Analysis of Gregg Popovich's controversial Game 7 strategy


Gregg Popovich made the bizarre decision to reveal his gameplan for Thursday's Game 7 against the Heat. Why did Pop open his playbook, how will his strategy hold up, and how can the Heat stop it?

After Gregg Popovich's shocking and borderline reckless transparency following Game 6, Martin Rickman and Seth Rosenthal did some analysis -- with help from Xs and Os expert Jon Bois -- to preview Game 7.

Seth: I don't know if you saw this, Martin, but Gregg Popovich revealed his Game 7 strategy in his post-loss press conference Wednesday night.

(video via @cjzero)

That surprised me, to be honest. Wasn't Pop a coach of the year candidate? Is he getting cocky?

Martin: That's bold of him. Totally out of the ordinary. This loss must have really had a bigger effect on him than we thought. He's usually such a master of strategy. Why would he reveal his plan like this?

Seth: It's hard to say. Losing brings out the worst in people. But now that we know Pop's whole gameplan, let's break it down. What do you make of this "getting on the bus" tactic? Why is Pop waiting until Game 7 to try this out? Is he getting desperate?

Martin: He has to be. Buses are not always on time. What if they don't get there before tip? Plus, they're cramped. It is hard to shoot a basketball in a bus. Not a lot of lateral mobility. And what about pump up music? Unless they're doing sing-a-longs people will have to listen to separate headphones. Not good for team camaraderie if you ask me.

Seth: It really does invite risk, and with just a day to practice, who knows how prepared the Spurs will be? That's not even the hard part, though. Pop seems to think the bus will take the Spurs directly to a "ramp", but what about the diversions along the way? After last night's collapse, can we really count on the Spurs to stay poised and focused in the face of distractions?


(Graphic analysis by Jon Bois)

Martin: Man, what's the ramp? Is that a metaphor? We know how Pop deals in rhetoric. I honestly don't know if the Spurs can stay focused. Did you see Manu last night? He couldn't even find Duncan in OT. That's a serious problem. I wouldn't be surprised if they ended up off track, at a toy store or a ice cream store. Can we trust these guys at this point? Do the Heat have the upper hand?

Seth: See, that's the thing. Pop just exposed his whole gameplan! The Heat know what the Spurs are looking for in Game 7 -- finding this ramp, getting off the bus and into the arena, playing -- and now they can scheme to stop it. How can Miami use this intel to their advantage? How should they defend? Given the narrow tunnels that connect the loading ramp to the interior of American Airlines Arena, I could see Erik Spoelstra making use of his biggest defenders as barricades. Jarvis Varnado hasn't played a minute in this series, but he has very long arms and I think he's my Game 7 X-factor.

Martin: Can you imagine the damage Juwan Howard can do here? He knows the arena inside and out. He has been in corners no one else ever has. They'll take to the arena. They'll be waiting. It's like that 300 movie; if the Spurs blot out the sun, then the Heat will fight in the shade.

Seth: You know James Jones is already hiding in a broom closet. That guy's a competitor and he's been waiting for this opportunity.

Martin: The Spurs will be sitting ducks. Game 7 is going to be a disaster. I can't believe it. Gregg Popovich has always been so much more manipulative and cerebral than this. The Spurs are going down. If they even make it to the arena.

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