San Antonio Spurs vs. Houston Rockets 10/24/14: Video Highlights and Recap

Two of the NBA‘s best teams squared off Friday night when the Houston Rockets met the San Antonio Spurs in a preseason clash. The Spurs brought a balanced, explosive offense into the matchup but faced a tough test from the Rockets, who had a high-octane attack of their own. 

Watch the video for full highlights.

Read more NBA news on BleacherReport.com

View full post on Bleacher Report – NBA

Harden helps Rockets beat Spurs 96-87 in preseason (Yahoo Sports)

HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 24: James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets celerates after a three-point shot during their preseason game against the San Antonio Spurs at Toyota Center on October 24, 2014 in Houston, Texas (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

The Houston Rockets finished off the preseason with a solid defensive effort against the San Antonio Spurs. James Harden scored 25 points, and Houston used a big run before halftime to beat San Antonio 96-87 on Friday night. The Rockets held the Spurs to 41 percent shooting. They also forced 16 San Antonio turnovers, 13 in the first half.


View full post on Yahoo Sports – NBA News

Ranking Every Season of Gregg Popovich as San Antonio Spurs Head Coach

Can San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich improve upon a 2013-14 campaign that may have been his finest yet?

After inking a multiyear extension with the club this summer, he’ll have a few opportunities to do just that. Star veterans Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili may be reaching the end of their respective careers, but 32-year-old Tony Parker remains in his prime, and 2014 NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard is just beginning to discover his.

There are almost certainly more good times ahead.

And they’re plenty already in the rearview mirror.

Here’s a look at how each of Popovich’s seasons rank in terms of San Antonio’s overall success. Taking regular-season performances and playoff outcomes into account, here’s a look at which incarnations of the Spurs are especially memorable in Popovich’s 18 seasons in the driver’s seat.

Begin Slideshow

View full post on Bleacher Report – NBA

Spurs vs. Rockets: Live Score and Highlights from 2014 NBA Preseason

The Houston Rockets and San Antonio Spurs will wrap up their preseason schedules Friday evening when the Southwest Division foes clash at Toyota Center. 

Following a 90-89 victory over the Orlando Magic, Houston will be looking to round out its exhibition slate with a sixth win. 

Thanks to 14 points apiece from Isaiah Canaan and Troy Daniels, the Rockets were able to escape with a narrow victory despite the absences of Dwight Howard and Trevor Ariza

Howard will sit again Friday after suffering a laceration on his forearm that required stitches, according to the Houston Chronicle‘s Jenny Dial Creech

Conversely, the Spurs have compiled a record of 2-4 after falling to the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday. 

In the loss, five Spurs players scored in double figures, including Tony Parker, who led San Antonio with 17 points and seven assists in 27 minutes. 

Rookie Kyle Anderson put together a nice showing, as well, totaling 10 points, two steals and two rebounds in 18 minutes off the bench. 

You can catch all the action at 8 p.m. ET on NBA TV. 

Keep it locked here on Bleacher Report throughout the night for real-time updates, highlights and analysis of all things Spurs-Rockets. 

Read more NBA news on BleacherReport.com

View full post on Bleacher Report – NBA

NBA GMs say Spurs will win it all again

Association released results of its annual survey

      
 

 

View full post on USATODAY – NBA Top Stories

It Matters That San Antonio Spurs Will Never Fly Under the Radar Again

SAN ANTONIO — The last three years have been a reintroduction of sorts for the San Antonio Spurs.

After two opening-round defeats in 2009 and 2011, the Duncan-Popovich era appeared destined for decline until 2012′s march to the Western Conference Finals. A 2013 Finals appearance and 2014 championship restored a legacy that had all but been proclaimed a thing of the past.

It’s been a gradual and eventually irrefutable reemergence.

Even after 2013′s remarkable collapse in a seven-game series against the Miami Heat, there remained a very real sense that San Antonio had finally run out of gas after one last, admirable quest for glory.

