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All Your Accolade Are Belong To Gregg Popovich

Apr 22, 2014; San Antonio, TX, USA;  The Red Auerbach trophy that was presented to San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich after he was named the NBA

In terms of on court play there is little to cling to in describing Popovich as a coach. He’s teams have been both offensive machines and defensive juggernauts. They’ve played fast and slow, inside and out. Without any definable quality to latch onto, is it possible that Popovich’s greatness comes from his ability to be everything and nothing, all at once?

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Nowhere to Hide: Damian Lillard Defending the San Antonio Spurs

May 6, 2014; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker (9) moves the ball against the defense of Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0) in game one of the second round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Perhaps more than anything, individual matchups are magnified in the playoffs. As rotations shorten, intensity heightens, and coaching looms more influential than ever, the exploitation of a certain player’s strengths and weaknesses can easily swing a game, and by proxy a series. Which teams win or lose a single mismatch can be the tipping point between advancing into June and being eliminated in April.