Posts tagged: Gregg Popovich
The Celtics have gotten rid of their morning walkthrough, but that doesn’t mean we have to. Here are a few Celtics links, and maybe even an NBA link or two, to help wake you up and get you focused for the day.
Chris Forsberg, ESPNBoston – “‘I think the start of the third quarter kind of tore the game away,’ said Shelden Williams. ‘We kind of got robotic in the second half and couldn’t come back.’ The Celtics used to be robotic in the third quarter, in a good way. That’s no longer the case. And of all the trademarks this team needs in order to maintain a championship level, third-quarter competitiveness could be the most important.”
Julian Benbow, Boston Globe – “The Celtics are in the middle of a six-game homestand, with Oklahoma City, Houston, and Cleveland on tap. Having gained a sense of consistency in the past month, they didn’t view last night’s loss as a momentum-killer, but more as a throwaway. ‘You trip up a little bit here, but what we’re doing, the mission that we’re on doesn’t change,’ said Allen. Or as Rondo succinctly put it, ‘Scratch this one.’”
Mark Murphy, Boston Herald – “Paul Pierce initially collapsed, much to the horror of the crowd, after taking a Manu Ginobili elbow to his right shoulder with 5:59 left in the third quarter. The captain stayed in the game and made 1-of-2 during that trip to the free throw line. He’s not concerned. ‘It’s a little sore,’ Pierce said. ‘It’s a stinger. I got some numbness down the right side of my arm, but hopefully it doesn’t get any worse.’”
Steve Bulpett, Boston Herald – “But then the Celtics were awful last night. They were outscored by five in the second quarter and by 16 in the third as Manu Ginobili took them apart. The Spurs began getting to virtually every loose ball. The Celts seemed sound asleep while their guests were kicking sand in their faces on the way to a 94-73 loss. It is the kind of stuff that will send them home early from the postseason. With nine games and a little more than two weeks left in this fall turned winter turned spring training, it is impossible to predict with any certainty what this team will do once push comes to playoffs.”
Mark Murphy, Boston Herald – “‘When you’re down by 20 with two minutes to go against San Antonio, you pretty much know,’ said Paul Pierce. ‘The way they played is the way we usually play, and we just got an old-fashioned butt whupping. They came out with more of a sense of urgency in the second quarter – just the extra effort plays. They had us on our heels most of the second half.’”
Chris Forsberg, ESPNBoston – “The Celtics did a decent job on Tim Duncan (8 points, 9 rebounds over 26:31), but Rivers said the team had no answer for Ginobili. ‘Oh, I could look at the box score before the game and say, ‘I would take that on their end.’ Except for Ginobili, he said. “When Ginobili has points and assists they usually win. And 28.7 assists is a great indicator for them. That means his hand print [is there and] Ginobili dominated this game. All the loose balls that he kept alive, that he didn’t get credit for, defensive plays — I thought he single-handedly was the will of the game. And then Blair just followed in. But once you get a chance to beat a team on the road, and a team like us, your energy does go up. And you can see that with them in the fourth quarter. It was going to be tough to turn it around.’”
Gary Washburn, Boston Globe – “Popovich has the same issues as Celtics coach Doc Rivers. He has to preserve his veterans for the postseason, season his youngsters, and fight for playoff seeding simultaneously. Popovich accomplished all three last night. George Hill (15 points) is turning into quite a player with Tony Parker out with a broken right hand. Ginobili wore out the Celtics with 28 points, and he was two steps into the paint before any Celtic reacted. ‘Playing against the Spurs, you know, it’s the extra pass,’ Rivers said. ‘You’re not going to beat them off the bounce. And it seemed like we were hellbent in trying to do that. And it’s like [Popovich] said before the game to me, ‘You’re not going to beat the Celtics off the bounce.’ And they didn’t. They moved the ball. They kept swinging it, kept passing it. They did what we were supposed to do.’”
Julian Benbow, Boston Globe – “Playing against Finley for the first time since letting him go, Popovich made two things clear: the matchup was not with Finley alone, and that there are no hard feelings. ‘I don’t blame him a lick,’ Popovich said. ‘He’s one of the greatest guys I’ve ever coached, but he wanted to keep playing. He didn’t want to sit on the bench for the rest of the season. There’s nothing wrong with that. He wanted to play.’”
Michael Finley left the San Antonio Spurs of his own accord, but he was on good terms with his teammates and coaching staff. Finley says he doesn’t have any bitterness for the organization, despite receiving little to no nightly playing time this season.
But he still wants to kick their ass. (ESPNBoston)
“I still want to beat them, believe me,” Finley said with a smile. “I don’t want to go out and roll over dead for them. It’s still my job to go out there and do my best to give my team the best chance to win the ball game. Although we’re friends, I want to destroy them. I still want to beat them. That’s not going to change. The fact that we’re friends, it’s something we can laugh and cheer about before or after the game, but that 48 minutes, it’s all about business.”
Finley former teammates hold no hostility for him, either. While Manu Giniobili admitted, “It’s going to be awkward to see him in green and white,” he denied having any harsh feeling towards Fin, who asked for a contract buyout after appearing in only 25 of the Spurs’ first 57 games. (San Antonio Express-News)
“I’m glad he’s in a place where he is playing more and feeling good,” Ginobili said. “It’s not like he just jumped off the boat and didn’t care about us anymore. He has a great heart, and he’s a great teammate. Nothing’s going to change my opinion of him.”
Finley says he holds no grudges against the Spurs, but it’s tough to believe. He clearly felt he had something left in the tank this season, and Gregg Popovich never gave him any opportunities to reveal it. I know Finley probably has a lot of respect for Pop, his coaching tactics, and probably even developed a friendship with him, too.
But, if it’s me, I’d still be pissed off I got no playing time to showcase my still-solid talent. I’d be out there gunning for 25, winking at Pop after every bucket. I’d want to show him just how badly he misjudged me. Because Finley clearly still has some gas left in that 37 year old tank of his, but Gregg Popovich didn’t think so.
Still, whether Finley goes off to impress his old coach, Finley’s most important contributions tonight might come from somewhere else.
“You’re giving the scouting report tomorrow,” Doc Rivers told him.
He sat the bench, frustration boiling, watching his team underachieve while players he once would have run circles around played his minutes. Michael Finley still felt he could contribute to his team’s cause, but Gregg Popovich apparently felt otherwise.
Still, Finley never complained. He merely voiced his opinions to teammates, his friends, discussing with them the possibility that he might ask to be waived in order to receive a better chance to play elsewhere. Finley was disgruntled in San Antonio, but never let it affect his mood in the locker room. Finley’s coach Gregg Popovich never realized Finley was thinking about leaving, probably because Finley came to work with the same good attitude he has had for his entire career. Finley, you see, is as good a teammate as they come. Read more »