And such is existence for the Spurs, no matter how thoroughly they destroy their competition,” Hardwood Paroxysm’s Andrew Lynch wrote in Nov. 2013. “They’re constantly winning, yet rarely celebrated. Hell, forget celebrations—they’re hardly even acknowledged.” 

Consider 2014 the Great Acknowledgement, a year in which we were all reminded what an exceptional and enduring story Tim Duncan and Gregg Popovich have quietly authored since they came together in 1997.

On the heels of a five-game series decided by the widest margin of victory in Finals history, this especially deep roster of Spurs has turned doubts into expectations.

Recently named the best organization in all of the four major professional sports in ESPN’s Ultimate Team Rankings, there’s suddenly a prevailing belief that San Antonio isn’t finished just yet.

The Spurs were more recently voted most likely to win the 2015 Finals by NBA.com’s 2014-15 survey of league general managers.

In a landslide, 46.2 percent of the GMs picked the Silver and Black to win it all, a sizable margin over the 15.4 percent who chose the Cleveland Cavaliers.

As you might imagine, the franchise hasn’t taken those expectations to heart—even as back-to-back championships remain the one thing standing between these Spurs and Phil Jackson’s definition of a real dynasty.

“Why haven’t we repeated? Because we haven’t,” Popovich said at the team’s media day in September. “If we do, it would be great. If we don’t, life will go on and everything’s cool.”

“Just to be clear, we’ve never had any goals whatsoever in the sense of winning ‘X’ number of games or this year is our year to win a championship,” he added. ”All we’ve said is that we want to be the best team we can be at playoff time and that starts with the very first practice and it’s a building block sort of thing.”

It’s a predictable talking point from the process-oriented skipper.

The Spurs are renowned for never getting too high or too low, and they certainly aren’t ones to get too far ahead of themselves. This season’s primary objectives will look like every other’s. There’s always room for in-house improvement.

So while this franchise encounters a hype rarely afforded understated, small-market teams, the Spurs themselves will make every effort to ignore media-driven narratives. They’ll say as much as they have to say, and they’ll do their jobs without asking for credit.

When confronted with choices about what kind of players they want to be, they’ll probably ask themselves what Duncan would do.

San Antonio’s standard operating procedure is as indebted to the two-time MVP as it is to Popovich’s regime.

As ESPN.com’s Kevin Arnovitz put it in June,

The most gifted players have every right to leverage their talents into power and have a voice in where and with whom they want to work. Duncan claimed that authority and chose to spend his capital on establishing a culture. He wants pro basketball to be about the work and to sell itself on the strength of the game’s actual appeal rather than the atmospherics or drama. That’s Duncan believing in the craft of basketball.

That rejection of theatrics will be tested this season.

The Spurs have been good before—perhaps great—but they’re more interesting now. The motion-based offense has become a thing of selfless beauty. For the first time in league history, no one on last season’s roster averaged 30 or more minutes per game. Everything that happens on and off the court is defined by seamless execution.

While there are no contract controversies or off-court distractions grabbing headlines, this team still makes for a good story. It draws attention in spite of itself.

All the more attention as Duncan and Popovich pursue a sixth title together.

Following up last season’s masterpiece won’t be easy. Whereas the 2013-14 Spurs were motivated to avenge Ray Allen’s clutch three-pointer in an unforgettable Game 6, this season’s group is coming off a historically one-sided achievement.

“I’m worried for one reason,” Popovich told the San Antonio Express-NewsBuck Harvey in September. “They are human beings. They are going to feel satisfied.”

If there’s a source of inspiration guiding this season’s effort, it may be that Duncan and Popovich won’t have many more opportunities to do this. The latter signed a multiyear extension this summer, but the former is in the last year of his contract—and could conceivably retire in 2015.

