Posts Tagged ‘Patrick Mills’

Spurs Remodel A Title Contender





HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — You have to feel for the guy in charge of changing name plates above the lockers in San Antonio.

He’s been extra busy in the past few weeks, adding new placards furiously after Stephen Jackson, Boris Diaw and Patrick Mills have all been added to the Spurs’ roster.

San Antonio remodeled the roster of a team that was already considered a contender without these new additions in a shrewd move from a franchise that has a history of making them.

Similar to what the Lakers did at the trade deadline in adding Ramon Sessions, the Spurs went out and snagged pieces via trades and signings that they feel can push them over the top in the postseason. Even more important, they’ve added players that make them arguably the deepest team in the league.

Each and every one of the Spurs’ newest additions will play a significant role in the postseason, particularly Jackson, whose familiarity with the program makes his transition easier than most. Diaw, who joined the crew after being bought out by Charlotte, adds frontcourt depth. The ex-Blazer Mills, who spent much of the year playing in Australia and China, adds a capable, young point guard to the mix after T.J. Ford retired earlier this month.

No one is happier with all this than mainstays Tony Parker, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili, who realize that the added depth improves their chances of chasing down another Larry O’Brien trophy to add to their collection.

(more…)

Notes from Slovenia 87, Australia 58

Nachbar didn't play a big role in this game, but he was ecstatic with the result. (Garrett Ellwood/NBAE/Getty Images)

ISTANBUL — This should have been one of the better matchups in the round of 16, but it was a totally one-sided affair. Slovenia cruised to a 87-58 victory to reach the quarterfinals.

Australia had the sixth best defense in pool play, but they were just average offensively. And on Sunday, they were just awful. They failed to score on their first 10 possessions of the game and had just 21 points on 34 possessions in the first half.

Slovenia really opened up the game with a barrage of threes early in the second quarter. They were 6-for-10 from downtown in the period and had a 42-21 lead at halftime without Bostjan Nachbar scoring a single point.

Australia’s offense finally showed up in the third quarter (24 points on 19 possessions), but they just couldn’t get any stops. Slovenia hit five more threes in the third to put the game away.

Before pool play began, Nachbar told me that his team’s goal for this tournament was to make the top eight. Well, they’ve done that, and they won’t necessarily stop there. Slovenia is 5-1 at the World Championship with an impressive win over Brazil, and with their only loss coming at the hands of the U.S.

After Sunday’s game, Nachbar said that the goals and expectations haven’t changed, no matter how well his team has played. And the win over Australia gave the Slovenians somewhat of a championship feeling.

“We’re going to play more relaxed now,” he said. “We’ve achieved our goal. You have to realize this is our biggest success in our basketball history. To make the top eight in the world is amazing.”

Some more notes…

  • For the game, Slovenia was 16-for-33 from 3-point range. They shot just 33 percent (15th among the 24 teams) from downtown in pool play.
  • Slovenia’s Uros Slokar aggravated a sprained left ankle that he suffered in pool play. He limped off floor with 5:22 left in the third quarter and did not return.
  • Patty Mills had his usual burst of speed for Australia and got to the rim pretty easily on a couple of occasions, but he shot just 1-for-7 from 3-point range, finishing with 13 points and three assists.
  • Raptor center David Andersen shot poorly (2-for-7) as well.

Slovenia will play the winner of the France-Turkey game.

***

More USA Basketball coverage: Analysis | Blog

John Schuhmann is a staff writer for NBA.com. Send him an e-mail or follow him on twitter.