From The Other Side: Popovich and McDyess Discuss The Secret To Road Success
The San Antonio Spurs came into the Verizon Center last night and thoroughly dominated the Washington Wizards 118-94. They shot 58-percent for the game, 52-percent from three-point land, only trailed for 22 seconds and had six players in double figures. They were also able to accomplish this with Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili combining for just 20 minutes and 12 points.
San Antonio’s victory was even more impressive considering that the night before, they were outplayed in Philadelphia, losing to the 76ers by shooting just 33-percent from the field, 17-percent from the three-point line, and by putting up just 25 points in the second half. As Gregg Popovich said during his pregame presser on Saturday, “We set offensive basketball back a decade.”
“Just one?,” asked another reporter.
“Maybe two …. you’re right, I’m being too kind. It was just ridiculous,” responded the coach. One night later, Popovich got his team to leave that ridiculousness behind. By halftime in Washington, they scored more points (72) than they had the previous night in Philadelphia (71 points total).
The Spurs not only own the league’s best overall record at 45-9, but they are also an NBA-best 20-7 on the road — and 5-2 through the first seven of their nine game “Rodeo Road Trip,” when there is a prolonged scheduling block in the AT&T Center due to the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo. That lies in sharp contrast to the Washington Wizards, who will be aiming for road victory number one against the lowly Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday. It doesn’t take a genius or fancy statistics to see the tremendous gap between the two teams.
So, in an effort to learn the secret behind the Spurs’ tremendous success on the road, I decided to talk to Gregg Popovich and Antonio McDyess. Popovich has a 67-percent winning percentage, four NBA titles, and in the past eight seasons of the “Rodeo Road Trip,” his record through last night’s game is 49-22. McDyess is a 14-year veteran, who early in his career played on a Denver Nuggets team that struggled, and in more recent years on the Detroit Pistons and now the Spurs — veteran teams that have excelled at winning on the road.
I asked Popovich what it takes to be a good road team, and I asked McDyess the same question, but I also asked him why young teams struggle so much away from home.
“Well, first and foremost, you have to be able to stop somebody on the road to even give yourself a fighting chance. I think it comes down to defense more than it does offense on the road, because guys at home are in their little comfort zone, and it comes easy for you in your own backyard. The key is having that mindset that says, ‘I’m away from home, my shot is off, but let me stop someone.’ As bad as we played last night against the Sixers, we still played great defense and held them to 77 points. We couldn’t hit shots, but we gave ourselves a chance and that’s what good road teams do … they give themselves a chance once that five minutes mark of the quarter comes.
Young teams like the Wizards, I mean it’s nothing personal, but they just aren’t disciplined and experienced enough yet. Teams like that, and I know because I was a young player on a young team once, just look to run and score, they forget about defense. And when they do that and their shots are falling it’s great through three quarters, but in the fourth they get tight, the defense is on lockdown mode, and they panic, turn the ball over and lose. But it’s a process and it helps to have someone on the team who has been there consistently, and the Wizards and other young teams just don’t have it.”
[Antonio McDyess talks about really old things with Sam Cassell.]
[Tim Duncan is left alone on the weakside for a dunk. According to the CBS Sports NBA Dunk-o-Meter, Duncan had just 21 dunks on the season going into the game, ranked 88th in the NBA.]
[But Timmy was nice enough afterward to give the ball right to JaVale McGee so the Wizards could likely hurry up to give the ball back to the Spurs in some manner.]
[Photos: Kyle Weidie, Truth About It.net]
All Recent Posts
- Gortat on Coaching Changes, Summer Plans, and Finding Love for Basketball — Dispatches from Poland May 3, 2016
- But What About Scott Brooks’ Analytics? And the Children, Of Course April 28, 2016
- Brooks is Here — Wizards Seek Redemption with New Head Coach April 22, 2016
- Key Legislature: Wizards 120 at Nets 111 — Elusive .500 Record So Close, So Far Away April 13, 2016
- Key Legislature: Wizards 113 vs Hornets 98 — Dancing On Their Own Grave Like Nobody’s Watching April 10, 2016
- Key Legislature: Wizards at Pistons — You May Now Rest in Peace April 9, 2016
- This Isn’t The First Wizards Ride on the Must-Win Rodeo April 8, 2016
- Key Legislature: Wizards 121 vs Nets 103 — Without Wall, Washington Weathers Storm April 7, 2016
- Washington Twitches Briefly to Life after Unofficial Death — Wizards vs Nets, DC Council 78 April 7, 2016
- Crossed Up and Shot Down in LA — Wizards at Clippers, DC Council 77 April 6, 2016
- Gortat on the Season, the Offseason, and Driving Taxis — Dispatches from Poland April 5, 2016
- Key Legislature: Wizards 109 at Clippers 114 — California Dreaming of Fat Ladies Singing April 5, 2016
- Key Legislature: Wizards 106 at Suns 99 — Making Good on Meaningless Promises April 3, 2016
- Just Good Enough to Score More Points — Wizards at Suns, DC Council 76 April 2, 2016
- Season’s End by Best Friend — Wizards at Kings, DC Council 75 March 31, 2016
- Key Legislature: Wizards 111 at Kings 120 — Season All But Put to Bed at Sleep Train Arena March 31, 2016
- Optical Illusion in Oracle — Wizards at Warriors, DC Council 74 March 30, 2016
- Key Legislature: Wizards 94 at Warriors 102 — Fighting Uphill Without Bullets March 30, 2016
- Opening Statements: Wizards at Warriors, Game 74 March 29, 2016
- Key Legislature: Wizards 101 at Lakers 88 — Wall Shows Shades of Showtime March 29, 2016