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The Extra Pass: Spurs relying on lineups that aren’t working

May 16, 2013, 1:41 PM EDT

San Antonio Spurs head coach Popovich reacts during the second half of their NBA Western Conference quarterfinal playoff basketball game against the Golden State Warriors in San Antonio

Of the 35 most-used lineups in the playoffs, just three have negative net ratings and belong to teams that are still playing.

All three belong to the Spurs.

Tony Parker-Danny Green-Kawhi Leonard-Tim Duncan-Tiago Splitter: 70 minutes

  • Offensive rating: 103.5
  • Defensive rating: 108.9
  • Net rating: –5.4

Tony Parker-Manu Ginobili-Danny Green-Kawhi Leonard-Tim Duncan: 36 minutes

    • Offensive rating: 81.2
    • Defensive rating: 101.7
    • Net rating: –20.4

Tony Parker-Danny Green-Kawhi Leonard-Tim Duncan-Matt Bonner: 32 minutes

    • Offensive rating: 113.2
    • Defensive rating: 115.7
    • Net rating: –2.5

An over-reliance on bad lineups is often a sign of poor coaching, but this is Gregg Popovich and the Spurs we’re talking about. It’s not bad coaching, but I can’t figure out what’s going wrong with these lineups – especially the Parker-Green-Leonard-Duncan-Splitter group. That lineup had a +18.1 net rating during the regular season. The other two lineups had negative ratings during the regular season, but San Antonio used them each in 82 games about as much as it has in nine playoff games.

Popovich is obviously doing something right, because the Spurs are 7-2 in the playoffs. But if he suddenly tweaks his rotation, now you’ll know what he’s trying to fix.

  1. bucrightoff - May 16, 2013 at 2:03 PM

    I’m pretty sure the guy who once listed Tim Duncan as DNP – Old knows exactly what he’s doing.

  2. misterdreamer119 - May 16, 2013 at 2:43 PM

    Just finish off the warriors tonight and lets get spurs vs grizz this weekend

    • Mr. Wright 212 - May 16, 2013 at 3:03 PM

      Not happening.

      • andrewproughcfe - May 17, 2013 at 8:00 AM

        Happened.

  3. dedalus13 - May 16, 2013 at 3:11 PM

    So these lineups comprising Parker Green Leonard Duncan got outscored in 138 minutes out of the total 447 (3 OT?) the spurs have played so far. Good for 30% of the time spent on the floor. So what were the lineups that performed well? Did they also comprise the same core of 4? With the 3 lineups above it’s already 7 important players in the rotation. There must be some good combinations for the spurs as well in order to be 7-2 out of those 35 most used lineups, what are they?

  4. reasonablemindsays - May 16, 2013 at 3:16 PM

    Parker, Duncan, and Leonard are all in each of those lineups.

    Maybe Pop should bench them, that’s clearly what’s holding this team back.

    Or maybe writers should understand how sample size can make certain statistics useless.

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