Parker makes it a moveable feast

By Fran Blinebury, NBA.com


VIDEO: Parker, Duncan lead Spurs to 3-0 lead over Blazers

PORTLAND, Ore. — Presumably when it’s over, Tony Parker will have the Trail Blazers over for dinner. With fava beans and a nice Chianti.

This is no longer Parker simply moving all of the Xs and Os around the blackboard as if he’s giving a lecture at a coaching clinic. It’s his own canvas where the imagination and ideas fill up the blank spaces like oils.

We have certainly seen him play at a high level before. He’s won three championships, become a perennial All-Star and was the MVP of the 2007 Finals.

Now, at 31, there is something else.

Command.

It’s knowing when to pour like water through a crack in concrete and get all the way to the basket. When to pull up and take that mid-range jumper that the Portland defense continues to give him. When it’s a bounce pass that will find a cutting Tim Duncan in stride. When what looks like an over-the-shoulder prayer will find a wide-open Kawhi Leonard or Manu Ginobili at the 3-point line.

“Tony has been the engine for us,” said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich after another throttling of the Blazers, this time 118-103 on Saturday night in Game 3 of their Western Conference semifinals series.

The kind that takes the checkered flag at Daytona or Indy or LeMans.

The Spurs are a completely different kind of team running a completely different kind of offense from the days when the 19-year-old from France came into the league and was supposed to not screw things up for Duncan and David Robinson.

Now San Antonio has more ball movement than a pool table in an ocean storm and that means more responsibility for the point guard who gets to make it all run.

Before the Blazers knew what hit them in Game 3, Parker had run off four straight jumpers and virtually everyone sitting inside the Moda Center could tell that their team was going to get run off the court again.

“He got us out of the gates,” Duncan said. “He continues to shoot the ball really well. He’s getting to his spots. He’s making great decisions for our offense of our team. When his shot is there, he’s knocking it out.

“He’s doing a great job of coming off the screens and getting to his spot and knocking them out. He’s reading the defense real well. They start closing up on him and he’s doing a great job of getting to the basket as well. He’s matured and doing a much better job of doing exactly what the defense wants to give him.”

Everybody gets older, the Spurs quite evidently with a 38-year-old Duncan and 36-year-old Ginobili having their movements and usage handled as carefully as antique crystal.

Parker, of course, is older, too. But even after 13 years in the league, he’s the one with the twinkle in his eye and the spark that lights the fire in the Spurs’ entire offensive game.

“It’s what he does,” said shooting guard Danny Green. “He reads the situations. He makes the right decisions and he gets us all playing the way we want to play.”

When it comes to reining in Parker, Blazers coach Terry Stotts couldn’t grasp at more straws if he were dropped in a hayloft. Should he switch defenders? Does it matter?

What figured to be a competitive series lasted that way only until the opening tip of Game 1. With Parker lighting the match, the Spurs have had halftime leads of 19, 26 and 20.

Stotts keeps talking about how evenly the Blazers are playing the Spurs in the second half of games, which is like the guy whose parachute didn’t open saying at least he stuck the landing.

The fact is Parker has played this way now for the past two or three seasons, yet rarely gets mentioned in the MVP race, left in the exhaust fumes of Kevin Durant and LeBron James. This year he finished tied for 12th in the voting. He never seems to be the hot new name, the slick new model and yet he’s that engine still running strong and late into June.

“He’s just been unbelievable for us and obviously been the driving force of this entire series,” Duncan said. “So we’ll continue to ride him and hopefully he can close this thing out.”

Then pick out the Chianti to wash down the Blazers.

29 Comments

  1. Nasir Husain says:

    I see Mr. Okc 2014. Thats why your Thunder are struggling against Clippers. I rest my case.

  2. Huff says:

    Why is it at this time of year every article or eveeytime a TV round table discussion happens in regards to the Spurs and in particular Tony Parker all the media experts start talking about how he is MVP calibre and he never gets a look in and he doesn’t get the credit or talked about enough……. And yet they (the media) are the ones who vote and make all the headlines …..

