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Popovich cites turnovers as common denominator in Spurs’ Finals losses

Jun 14, 2013, 6:02 PM EDT


SAN ANTONIO — The Spurs have been remarkably efficient in these playoffs, and have lost just four times in total through 14 postseason games.

After a San Antonio loss in Game 4 of the Finals evened the series at two games apiece, Gregg Popovich was asked on Friday if there was a common thread he could see as an area that his team needs to address in order to have the best chance of avoiding future losses.

“Oftentimes or most of the time, the great majority of the time it’s about turnovers,” Popovich said. “It’s about not taking care of the basketball. Because it’s not just, you gave them another possession. People forget you lost your possession. You might have scored one, two or three points, or four, I guess, in rare situations. But you didn’t score and the other team oftentimes‑‑ especially the better the team you play, like Miami — you turn it over and they’re going to score. It’s basically a dunk or a lay‑up at the other end of the court.

“So it’s always a swing of four points, at least. And that’s what really takes its toll. That’s why we were so happy after Game 1 when we just had four turnovers. Since then we’ve been plagued, largely due to their outstanding defense.”

The Heat are one of the most dangerous transition teams in the game, and turnovers lead to fast break opportunities at the other end that are often difficult to stop.

In Game 4, the Spurs turned it over 19 times, and Miami was able to take advantage to the tune of 23 points. By contrast, the Heat turned it over just nine times, and San Antonio was able to turn that into only eight points.

That’s a difference of 15 points, and the final margin of victory for the Heat was 16.

In the Spurs’ other loss in the series in Game 2, the difference in points off of turnovers was 17 in the Heat’s favor, in a game Miami won by 19 points.

Not surprisingly, Popovich might be onto something.

  1. pmx8411 - Jun 14, 2013 at 7:12 PM

    just keep shooting three’s and make them that should even it out with the turnovers

  2. casualcommenter - Jun 14, 2013 at 7:44 PM

    For this reason, the most ominous sign for the Spurs was Parker being limited to 31 minutes last night despite the game being competitive until halfway through the 4th quarter.

    With Ginobili being a shell of his former self, and Parker on a minutes-limit due to his injury, the Spurs don’t have many experience ball handlers who could exploit the Heat’s aggressive trapping defense.

  3. anhdazman - Jun 14, 2013 at 7:58 PM

    Game 3 SA intensity level was incredible. The team created 3 point opportunities. It seemed in game 4 they couldn’t get enough looks behind the stripe. SA must rotate the ball more to get those same 3 point looks.
    Their 3 point percentage was still good in game 4, but they just didn’t take enough shots.

    • kinggw - Jun 14, 2013 at 8:11 PM

      Game 3 was an anomaly, an outlier. The Heat, particularly Wade, were late on rotations early in the game and as a result Neal and Green were able to take a bunch of uncontested threes and get into a rhythm. They won’t get off like that again.

      Furthermore, the Spurs aren’t the Knicks. They don’t want to shoot that many threes. If they are taking 30+ threes a game something is wrong.

    • savvybynature - Jun 15, 2013 at 1:19 AM

      It wasn’t really that big of an outlier. The Heat were rotating aggressively to the roll man in the paint on the PnR, so the Spurs reversed the ball to the weak side wing and found open shooters. They didn’t just jack up 32 threes because they felt good about their shot that game. They shot because they were open (offensive rebounds also had something to do with that).
      The Heat adjusted to stay tighter on the shooters and ironed out where their help defenders would come from.
      As for how many 3s you want to shoot a game, it doesn’t matter what team you are you will take good 3-point shooters shooting open 3s all day. As long as its Green, Neal and even Kawhi taking the shots and they are open, the Spurs would be happy to take 50 three-point shots a game.

  4. jimthebuilder27 - Jun 14, 2013 at 8:23 PM

    Obviously turnovers are bad. The key is how to prevent them.

  5. 2late2matter - Jun 14, 2013 at 8:31 PM

    Good Defense creates turnovers and Offense score the points.

  6. funktron2x - Jun 14, 2013 at 11:24 PM

    And therein lies the rub. If Miami gets out running, nobody can beat them without a ton of luck. If you don’t turn it over and make them play half-court, you can keep them down. As for threes, sa absolutely wants to shoot lots of them, but only if in rhythm and when open. They don’t just jack them for the sake of jacking.

  7. gmsingh123 - Jun 15, 2013 at 6:44 AM

    The Spurs are clearly one of the best coached teams in the NBA, but I am surprised watching them at who loose their ball handling is. The Heat are *really* good at stealing passes, and yet the Spurs fall into the same trap over and over.

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