Popovich could very well outlast his legendary big man, overseeing the emergence of Kawhi Leonard and whatever’s left of Tony Parker’s career, as he told reporters this month:

That’s very possible. I always said that [he'd leave with Duncan], because it’s kind of a funny line. It seems pretty logical and smart to do that. I know where my bread is buttered.

But I basically made the same commitments to Manu [Ginobili] and to Tony that when they signed contracts, they wanted to know if I’m going to be here and I tell them I am, so it’s pretty tough to go ahead and leave.

Popovich will turn 66 in January, and the Spurs should remain a force so long as he’s around. Leonard is only beginning to come into his own after being named Finals MVP a season ago. With a timely addition or two, there’s nothing stopping this team from contending at the outset of the post-Duncan era.

In any event, we probably shouldn’t be surprised if they do—irreplaceable as Duncan is.

It’s the kind of predictability we’ve come to expect given general manager R.C. Buford’s track record since 2002. The front office’s penchant for savvy decision-making has made success a norm even as so many faces have changed over the years.

We’ll continue caring about the Spurs for the foreseeable future—even if they prefer otherwise.

Read more NBA news on BleacherReport.com

View full post on Bleacher Report – NBA

5 Keys to San Antonio Spurs Breaking Through for 1st Repeat Championship

The San Antonio Spurs‘ NBA Finals victory over the Miami Heat last postseason marked the fifth time the silver and black brought the Larry O’Brien Trophy home. However, the 2014-15 team can accomplish a new feat.

Never has the franchise won two consecutive titles, but San Antonio is working to change that fact.

Bleacher Report’s Ethan Skolnick writes the thought of back-to-back championships doesn’t necessarily excite the Spurs, they simply want to attain a goal that coincidentally could happen in two straight seasons.

Regardless, all 14 members return from the squadplus one addition in UCLA product Kyle Anderson—so the Spurs boast the league’s roster most familiar with each other.

But it’s not a matter of showing up and winning, Gregg Popovich’s team will rely on a handful of keys for the repeat title to materialize.

Begin Slideshow

View full post on Bleacher Report – NBA

Spurs rally to beat Kings 106-99 (Yahoo Sports)

SAN ANTONIO, TX - OCTOBER 20: Jeff Ayres #11 of the San Antonio Spurs prepares to shoot a free throw against the Sacramento Kings at the AT&T Center on October 20, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Jeff Ayres had 15 points and rookie Kyle Anderson added 14 points as the San Antonio Spurs overcame DeMarcus Cousin’s 32 points and 11 rebounds to rally for a 106-99 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Monday night.


View full post on Yahoo Sports – NBA News

Spurs Tackle NBA Title Defense with Consistency in Their Message and Players

SAN ANTONIO — Kyle Anderson has had it easy, relatively speaking. Not only did he have some help, from fellow rookies who, unlike him, aren’t expected to make the San Antonio Spurs‘ final roster. But when the first-round pick from UCLA was told to sing “Happy Birthday” to the organization’s latest import, long-time Euroleague coach Ettore Messina, he was allowed to do it in just one language:   

English. 

“That’s the only one I know,” Anderson said, laughing.   

It isn’t the only one spoken in these parts, of course. The Spurs have long been the most multi-lingual operation outside of Rosetta Stone, to the point that even the Jacob Riis quote about pounding the rock until it finally splitsthe one that Gregg Popovich has adopted as the squad’s mantrais posted in Spanish, French, Portuguese and Latin in the corridor leading to the locker room, where it is is posted in English on the wall adjacent to Tim Duncan’s locker. 

But there is another language spoken here, one that has been honed over the past 17 years, an era in which San Antonio’s NBA franchise has made 17 playoff appearances, reached six NBA Finals, won five championships and never produced a winning percentage under .610, even while playing in what has typically been the more powerful of the league’s two conferences. 

You can call that language Spurs-ian.

By now, it should require no translation. 