  3. There`s not a single article about the Spurs where Blindbury doesn`t repeat mentioning the Big Threes` ages.Doesn`t he get it that those foreigners don`t discuss that issue?The Spurs are for the ages,unlike Blindbury!GO Spurs!

  4. RachStar says:

    Nobody will have an answer for KD or Russell? Last time I checked The Grizzlies took them to 7 and The Clippers are 2-2 with them right now. But okay…nobody has an answer.

    People always hate on The Spurs because they’re not a one-man show. So glad to have a TEAM of such humble players, on and off the court, who are more focused on making the TEAM better, instead of padding their stats. Thank you Spurs for representing SA well and making us proud every year!

  5. russparov says:

    blame it on blazers coach, game 1 is excusable but coming in game 2 with no adjustment and giving parker the same looks is a BS. He should know how to pressure the ball on tony parker every pick & roll, the big have to come out and pressure the ball for parker and let his team rotate on the defense or make the bigs go back quickly after pressuring the ball..the spurs is doing that kind of defense, when they are doing the pick & roll or pop with lillard & aldrigde. Hope they can do this adjustment and see what will happen in game 4. Just look how miami is defending the pick & roll with the defense rotating.

  6. Michael says:

    No one who has been watching the Spurs would say they’re boring. This isn’t the lock-down defensive Spurs team that held opponents to 75 points and only scored 80. This team has scored 348 points in three games against the Blazers. The ball movement is so precise and fast, the footwork is dazzling, and they can shoot the lights out from deep — it really is exciting to watch. Kawhi even has the occasional highlight dunk. Combine efficient offense with good, smart defense and you have a recipe for blowing teams out. Just ask Terry Stotts.

  7. Scott C says:

    c’mon Freddie, not that good???….. of course the Spurs aren’t that good, they had the best record in the league, led many of the stat categories, and no player averaged more than 30 minutes per game… they are not THAT good, they are simply one of the best, if not the best 12 man unitsever to step on the court. And it’s not the “other 4 guys”, it’s the other 11 guys you have to stop!

  8. Patrick says:

    I have been a Spurs fan since the Robinson days. They have evolved into one of the best teams in the league and they have not missed the playoffs since they drafted Tim Duncan, in 1997. Why people call them boring, is because apparently they know very little about fundaments, and instead enjoy threatrics. The Spurs have not just relied on pure atleticism but on Basketball IQ, disicipline and getting players who can understand a system that works. The following is prominently posted in the Spurs locker room, at the behest of Coach Popovich; “When nothing seems to help, I go look at a stonecutter hammering away at his rock, perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not that blow that did it, but all that had gone before.” So all you naysayers need to read that statement, then you will understand, why the Spurs organization has been so sucessful…

  9. freddy says:

    I don’t think that the Spurs are that good. But they play a style of basketball that Portland has trouble stopping, Portland ranked 26th in defending the pick and roll, which is Spurs bread and butter. I do think that it is inexcusable for Terry Stotts to have made almost 0 adjustments on the defensive end. He needs to take the ball out of Parkers hands and force the other 4 guys to beat the Blazers 1-1. Nic Batum needs to defend Parker 94 feet and deny him the ball at all time, make one of the other 4 spurs create the offense.

    • Duke says:

      Really what evidence do you have that the Spurs team isn’t that good?? What part of a 62 games do you not get? Wow, You’re like the rest of the NBA media…worthless and mostly wrong.

    • Kalbo!! says:

      Wow! What a heavy and bold statement.. “not that good?”

    • BatumNic says:

      easy to say it for you thats why they use pick and roll remember?

    • Donovan says:

      Spurs are NOT good. They are the BEST NBA TEAM. We differ in personal opinions about how good or not good they are because most of us look at ‘individual players’ and ‘superstars’ and not group performance. With this note, Spurs are no doubt the best team. STATISTICS speak for themselves. Statistics are the bottom line: Consistency and performance. Spurs basketball is the epitome of the game.

