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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Spurs adopting lessons learned from Suns series

Associated Press

SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich repeated his pat answer when he was asked how his Spurs will customize their game to fit their yet-to-be-decided opponent in the NBA Finals – the Miami Heat or the Detroit Pistons.

“At this point of the season, each of us is who we are,” Popovich said. “None of us is going to change right now.”

It’s a well-worn line, but some of the Spurs players are talking otherwise. They say they are making some changes for the championship series after having so much success playing full-throttle offense while eliminating the Phoenix Suns in five games in the Western Conference finals.

“One of the things we realized against Phoenix is that if we push upfield, we’re pretty potent offensively,” said Robert Horry, who will be playing for his sixth championship ring with a third team.

Horry said the long break that the Spurs are getting after ousting Phoenix last Wednesday is generally a good thing.

“The bad thing is that Pop’s throwing in about 50 other plays and that’s confusing me,” he said. “This time off is just allowing him to be creative offensively.”

San Antonio has long been among the NBA’s top defensive teams – this season it allowed opponents a league-low 88.3 points per game.

The Spurs’ practice sessions remain strenuous even though some of the players – most notably Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili – are contending with injuries.

“Maybe that’s not smart on my part, maybe it is, I don’t know, but I think we have to stay sharp and that’s the only way I know to stay sharp,” Popovich said Sunday following an intense session lasting nearly two hours.