LARNED — Pick your sport, defense wins championships.
The most recent example was the ease with which the San Antonio Spurs turned away the Miami Heat. Greg Popovich, the Spurs’ head coach, may stand there looking like an uninterested observer, but he has instilled in his team that fundamental teaching that defense wins basketball games.
With the Spurs, so much of their offense is generated by their defense.
If you were to ask me to pick a Most Valuable Player in their NBA Championship series, I would have to pick Coach Popovich.
The Spurs play as a team.
They ARE Popovich on the floor.
The Miami Heat, on paper, have more talented players, more great individual pieces, but they do not play as well as a team, especially defensively, as do the Spurs.
Basketball, football, baseball and soccer.
Every game is dominated by the best defensive teams.
All coaches, all teams, say it but only a few do it. It’s that old line, “Walking the Walk, not Talking the Talk.”
The Spurs might actually make professional basketball fans out of some of us, those of us that have griped for years that the pros “don’t play any defense.”
These Spurs do and they had fun doing it, much to the dismay of the Miami Heat and their “Roster of Stars.”
CHALK TALK — Mexico’s soccer coach, Miguel Herrera, has banned his team from eating red meat, drinking alcohol or having sex during the World Cup in Brazil. That should put his team in some kind of foul mood though one wonders if it will help them score goals. Somehow, I just don’t see his players abstaining from all three, especially from the film clips I have seen of the goings on at the beaches in Sao Paulo! ... Mickey Lolich, former Detroit Tigers pitcher always sported a protruding stomach but he could pitch with the best of them. Whenever he was asked about his fat belly he would point out that all of the fat guys loved him because they could say to their wives, “See, there’s a fat guy doing okay. Bring me another beer!” ... LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling has hired four private investigators to dig up “dirt” on other NBA owners and former commissioner David Stern. My guess is they won’t have to dig very deep! ... Has any college football program undergone as many changes at the quarterback position as has Charlie Weis’ Kansas Jayhawks? Every year they get a new phenom transfer and every year he fails to work out and moves on. The latest is last years’ starter, Jake Heaps, who is headed to Miami ... TOUCHE’. The athletic director at Kansas got even with the students. Over the past year the KU student senate voted to remove most of the fees paid by students that were added to their tuition and were given to the athletic department. In response the athletic department took away some of the best courtside seats from the students and will sell them to deep-pocketed donors in an effort to “replace the lost revenue.” Gee, you would think the KU athletic department was living hand to mouth!
Charles Tabler is a contributing writer from Larned.