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ESPN's John Hollinger, has some must-read talk about how coaches ought to use fouls and substitutes (Travis Outlaw's wild 3 off the inbounds yesterday? That came at a moment when strategy dictated Houston would foul give Portland two free throws instead of a chance for a 3-pointer) but also writes about the French Spur (Insider):
The most shocking thing about Saturday's loss was seeing Tony Parker run out of gas so visibly down the stretch. He had a breakaway with just less than four minutes left in the fourth quarter when Jason Kidd and Jason Terry both caught up to him. He missed both free throws, and his only shot the rest of the way was a tired-looking 3 off the dribble into the front rim.
Parker played 41 minutes and scored 43 points but had only 12 after the break and none in the final 7 minutes, 33 seconds. His teammates mustered only eight points during that stretch, allowing the Mavs to win despite getting diddly from both Dirk Nowitzki and Terry.
This reinforces the dominant theme of the Spurs' season: not enough help. Parker rarely played 41 minutes during a playoff game in past seasons, let alone 41 minutes of handling the ball for 15 to 20 seconds on nearly every possession. San Antonio got 68 points from Parker and Tim Duncan, but only 22 on 6-of-28 shooting from the others. Once Dallas clamped down on those two after halftime, the Spurs scored only 35 points in the second half.
UPDATE: Wow wow wow. If I could to back in time I'd be sure to put the phrase "Parisian Torpedo" in the headline of this. You see this gem from Gregg Popovich's last press conference? Turns out a card reading "press" tucked into the ol' fedora is all it takes for a drama student to make it into an NBA press conference these days.