Thursday, April 15, 2010

John Hollinger Chats the Spurs…

Okay so any one of you could have copy-pasted this, but you didn’t and I did so I guess that makes me the brains of the operation. What follows below is a collection of questions and answers from today’s chat that touch on Spurs related issues.

Jean (ny)
Does crawford have 6th man locked up?

John Hollinger
Yes. There's been a late push for Manu, who has better overall stats, but if you look most of Manu's damage has come as a starter -- Crawford has nearly 1,000 more minutes as a reserve and his off-the-bench stats rival Ginobili's.

I can agree with this assertion

micah (san antonio)
thank you for being one of the few picking the Spurs (in 6 no less) to beat the Mavs. I have come to trust your mathematical wizardry over the years and I'm putting my trust in your selection (even though only 3 out of the 12 of ya'll picked the Spurs).

John Hollinger
I love how I'm a mathematical wizard if I pick in favor of somebody's team and just some computer nerd if I pick against them.

Such is the nature of homerism John, that’s just the way the cookie crumbles

micah (san antonio)
Was Pop smart to concede to a Spurs/Mavs 1st round by resting Timmy and Manu last night?

John Hollinger
Yes, because that was preferable to playing Utah or Phoenix. True, San Anto lost two of three to Dallas heading into last night, but they went a combined 1-6 against Phoenix and Utah. The fact the Spurs nearly beat them on the road with their backups has to make them feel good about their prospects.

I too think it was a smart move, but not so much because of the “rest” factor, but because it was almost a given that the Spurs and Mavs would be seeing a lot more of each other in the first round, and if either Timmy or Manu got hurt then it would be time to cue the Fat Lady…as it is Hill turned a ankle and that could have your Mom tuning up her vocal chords as it is.

(Portland, OR)

Lakers road to the finals will look like this: OKC, Jazz, and Mavs. That sure is a lot easier than the Cavs: Bulls, Celtics, and Magic. Don't you agree?

John Hollinger
I think it looks more like OKC, Jazz and Spurs/Suns, and I think it's a lot harder for them to get out of the first two rounds than it will be for Cleveland. Not sure if you've seen Boston lately but they're a spent force; at this point Miami might scare the Cavs more than playing the Celtics does.

Matt (San Antonio TX)
So I am guessing you still think the mavs wont make it far correct?

John Hollinger
That's correct, although they played much better in that five-game streak to end the season. They didn't get a real friendly draw either, despite landing the No. 2 seed they would have to face the two hottest teams in the conference back-to-back to make the WCF.

Bill (PA)
if you had to bet on 1 first round upset, what would it be?

John Hollinger
Spurs-Mavs. Just think San Antonio was playing at a really high level to end the season and they can do a lot of damage if their creaky vets are in good health.

I know seedings are seedings, but when it comes to Spurs-Mavs you can pretty much throw them out the window. There’s so much underlying hatred between these two teams that they each take it to another level…so sure play the underdog card all you want, but I am expecting knock-down, drag-out games in this one

Josh (Knoxville, TN)
A couple years ago you had LA beating the Spurs in 5 games b/c that's what the numbers said. I thought you were crazy, but it went 4-1 LA. Of course, the series was actually much closer than that (Spurs falling apart in Game 1 and Joey Crawford exacting his revenge on SA), but I had to give you props. Think you nailed the Spurs losing to Dallas last year too. And I also remember you hitting the Spurs spot on for their last Championship when everyone else said Dallas. So I say you're a wizard whether you favor the Spurs or not.

John Hollinger
I've had an inordinate amount of success picking Spurs' series for some reason, with one exception (had the Hornets beating them in 7 two years ago; it went 7 but Spurs won). Let's see if it continues this year, I do believe they'll beat Dallas but after that the match-ups are pretty much 50-50 propositions.

I know that everyone is SA-town is hoping that prognosticating luck comes through this time also

Brock (Dallas)
You talk above about how the Spurs were smart for sitting Tim and Manu but yet you forget to mention Dallas sat Caron and Jason Kidd was on the bench for most of the game

John Hollinger
Butler played 39 minutes, Kidd played 28. Not sure what game you were at.

Silly Mavs fan, brains are for using

Steve (Washington)
I heard RJ might opt out in San Antonio? Could the Spurs really be that lucky, and
what would that do to their summer?

John Hollinger
Better chance of a Bulls-Thunder Finals than there is of RJ opting out. Not believing that story for even one second.
Only way that RJ opts out is if he thinks he’s getting married to the Spurs, then he’ll drop-out one day before the deadline and send a parting gift to boot

Sebastian (Krakow, Poland)
Who did you have last year in the Mavs-Spurs series? As a Mavs fan I need to know whether to start worrying.

John Hollinger
I had Dallas in six, and then in the second round I had Denver in seven.

Again, We all hope you’re right on this time again

Matt (SA)
After last nights performance, would you say dejuan blair is gonna be a factor in the Spurs Mavs matchup?

John Hollinger
Not sure. He was playing center, and the Spurs already have a pretty decent one with Tim Duncan, even if we're not allowed to publicly acknowledge that he's a center. So I'm not sure Blair gets more than 10-12 minutes. Can he be a factor in those minutes? Absolutely. But he's not going for 20-20.

Mark it down now, this series will be won on the backs of DeJaun Blair and Manu Ginobili…The Mavs will most likely put Matrix on Tony when he’s in and Butler on Jefferson that means that JKidd will have to try and guard Manu and/or Hill…Jason’s a smart and crafty player, but Manu will make him eat his skidmarks, and if Hill is confident and healthyhe could do some damage there too.

If however, Butler ends up on Manu then JKidd has to try and cover RJ or TP, and if they are smart then they'll take it to the rim every chance they get.

I think that Haywood has a shot at playing Timmy pretty effectively, and I see Duncan making more of a mark as a facilitator and defensive presence than on the bottom line. Dirk will get the
cush job of “guarding” whomever is left whether it be Dice, Blair, Bonner,Mason, or Bogans. Here’s where Blair comes in, Dirk doesn’t want to bang and battle for rebounds and loose balls so the Beast should be able to do some damage doing what he does best: creating havoc and opportunity.

Things will be a bit different when Barrea and Beaubois are on the court, at which time I
expect to see them on Tony or Hill, and the Mavs defense to benefit from that due to "trickle down"…depending on whom is on the court with whom of course.

On the defensive end, I see Duncan playing Haywood and Dampier, Tony and Hill on JKidd et al,
Manu/Bogans on Terry and Butler, Jefferson on Butler and Marion, and Dice and
Blair on Dirk. Bonner could get some spot time on the German as well, but he’d be best served being on the court when Dirk sits if you ask me.

So to recap:
Manu’s ability to scorch JKidd and play effective defense on Terry and Butler as well as Blair’s ability to bang the crap out of Dirk, haul in rebounds, and learn on the fly will likely be the keys to the game.

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