The dialect has evolved slightly over the years, twisted slightly by the tongues of dozens and dozens of different speakers. But it has always been marked by certain core characteristics, notably its liberal, earnest use of sports clichespouting time-honored principles such as discipline and teamwork and sacrificeas well as its rote, dismissive responses to the media’s silly storylines. 

It is still spoken in the Alamo City. This was evident on a reporter’s recent visit, when that reporter tried to push a series of premises, built on the notion that the Spurs are about anything other than striving for excellence for its own sake. 

The first premise? That the Spurs might struggle some to summon the same fire during the upcoming 2014-15 season, which follows their near-perfect NBA Finals victory, as they had last season, when they were driven to destruction by the 2013 NBA Finals heartbreak in Miami. 

Surely, the absence of that trigger has to be of concern, after Popovich openly acknowledged last season that his team had turned Ray Allen’s dagger into a motivational weapon. As veteran forward Matt Bonner acknowledges, “It’s impossible to replicate the same exact circumstances. I think, psychologically, there’s a difference between winning a championship and coming off losing the way we did the year before. It’s up to us to be professionals, be competitors. Same group of guys helps, I think, because we can hold ourselves accountable and play as a team, and try to build off that.”

But some teams can get full of themselves, especially if they’re being told just about every day, as guard Danny Green was by everyone, that they just played a beautiful, practically perfect brand of basketball. They might spend their summer reviewing that glorious tape, as they blistered the Heat in five games.

So the Spurs did that, right? 

“No,” Bonner said. “No. Not much. I’ve seen highlights a couple of times, but that’s about it.”

“No,” veteran center/forward Boris Diaw said. “I still haven’t. No. I just kind of remember. I don’t need to watch it.” 

Fine.

Still, Popovich had to have some concern about the way his team has come back from its most recent, somewhat more celebratory offseason.

So he’s pleased about their approach? 

“Well, I didn’t expect them all to come back 20 pounds overweight or anything,” he scoffed. “They just came back like they do every year. Just like Miami came back, I’m sure, after the loss last year. These guys are all pros, they come back. It’s their job, they go to work, and then we see what happens. None of us know what’s going to happen at the end of the year. But no, I’m not surprised by the way they come back.”

And they all did come backwell, all but one. Damion James, the only Spur not to play a minute in the 2014 playoffs, signed with Washington prior to training camp, with Anderson expected to take his spot. That’s 14 returnees, two more than the Heat had at the start of the season following their past two championships, six more than the Mavericks had after winning the 2011 title, six more than the Lakers had after the 2010 title (though it should be noted they had just 13 players on that 2010 title roster).

That’s three more than returned after the Spurs’ 2007 championship; four more than returned after the Spurs’ 2005 championship; eight more than returned after the Spurs’ 2003 championship, after which David Robinson retired and Steve Smith and Stephen Jackson were among the notables to sign elsewhere; and four more than returned after the Spurs’ 1999 championship. 

It’s the most returnees from a title team since the Heat brought back 13 players from their 2006 champion, including everyone but Shandon Anderson and Derek Anderson, and got swept out of the first round by Chicago

“It’s very rare,” guard Danny Green said. “Usually teams after they win one, they usually break apart. Guys go different places, and get traded. It’s rare when you see a team where everybody comes back. I think it’s different. Hopefully we can do something different. It’s not easy. It’s not easy to repeat at all. We know that. But at the same time, I think we have the professionals here, and guys to lead us to get it done. Pop, Tony (Parker), Timmy and Manu (Ginobili) on down, they’ve won before. This is the first for our young guys. We are just following their lead and we’ll be OK.” 

But, of course, none of those leaders have ever repeated either. The Spurs have never even reached the NBA Finals following a victory. 

How about that as a second premise?

Becoming the first team in franchise history to do that? 

Is that enough of a carrot?

“For sure,” Green said. “We’re all about reaching and achieving goals. Every time we set foot on the floor, we want to compete and win.” 

Right, Matt Bonner?

It’s about the repeat?

