Welcome everyone to my new website. I’m really excited about the possibilities for this site in terms of interaction between myself and you, the fans.
Throughout the website, you can find a lot of fun stuff about me, my career in the NBA and at Butler, my work with kids at my basketball camp, and my passion for video games.
Probably my favorite part of the site is my new blog, G-Time. In G-Time, you can expect insight from me on what I’ve been up to on and off the court. I’ll definitely be doing some blogs about different video games and what I’m doing outside of basketball, but there will also be plenty about my playing career, what I’m working on to get better, and the ins and outs of the NBA, too.
That’s where we’ll start with my first entry.
The NBA Finals are underway, and it’s already been a thrilling series between the Spurs and Heat. I’ve watched all three games, and have been entertained and impressed by most of the action.
When the playoffs began, I was kind of hoping to see these two teams play each other again. We played each team a few times this year, and it was obvious that they were two of the best teams — if not the best teams — in the league.
I have to admit, I was kind of surprised with how well the Spurs played again this season. Given the stage that most of those guys are at in their careers and how many seasons they’ve been around, it’s incredible that they’re still able to go through an 82-game season, and finish with the best record in the NBA. Their consistent success is remarkable.
One of the things that makes the Spurs special: It doesn’t matter who they bring in each year. Whoever it is, they seem to come in and play effectively.
Coach Popovich obviously has his team disciplined extremely well. When guys come into the NBA after they’ve been the man at their college, they’re not always willing to listen to everything they’re being told to do. But Popovich gets guys to play their role and do their job. That’s why they’re successful.
I think it’s funny to watch him with the media. There are times when all of us don’t want to talk. I can’t imagine being a coach, and having to do interviews in the middle of a game. I’d probably be the same way. If they pulled me aside after the first quarter and wanted to do an interview, I might look at them like they were crazy or something. I’d be real short with them, too. So I think we can relate.
THE DIFFERENCE MAKERS
When you look at Game 3, the two guys that stepped up — Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green — haven’t been on the team since the beginning like some of the other guys. Still, they rose to the occasion just the same.
Green made a lot of plays that made you say, “I didn’t know he could do that.” He had three steals early in the game, and if he’s playing defense like he did, that adds a whole other dimension to his game.
But he’s obviously become known for his shooting. From guarding and watching him, I can say that he’s one of those guys where you have to be on his hip at all times — especially with the confidence he’s gotten over the past couple years. He can put in six or seven threes real quick. So he’s a guy that you’ve got to try and chase off the three-point line. That’s always the goal, to make him dribble. If he makes plays off his dribble, you kind of live with that.
I like the way that Kawhi approaches the game, and the way that he fits in with that team. Kawhi is an X factor. I think he proved that in Game 3. He didn’t play very well the first two games, but when he plays well, they’re a different team. In Game 3, he was a little more aggressive, and he’s shown in the past that when he’s more aggressive, he tends to do pretty well.
Kawhi’s going up against LeBron James right now, who might be the strongest wing out of anybody in the league, so he might get bullied a little bit by LeBron. But that’s kind of Kawhi’s game, too. He’s really strong, so anytime you get contact with him you feel it. His hands are really strong, and so you’ve just got to be careful with the ball. When he swipes at it, he’s got such strong arms and hands he usually can jar it loose.
He plays extremely hard at both ends of the court, but he never really forces the issue, which is something that I appreciate in a guy who’s not the main option. He knows his role really well, so there are times when he steps up and takes big shots and makes big plays, and there are other times where he’s there and doing his job and that’s what the Spurs ask of him.
You want guys like that on your team.
The importance of that Game 3 win for San Antonio, and how they did it, cannot be overstated.
Before that, I was kind of skeptical of their chances in the series, especially after Game 2. They won Game 1 and you can’t take that win away from them. They had a solid fourth quarter and they shot the ball really well. But they did it against a team that was without its best player — the best player in the game — so I kind of just discredited them for that.
(LeBron makes that big a difference, in my opinion.)
But for them to come out in Game 3 and do it again with LeBron out on the court — that was really important for them, and it made a statement.
I’ve been involved in games like that, where the Spurs seemed like they were hitting everything. I can remember getting blown out in San Antonio multiple times, and it just feels like everybody on the court is knocking down shots.
The thing that’s most frustrating as a player is when it seems like they’re almost all wide open shots. I can live with somebody hitting shots if I’m contesting their shots and they’re hitting fade away jump shots, or ridiculous floaters, or something else where we play good defense, but they’re just hitting it.
What gets me is when it seems like they’re getting anything they want, and a lot of times that’s how the Spurs execute. They can just pass the ball and cut so well, and they know each other so well, that they seem to always find a good shot every single time down.
It’s just deflating.
I think it also just speaks to guys understanding their roles. In the NBA, everybody is pretty good offensively, or they wouldn’t be there. At some point in time, all these guys were stars somewhere. So if you can get to a point where you can tell each guy to just do a certain thing, and that’s the only they’re focusing on, you get really good at it. You all play together as a team. That’s when everything kind of comes together and you can become scary, scary good.
That’s where the Spurs are right now.
The only thing you can do on the other side is try to call a timeout, regroup and slow it down a little bit. When they’re on that kind of roll, you have to make sure that you’re taking good shots on offense. If you take bad shots, you end up letting them keep doing the same thing over and over. Miami got into that spot in Game 3, and it will be interesting to see how they bounce back.
Game 4 is definitely a must win for the Heat. I think they’ll do it.