Hard, physical championship basketball

Hardwood Paroxysm is disappointed in the San Antonio Spurs and, specifically, with the way Robert Horry set his back screen on David West, during the 4th Q of last night’s Game 6 victory over the Hornets.

A Series of Unlikely Coincidences
What makes me the most angry about this is that they really don’t need to do these things. I don’t think the Spurs win because of these actions. They win because they play committed team defense, strike at their opponents’ weaknesses, shoot the lights out when they need to, adjust their phenomenally versatile offense to whatever attack faces them, and generally beat the crap out of teams with whatever is most effective. They don’t need to win like this. They can just go out, play their game, use their talent, and win championships. But for some reason, they don’t feel that it’s enough. Maybe it’s an obsessive need to hold on to their fading youth. Maybe it’s a simple dedication to winning at all costs. Maybe it’s spurred on (no pun intended) by their endlessly classy fan base that chanted “Horry, Horry, Horry” last night after Horry, intentionally or not, injured a star player for the other team. Whatever the reason, they have decided that this is how they will win. And they have won. And in the end, no one can take that away from them. They will always have the shine of championship rings to bask in, while the rest of us know the truth. This team’s legacy will always be slightly sullied by their dirty play.

If it looks like a rat, smells like a rat, and sounds like a rat, then you don’t need to make excuses about it acting like a tough hedgehog, or whatever else Mark Jackson wants to say. It’s a rat. Call it that.

And that’s the saddest part of all.

Spurs in 7.


In sharp contrast, however … this corner could not possibly disagree more vehemently with that perspective.

Bruce Bowen and Robert Horry are neither thugs nor dirty players.

Since Gregg Popovich assumed control of the Spurs’ operation, San Antonio has played tough, physical, make no excuses, ask-for-no-quarter-and-give-none-in-return basketball (with the obvious, and nauseating, exception of Tim Duncan’s petulent whining after every Personal Foul call) … that is characterized by each and every other team that has ever won a championship, anywhere, and knows exactly what it takes to get the job done, come h*ll or high water.

This is who Coach Pop is.

This is what Coach Pop’s team believes in.

This is what Coach Pop’s team does … over, and over, again.

And, if your team has ever won a competitive major sports championship, anywhere … you know THIS to be a simple fact, based upon your own personal experience.

Mark Jackson (NBA Analyst) got it 100% correct during last night’s live broadcast.

The screen Robert Horry set was not designed to inflict injury to David West but it was the THE type a player makes who is committed to winning

The Spurs … led by Gregg Popovich … play hard, physical championship basketball, at all times … and, they play to win.

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35 Responses to “Hard, physical championship basketball”

  1. Corn Says:

    In response to the question that you posed over on Matt and mine’s site early — Yes, I have had plenty of teams I pull for win championships. I was a Duke fan long before ESPN made them the brand everyone loves to hate. I remember Laettner stepping on Aminu Timberlake’s chest. I remember some of the shots Bobby Hurley used to take at guys.
    But I don’t think that your question hits at the heart of your response. I have never once looked at any player on a team I love and been so thoroughly disappointed and appalled by what they have done. Even when Laettner pulled that stunt, it was more of a “this is my turf” tap than an intentional stomp. I truly and wholly believe that Horry’s actions both last year and last night were malicious and vile. Just cause he’s from Alabama and spent most of his pro career in Texas doesn’t make him a dummy. He is a smart guy who knows what his intentions are and he executes them.
    What Matt and I hate (and why I am glad I didn’t see much of this game last night or I would have punched a whole in my television) is that there is always a disproportionate amount of time in pro sports when the dirty, evil teams get everything to go their way. The Spurs most of the calls, the refs seemingly incapable of telling what is a foul and what is not because their silly, reckless theatrics have obscured good, honest basketball amidst this dangerous brand of thuggish spectacle they have made it.
    The thing is, there have probably been plenty more intentional fouls and vile conduct that has happened in this league and many others, only to not have the same outcome. I am sure that there are plenty of times when teams try to behave in a very unsportsmanlike manner and the other team does not get hurt or the cheap shot misses. But, in Horry’s case, his vicious exploits have worked both times. It is cruel, stupid and the league is too much of a giant soggy pussy to do anything about it. Shame on them, shame on the Spurs and shame on all those who support their awful practices.