“I think just winning a championship, whether it’s a repeat or not, is all the motivation you need,” Bonner said. “You know, it’s the ultimate. You dedicate so much of your life to achieving that goal, you sacrifice so much, that you never know how many chances you’re gonna get.” 

What say you, Boris Diaw?

What would it be like to stand out among Spurs, as a back-to-back champion?

“What if they already did it?” the veteran forward/center said, smiling. “We wouldn’t want to do it again? We’d try to do it again anyway, even if they did it in the past.” 

So, if the “repeat” thing doesn’t engender extra excitement, and with 82 gamesplus the playoffsproving to be a grind for so many recent champions, is there a risk of boredom? Of complacency? Of getting tired of each other? Several members of the 2014 Heatfrom Chris Bosh to Dwyane Wadehave admitted that the grind got to them, and that many of them needed a fresh start. (They got it, incidentally, with only seven members of the 2013-14 Heat still in that organization, and only nine currently in the NBA anywhere).

How about that a third premise: that the Spurs will sour on each other? On the season? On the process? That they will take greatness for granted?

“You don’t just pick up where you left off,” Bonner said. “You can’t skip any steps, physically and mentally. You don’t come out of training camp playing championship basketball, generally speaking. I’m sure it’s easier said than done, but you can never relax, never be satisfied, especially the way the Western Conference is built. There are great teams getting better, so we’re going to have to get better too, if we want to try to win another championship.”

Can they commit to that? Again? Even without artificial enticements? Even without revenge on their minds?

“I think we’ll be OK,” Green said. “Just us being us. Just wanting to win. Everybody here is a competitor. And just having a mindset of not being satisfied. Obviously it’s a different year, it’s not the same size chip on our shoulder as we had before. We’ve still got to play like we do. And be just as hungry as we were before, just as motivated. We know we have to be even more perfect than we were last year, because teams are coming at us even harder, an even bigger sized target on our chest.” 

Even if it doesn’t appear to unnerve them. 

“We were close [in 2013], but we didn’t do enough, we [had] to be more perfect,” Diaw said. “We did better last year. Now the mentality is OK, we did good, now we’ve got to do it again. We’ve got to play the same way, we’ve got to bring back the same energy. At least we remember how we did it. It was not easy. We had a lot of work behind it, a lot of motivation. So now the mindset is to do it again. I think it should be the same. But just be a little bit better. We’ve got the same guys.”

Well, and one new one. 

“He’s obviously got a heck of a lot to learn,” Popovich said of Anderson, “but he’s done a good job in trying to jump on board and keep up with everybody.”

Shortly after Popovich said so before last weekend’s preseason game against Miami, Anderson sat in front of his corner stall in the quiet Spurs dressing room. He spoke of trying fit in, of using this season as a learning experience, of modeling himself after his elders, in terms of the way they prepare and eat and act.

“They’re professionals off the court, not only on the court,” Anderson said. “That’s something I can take with me as long as I’m a professional….And I think Kawhi [Leonard] is an excellent example, a guy who bought in. He trusted the staff that they would make him better, and it’s worked out for him. That’s the only thing I can do, is come in here and trust the Spurs.”

Yeah, he’s keeping up.

He already speaks fluent Spurs-ian. 

 

Ethan Skolnick covers the NBA for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter,@EthanJSkolnick.

Read more NBA news on BleacherReport.com

View full post on Bleacher Report – NBA

San Antonio Spurs’ Biggest Red Flags Entering This Season

The San Antonio Spurs are the reigning NBA champions, but that doesn’t mean they enter the 2014-15 season without red flags popping up.

While their problems might not be as damaging as other franchises face, the Spurs still must battle a supremely talented Western Conference throughout the year.

Overcoming these issues and starting hot early is important to securing a playoff spot, and San Antonio will rely on its deep bench—one that has some lingering questions surrounding it.

Begin Slideshow

View full post on Bleacher Report – NBA

Next Page »