The San Antonio Spurs don’t do the rah-rah thing.
They know how close they are to moving on to the next round and how close they are to being sent home from the Western Conference playoffs.
The Spurs and Clippers are tied 2-2 in the best-of-seven series, the winner of the pivotal Game 5 Tuesday night at Staples Center putting either the defending NBA champion San Antonio or Los Angeles on the brink of advancing to the second round.
“We don’t really do the Knute Rockne thing very often,” Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich said after San Antonio’s shoot-around Tuesday. “They’re grown men. Like I’ve said a thousand times throughout coaching, they’ve got kids, they’ve got wives, they’ve got girlfriends, they’re older. They don’t need to be beaten over the head with the importance of every single game. I think they already know that.”
The Spurs have been in this position before, and have been successful.
They have won 11 of 14 best-of-seven series when tied 2-2.
So it’s not as if they need some sort of message from Popovich for this first-round series.
“I don’t think we need to talk about it,” Spurs forward Boris Diaw. “I think everybody knows it’s a huge game. It’s a game to take the lead. It’s pretty important right now.
“The series is 2-2. The game after this one is going to (leave one team) one game away from ending the series. So it’s very important to be able to win that Game (5). Everybody is in their mind-set. We don’t need to say anything.”
The Spurs are having problems shooting the ball in the series.
They have shot over 50% in just one game — Game 2’s victory.
They are making 44.5% of their shots from the field and 31.8% from three-point range in the first four games.
“The shots are executed by human beings,” Popovich said, “and sometimes your shot will go in and sometimes it won’t, because it’s not really a machine that’s shooting the ball.
“Some nights you’re going to be better than others. Sometimes the defense has a lot to do with it. Sometimes you just miss shots. It’s a little bit of both.”