  2. Nba » Hard, physical championship basketball Says:

    […] Jenni Carlson â Opinions from The Oklahoman sports columnist wrote an interesting post today on Hard, physical championship basketballHere’s a quick excerpt Hardwood Paroxysm is disappointed in the San Antonio Spurs and, specifically, with the way Robert Horry set his back screen on David West, during the 4th Q of last night’s Game 6 victory over the Hornets. A Series of Unlikely Coincidences What makes me the most angry about this is that they really don’t need to do these things. I don’t think the Spurs win because of these actions. They win because they play committed team defense, strike at their opponents’ weaknesses, shoot the lights out w […]

  3. khandor Says:


    First, let me thank you for your comment.

    Second, let me clarify what was meant by,

    … if your team has ever won …“,

    which was said in reference to whether or not a team that you have actually played on or coached (yourself) has ever won a major team sports championship, at a high level of competition,

    and not whether or not any team that you’ve supported, as a fan, has been victorious in this way.

    Third, let me point out the applicability of a piece of rationale offerred up in Rule #2 in the fine set of ‘Eight Simple Playoff Rules‘ you and Matt have posted elsewhere on your absolutely terrific blog (which I thoroughly enjoy!) that speaks directly to the folly of trying to convince someone else who doesn’t share your personal perspective on a matter in the first place, and the likelihood of an agreed upon settlement coming about from a situation like this where a divergence of opinion (and, possibly, personal experience) exists:

    Don’t bother with it, because you’re never going to be able to make a convincing enough argument to convince anyone that doesn’t already agree with you.”

    Fourth, IMO, there are a great many people today who do not understand the fundamental difference between a hard, physical play and a dirty, unethical maneuver, intended to injure an opponent … regardless of how the NBA’s Head Office might view/rule on the play.

    For example,

    * When Marvin Williams grabbed Rajon Rondo, in the midst of his attempted break-away layup, in Game 7 of the Atlanta/Boston series, after Rondo had already left his feet, there was no intent to injury at work there, nor any wanton disregard for the safety of the offensive player who initiated his attack of the basket. Whether or not, Williams was thrown out of the game, is irrelevant to me. As a player and a coach, in my judgment, there was no intent to injure there.

    in contrast to

    * When Brendan Haywood purposely pushed Lebron James on his drive to the basket during the Washington/Cleveland series … with both his fore-arms extended, while Lebron was already in mid-flight, and with absolutely no regard to what the consequences of his actions might be towards Lebron’s health & welfare. Whether or not Haywood was thrown out of the game is irrelevant to me. As a player and a coach, in my judgment, Brendan Haywood’s actions were dirty and unethical, and did not show the proper regard for the safety of an opponent player in that game.

    What Robert Horry did to Steve Nash last season during the Spurs/Suns playoff series is separate and distinct from what he did last night to David West.

    IMO, neither play was dirty and unethical, in a championship basketball game, nor showed any type of wanton disregard for the health & safety of an opponent player.

    Did Nash embellish Horry’s push last season? You bet he did.

    Neither player qualifies as an angel, in my book.

    Robert Horry, although nowhere near as ‘good’ today, as he once was, still plays the game hard, physically and to win … and, is far from being a dirty basketball player.

  4. FLUXLAND Says:

    Detroit Bad Boyz anyone?

    Malone splitting Zeke’s face?

    Bowen IS DIIIIIRTY!!!!!!

  5. FLUXLAND Says:

    I actually just read the post at HP.

    * The Spurs ARE NOT a dynasty. By definition a dynasty is a “succession or rulers”. You need to get back to back rings to claim this. I said it last night… they are the model of consistency.

    *I am conspiracy theorist as well. The ridiculous amount of game 6 and 7s and the American economy hurting only means (in short) Stern has to sell tickets and pay those contracts. The refs are on the take and I would love for someone to explain to me why the concept of “getting calls at home” even freaking exists. Despicable.

