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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. Continue Reading

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Kawhi Leonard’s Gradually Ascending Star

via flickr | Mark Runyon

Such lofty preseason expectations for Kawhi Leonard were never fair. The popular assumption that the high-motor, mild-mannered Leonard would usurp Manu Ginobili as the third wheel in the San Antonio machine this season was always naive, a result of kneejerk NBA Finals judgments and the belief that time was finally catching up with the Spurs. Continue Reading

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San Antonio Spurs Resort To “Hack-a-Howard,” But For A Very Good Reason

Image by johngineer via Flickr

On Tuesday night against the Houston Rockets, San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich reached into his bag of tricks and pulled out everyone’s old friend, the Hack-a-Shaq strategy. For seven straight possessions, the Spurs intentionally fouled Dwight Howard. Continue Reading