Step-by-Step Guide to Stopping the San Antonio Spurs Stampede Towards NBA Title

Ethan NorofCorrespondent IMay 21, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 20:  Tim Duncan #21 and Tony Parker #9 of the San Antonio Spurs talk in the third quarter while taking on the Los Angeles Clippers in Game Four of the Western Conference Semifinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs on May 20, 2011 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

The San Antonio Spurs appear to be a team on a mission to win the 2012 NBA championship.

In a season where almost everyone had questions about just how good the Spurs would be, this veteran group has looked ageless throughout the postseason and stand at a clean 8-0 through the first two rounds.

Although it's undoubtedly impressive, this shouldn't be a surprise to anyone who's been watching.

San Antonio hasn't lost a game since April 11.

How does anyone stop a team that is clicking on all cylinders?

That's what the rest of the NBA is attempting to figure out.

This is a team that has one more opponent before reaching the championship—whether it's the Oklahoma City Thunder or the Los Angeles, San Antonio is a team capable of beating either potential opponent. Since April 11, the Spurs haven't lost a single game and have scored at least 100 points in all but two contests.

In other words, it's not going to be easy to take this team down no matter what is done at either end of the floor.

So what does the opposition do? Can the Spurs be stopped, or is it just a futile battle against the San Antonio cyborg? Here are a few ideas to discuss in preparation for any potential battle against the new title favorites.


Step 1: Don't double team

As good as Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili can be for this club, it's imperative that the defensive game plan emphasizes that everyone on the Spurs roster can contribute. This is a team that has superb ball movement, and if the defense leaves an open man on the perimeter, the Spurs will find a way to get the ball in the open shooter's hands.

Trusting your defense to rotate is crucial against a team with this much talent. With six guys averaging at least eight points per game to date in the playoffs, Gregg Popovich's lineup is one that will produce for all 48 minutes of the action.

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 20:  Tim Duncan #21 of the San Antonio Spurs reacts after making a basket in the third quarter while taking on the Los Angeles Clippers in Game Four of the Western Conference Semifinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs on May 20, 2011 at Sta
Harry How/Getty Images


Step 2: Limit Tim Duncan's touches in the low post

Duncan has turned back the clock in the playoffs with averages of 17.6 points, 9.0 rebounds and 1.9 blocks on an impressive 54 percent from the field, and no team is going to have a chance against "The Big Fundamental" if he's allowed to work where he's most comfortable.

It's baffling why teams continue to let Duncan get set up with his back to the basket. How about someone attempts to front this guy? With the veteran's impressive footwork and how easily he can get the shot he wants once he establishes position, it's time to try and make Duncan catch the ball further away from the hoop.


Step 3: Stop the bleeding from the perimeter

The Spurs have shot 72-of-168 from behind the three-point line in the postseason, good for an astonishing team percentage of 42.3 percent. With San Antonio's ability to stretch the floor, improved perimeter defense is going to be crucial for any team that takes on the Spurs.

With eight players shooting at least 43 percent from deep, it's not going to be easy to get this done. San Antonio spaces the floor incredibly well, and that is one element of the attack that makes this Spurs team such a dangerous one.

This is a task that is easier said than done, but that's the pattern with San Antonio.


It's no wonder the Spurs are the favorites to win it all—they look poised to do exactly that.