    *Popivich is a complete a**hole. If you think he is not directly involved for the dirty play the Spurs display, you are out of you effin mind. Dude has a military background – win by any means necessary. Him and Bowen are best friends and spend their summers going over the NBA rule book figuring out how to take advantage of every rule possible while taking dudes out. Do you not get the impression he thinks he’s the smartest guy on the planet they way he dismisses reporter with his snarly answers all the time?COMPLETE A HOLE!! Also, when have the Spurs as an organization suspended one of their players when a dirty play occurs? NEVER?

    *The fans chanting last night also tells you what’s REALLY going on and how this is now, not only accepted but EXPECTED behavior.

    *I’ve hated the Spurs for as long as I can remember. And the good work the Admiral seem to have accomplished with his class has been outdone by this gang of floppers and thugs that have smeared their reputation. NO ONE outside the state of TX respects or likes them. And it has nothing do to with them winning. It’s how they go about it. Cheating!!

    *I’m really having a hard time with the NBA right now. So many things don’t seem right.. overall is seems like a business driven organization. And I realize making money is important but when the dollar is first and foremost then why pretend chance is even involved.

  6. withmalice Says:

    Bowen’s a thug. Horry’s actions were thuggish.

    Khandor, if you don’t believe that Robert Horry knew exactly what he was doing in setting that screen – and leaning into it (which is illegal) – then you’re only fooling yourself.
    Of course Horry knew about West’s back. Of course he intended to send Steve Nash flying off the court (tho’ that ended up far, far better than he intended).
    And no, ‘winning’ doesn’t justify ‘doing anything’.

    Count me in with FLUX… at least on about 75% of what he said!

  7. FLUXLAND Says:

    I just watched that play over and over ..again and again and again.

    Malice is right.. he knew exactly what he was doing.. He lifts his heels AND he lowers his shoulder while turning his head to BLAST him in the back. Dirty as dirty can be. (I wish I could post a picture in this comment)

    Khandor if you wanna call that hard and physical, that’s your call. I have to disagree. There a fine line between that and cheap & unnecessary. He not crossed it , he leaped over it. And doing it while up 21 points was only part of Pops’ plan to dismiss it as intentional. “Why would we do that? We were up by 20!” It was insurance for the next game.

    Why would you play HARD and PHYSICAL to that level, with that kind of lead? “Military strategy and black ops 101” – by Greg PopD**K

  8. FLUXLAND Says:

    I just read the comments on HP for that post.

    It’s funny how most of the Spurs supporters on there agree that play was incomprehensible as a basketball play. And the one comment responding to you Khandor, touches on what I am saying. They do whatever they need to in order to win… hip check, hold shirts, hold wrists, undercut and they do it all with such precision, so the refs notice little, that it make is hard to believe they don’t practice these tactics or at the very least discuss them.And it makes me sick how the refs turn a blind eye to most of this stuff.

    Another thought
    Why didn’t Horry plant his feet and wait for West to come down and then place his forearm on his back? Because the saw an opportunity to do some damage and he took full advantage of it.

    You said yourself Haywood shoving Bron while in the air was unethincal… was West not in the air when Horry blasted him? No difference IMO.

    Photo evidence:

  9. withmalice Says:

    Closing Time…
    Vid-clip is there on the shot. Horry leans into the hit, right into the small of David West’s back: that’s where you’ll find Horry’s shoulder.

    Please don’t take this the wrong way Khandor, but at times you can be a lil’ harsh on the assumptions you make about people.
    Saying stuff like:

    “HP … has your team ever won a competitive team major sports championship?

    Without knowing you at all, personally, I’m betting my reputation on the fact that the answer to that question above … is, ‘NO, but …'”

    is always going to get a negative reaction.

  10. khandor Says:


    Not to worry … I will not take your words the wrong.

    Hopefully, neither will you mine.

    What I write is not intended to either (i) make “friends” with others nor (ii) “hurt” their feelings.

    What I write is intended to convey exactly what see, based on what I know … from my personal experience, to-date … nothing more and nothing less.


    Flux & wm,

    Was this a dirty play by Kevin Garnett?


    Not from my perspective.

    Did Garnett “lean into” that blind screen he set?

    IMO, yes, he did.

