that fair-play and positive way of the life always pay off. If not today, then tomorrow.
But, series with Clippers was the different story.
I don't want to jump on the bandwagon and justify Gregg tactic Hack-A-Jordan, just because he is the best coach in the league and because it's hard to compete with him.
The argument "play by the rules" and be a fair play is not the same at all.
It is not a trick that he invented. In this series, he didn't deserve applause for tactics. Maybe, from the Clippers side. He homogenized them and woke up a real defiance that drove them to the victory.
Spurs shot 68% free throws. Clippers had 65%. Any difference?
With slow pace and Hack-A-Jordan, they lost themselves.
San Antonio's basketball needs space to spread their wings and play their game. They prefer transition, ball sharing, backdoors, high energy and fast execution. They need flow, time and intensity during the game to pound that rock.
Spurs cut themselves from series because they didn't play in the way that they always play.
Intentional fouls on Jordan knocked them out of the game. With that approach, they deranged their usual rhythm - the Latino-French dance and signed capitulation.
When you make an intentional foul, it means that you trust more in the mistakes of others than your quality. It means that you don't trust in your defense, in your players. It means that you are afraid of the opponent.
All that did was allow us to set our defense. I think that's disrespectful to their players. Basically, they were telling their players that they couldn't guard us.
— Detroit Pistons forward Tayshaun Prince, regarding Los Angeles Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy's decision to employ the Hack-a-Shaq strategy against Pistons center Ben Wallace in a game in December 2005
Tony, Manu, Ol' man river and other basketball high IQ players just need to feel the game, start the engine and take a drive that will carry them through the victory. Not to stop, not to pull the brake and wait for the opponent turns.
Gregg established a base of the people from different part of the world that play like the one.
We need them, basketball needs them, to play like they always play, unselfishly, devotedly and honestly. They showed that to us many times.
Next year is another opportunity.
Just continue to pound the rock, and it will fall for the sixth time.
Spurs, Thank you in advance!
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