You may have noticed that the Chicago Bulls are in a bit of a swoon, the Miami Heat have been going through their own lulls whenever they leave the comforts of home, and the Oklahoma City Thunder have been prone to letdowns.
What about the fourth team among the NBA’s Big 4?
Why do the San Antonio Spurs, who carry an 11-game winning streak into tonight’s game against the Utah Jazz, keep winning so consistently despite having so many different lineups because of injuries and the whims of their fiery, old coach?
The answer is because Gregg Popovich keeps things interesting by keeping his team guessing, not knowing on any given night who will be earmarked for rest and who will be suiting up in a uniform instead of street clothes.
Against Utah on Sunday night, Popovich benched the only player who had started every game — De Juan Blair, and told new acquisition Boris Diaw he would have the defensive assignment on Al Jefferson. Tonight when the teams play again in Salt Lake City, it is a mystery who will be playing for the Spurs and who won’t.
Popovich even refused to give a straight answer when asked if Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and/or Tony Parker would be making the trip.
I discussed Pop’s mad scientist approach in this interview with CineSport’s Noah Coslov, also touching on Derrick Rose’s two key missed free throws in Chicago’s overtime loss to the New York Knicks on Sunday, and the big week the red-hot Milwauke Bucks have in front of them.