    Did Garnett intend to send a message to Pachulia?

    IMO, yes, he did.

    Did Garnett intend to injure Pachulia?

    IMO, no, he did not.

    When I play and/or coach elite level basketball … it seems that I might do it differently than you.


    Flux & wm,

    Reasonable people can disagree in their interpretation of the same event.

    In this instance, it’s safe to say, “We disagree.”

  11. FLUXLAND Says:

    Khandor if you wanna call that hard and physical, that’s your call. I have to disagree.


    Reasonable people can disagree in their interpretation of the same event.


  12. FLUXLAND Says:

    “Well, that, that’s a hard hit … but I will just say this … when you talk to players about when to try to get back at somebody that may have cheap-shotted you earlier in a series, you do it up 30 … and you do it right there, where you don’t cost your team a chance to win a game and go back at them immediately … that was a signature, ‘Good-bye’ Zaza.””

    “trying to get back” = cheap shot in return

    This alone proves my point, IMO that what Horry did was intentional and that he, in fact, had every intention to inflict injury:

    And doing it while up 21 points was only part of Pops’ plan to dismiss it as intentional. “Why would we do that? We were up by 20!” It was insurance for the next game.

    This only supports the notion that teams do whatever necessary to win, at all costs. I’m not sure why then people use words like sportsmanship and fair play. Or why there are even rules then.

    And I am not sure how you can say that if someone who “leans in” to “send a message” is not intent to inflict injury. What exactly would then be the purpose, IYO, for these actions?

  13. FLUXLAND Says:

    Really then, the refs should only be there to prevent fist fighting from occurring, as far as physical play is concerned. Everything else should be considered “part of the game”. There shouldn’t be a foul rule whatsoever.

    cheap shots=dirty play

  14. FLUXLAND Says:

    Not to mention that if coaches are out there teaching this sort of thing to players and children, as clearly Jeff VG is condoning this behaviour, I really don’t know what to think anymore. This is not the UFC, this is not the NFL, this is not rugby. When I am in the mood for “hard and physical” (read full contact sports) I then watch those sports.

  15. khandor Says:


    when to try to get back at somebody that may have cheap-shotted you earlier in a series …

    does not mean …

    “Cheap shot in return for cheap shot.”

    In fact, what it can mean instead is …

    “When someone cheap-shots you … the time and way to pay them back properly, according to the rules of the game, is two-fold … #1. on the scoreboard, by first putting them down by 30, and #2. with a clean, hard physical basketball maneuver that makes them understand, in no uncertain terms, that they are dealing with an opponent who is playing this game to win, asking for and giving no quarter in return.”

    Hopefully, you can see the difference.


    * The officials are there to enforce ‘The Rules of the Game’.

    Sometimes the officials make the proper call (the majority of the time) and sometimes they do not (the minority of the time).

    * Cheap shots should be penalized and are not part of the game.


    Recognizing good, hard, physical (championship calibre) basketball for exactly what it is … is NOT the same thing as equating this type of elite level hoops game with the degree of physicality in the NFL, rubgy, Greco-Roman Wrestling, etc.

  16. FeetinthePaint Says:

    A down-screen to free up a driving teammate is dirty now? That’s a basketball play, true and true.

    For the amount the commentators played up West’s back problems, you could tell this would blow out proportion the first time they got physical with him.

    The hate for the Spurs is overwhelming.

  17. withmalice Says:

    “Did Garnett “lean into” that blind screen he set?

    IMO, yes, he did.

    Did Garnett intend to send a message to Pachulia?

    IMO, yes, he did.”

    Ummm… no, Garnett doesn’t lean. He braces himself with his left leg.
    And on ‘sending a message’. I’m not sure how you can say that a message is intended to be sent, and that there’s no malicious intent.
    The very notion of intending to send a message means that you intend to hurt the player ‘receiving’ a message. Maybe not to the extent that David West was hurt (more on that), perhaps just shaking them up a little (like Zaza), but the intent is there.

    “When I play and/or coach elite level basketball … it seems that I might do it differently than you.”

    I’m sorry… did I miss something? You’ve played/coached at an elite level?
    If so, then maybe you lean (no pun intended) towards the ‘Coach Pop’ school of play.
    And for me, that’s always been questionable.

