Coaching chess match subplot to Spurs-Thunder series

Posted: June 3, 2012 at 5:11 am

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OKLAHOMA CITYIt is like a game of chess with real, live human pieces, a move that leads to a countermove and men always trying to anticipate the next two or three or more moves that the opponent will make.

It is difficult and stressful and all thats at stake is a season as Scott Brooks of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs try to figure out what the other will do in the NBAs Western Conference final.

It was said early in the best-of-seven series that Popovich was playing chess while Brooks was playing checkers. It was a cute oversimplification and a nifty throwaway line, not to mention dead wrong.

Its an intricate business figuring out what might work and putting your players in position to assure that it does. As criticized as Brooks was after the Thunder fell behind 2-0, he was lauded when Oklahoma City clawed back into the series with a Game 3 victory.

Brooks decision to use the 6-foot-7 Thabo Sefolosha to defend San Antonios 6-foot-2 point guard Tony Parker worked wonders, as did the move to switch a lot of high screen-and-rolls and make life difficult for Manu Ginobili once he got the ball.

Well, there were changes, said Ginobili. Its hard to tell which one influenced the game the most. But they had a switch more on me, and it worked in that game. So hopefully we make them pay a little bit more in the next one.

And thats where the move-countermove coaching game plays out with the most intrigue. Brooks made an adjustment, shifting the focus onto the Spurs to come up with something new.

We went to dinner (between Games 3 and 4), and we talked a lot about what happened and how we can improve, but players things, said Ginobili.

Yeah, we thought about some things, which Im not going to tell you guys.

It wasnt exactly a stroke of genius teams have been using taller defenders to crowd Parker for years but Brooks alteration brought kudos.

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Coaching chess match subplot to Spurs-Thunder series

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June 3rd, 2012 at 5:11 am

Posted in Life Coaching