  10. Giddy -Spurs Fan from Israel says:

    THe Spurs are actualy the only Tim, sorry Team in the NBA and even if they don’t make it against the Superstars at the end they are still the only Model as to what is the real meaning os Sportsmanship

  11. None Of The Above says:

    Each year people say this Spurs team is finished and each year here they go again.

    • Kel says:

      Casual fans, maybe. But I think most people who pay attention to the NBA and aren’t completely biased in favor of their team (if they aren’t Spurs fans) have learned not to write off the Spurs. People have tried doing that for the past 5 or so years, and they still maintain their excellence each year. Best coached team in the NBA. I’d rather watch selfless ball movement than isolation plays any day. I hope the Spurs make it back to the finals. As much as I’d like to see them get their vengeance on the Heat, I hope Brooklyn is able to push them. And if not, maybe Indiana can exact their revenge. I’m so sick of watching the Heat and LeBron.

  12. Lee says:

    After seeing how well the Spurs play the Blazers….

    one has to realize just how bad McHale is as a coach. Houston will not win with McHale.

    • Gallegolas says:

      That’s odd cause I seem to remember the rockets going 4-0 against the spurs this year? And if you say so what because it was the regular season then your saying the spurs just didn’t care enough.

      • BatumNic says:

        yup thats the point, playoffs is different

      • RG says:

        the Spurs do care about the regular season (trying to have home court advantage and build team chemistry), but at the same time, Popovich wants his team to be healthy going into the playoffs, where it really matters more. just because the Rockets went 4-0 against the Spurs in the regular season doesn’t necessarily mean they were going to beat them in the playoffs, if they had advanced. the Rockets went 3-1 against the Blazers, and yet, they lose to the Blazers in 6.

  13. spurs congo says:

    i do not think Tony,or Boris OR Nic are big fans of Chianti

    But as long as we do blaze and wash the blazers down , i will take it
    And then the histrionics wild loud gestures other guys, Upthere

  14. Stan says:

    Well Spur team really mature much more since last year final lost. A new dimensional play from the spur team… well done.
    Regardless of win or lose, the whole team must enjoy their play to advance till the last

  15. okc2014 says:

    I agree GR, that’s the recipe for boring. The Spurs have had an excellent run, great season. The best of the best. However, they will begin to struggle with the OKC Thunder. Nobody, even Tony Parker and Company, have an answer for Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Sorry.

    • Brainundrum says:

      spoken like a typical, hard-headed, home team fan who cheers their team on because they live near the city. Probably not even in Oklahoma City. A real NBA fan wouldn’t utter such nonsense as the dribble you spewed. Maybe you should focus on beating the Clippers before you write off the Western Conference Champions.

    • Kel says:

      It’s funny that people continue to push the idea that SA is boring. They have one of the most efficient offenses in the league. If Memphis was able to push OKC, SA is just a better version of that. Russell Westbrook shoots himself out of the game half of the time, and even if Kevin Durant goes off, if his teammates aren’t helping him, they could still wind up losing. The other players and bench of OKC has been inconsistent to say the least. Kawhi Leonard is a great defender who can maintain a defensive level of play akin to Tony Allen. The Spurs also have the coaching advantage. Popovich has the most well-coached team in the league. And SA hasn’t forgotten how they let the championship slip out of their hands last year against Miami. They know they’re window is starting to close, and they’re hungry. Every year, people talk about how the Spurs are too old for the past few years. And everyone continues to be surprised when they make another deep playoff run. It’s time to stop writing off the Spurs. I think they should be the favorites to win the title until someone knocks them off.

  16. Yeah! Go Spurs Go! :-)

  17. dunjav2013 says:

    Reblogged this on dunjav.

  18. G R Srinivasan says:

    What I also appreciate is the behavior of the entire Spurs team on the court – no histrionics, no wild and loud gestures, just a quiet dignity in their demeanor.

    • Brian says:

      i was at the game last night…was hoping Trailblazers would come out with energy and beat the Spurs. But it was very clear that the Spurs are playing at a much higher level. Spurs in 4.