    @FITP – You really don’t believe that David West was discussed prior to the game by the coaching staff to players about making sure he had a few hard hits put on him (just post his 38/14 performance)? And that everyone on that roster wasn’t well aware that he had back issues?
    I have a theory on why it’s Robert Horry doing this – it’s one of the ways he can contribute to the Spurs team now, and if he’s suspended, no major loss to the roster. Ok… maybe a lil’ too much of the conspiracy theorist in that… but would it surprise anyone if it were true?

  18. khandor Says:


    Once again,

    “the intent to send a message …”

    has nothing to do with THAT message being the intent to hurt/injure someone.

    On the contrary, the message sent is that

    “you are dealing with a team that is going to play the game hard, physically, and to win … asking for no quarter and giving none in return.”

    Nothing in THAT message is about intending to “hurt/injure” anyone.


    When I watch that vid clip of Garnett, with my trained eye, I see Garnett “leaning in”, at the last split second, to ensure that he is braced properly, if Zaza cannot/will not avoid his screen, and the resulting contact is going to be substantial. That’s how you avoid getting injured, if you’re the player setting the screen (and you have no intention of being labelled as a “flopper”, yourself … which is, in fact, another way you can set that screen and avoid be injured).

    When you listen to Mark Jackson describe each of these two plays (by Garnett and by West) as not being “dirty” … perhaps you should re-think whether or not your perspective is that of someone who has played/coached at an elite level or not.

    As FITP suggested to you … “that’s a basketball play.”

  19. withmalice Says:

    I like conversing with you – you’re very analytical. I enjoy commenting here & having you comment on my blog… but the “I-know-because-I’m-better-than-you” stuff gets old. This ‘elite’ level of involvement in basketball doesn’t necessitate that your opinion is automatically right.
    Guess what? Even Phil Jackson makes errors (like leaving the starters out too long in the 4th in game 6).

    Khandor… what is it with the

    “with my trained eye”

    stuff? Your eye is no more trained than my eye, or Flux’s eye, or whatever.

    “…perhaps you should re-think whether or not your perspective is that of someone who has played/coached at an elite level or not.”

    Same back atcha.
    Sorry, telling me that you’re elite & we’re not, doesn’t count as an argument.

    You’re holding Mark Jackson up as the be-all-and-end-all on all things basketball? Sorry, BFD.
    Henry Abbott over at TrueHoop disagrees, and he’s been doing this for longer, and at a much higher level than thee or me. Hollinger questions it, and listening to the ESPN podcasts quite a few commenters their think it was shady.
    Respectfully, the bottom line is that opinions are like a–holes. We all have one.

    You paint yourself as being involved at the elite level, and whatever – that might well be true, I honestly don’t know. But you really do need to check the definition of ‘sending a message’. If there’s no pain at all, then there’s no message at all.
    I might not have played basketball at an ‘elite’ level (and there’s another term that perhaps needs to be defined), but I have played a few other sports at relatively high levels, and coached (well… assistant coached) a National Junior team.
    Each and every one of them that I’ve played that’s a contact sport (rugby, Australian Football) – if you’re “sending a message” through physical contact then there is intention to cause pain.
    So if you’re declaring that Horry was just sending West a message, then you are also stating that it was meant to hurt.
    And if you think this wasn’t discussed in detail by the Spurs braintrust, you’re kidding yourself.
    I have no problem with them availing themselves of an opportunity, but neither am I going to hide behind semantics. Robert Horry had a chance to hurt David West, and he took it.
    Was it ‘dirty’ in a strict definition of the rules?
    Was it shady?
    Undoubtedly so.

  20. khandor Says:


    If Henry Abbott thinks it was a dirty play, so be it.

    In my judgment, Henry Abbott is wrong.

    If John Hollinger thinks it was a dirty play, so be it.

    In my judgment, John Hollinger is wrong, as well.

    etc., etc., etc. …

    You are right, opinions are a dime a dozen.

    If you re-visit the vid-clip of that play, that you have up on your blog … and watch it over and over again, at regular speed, you will see that Horry sets his back screen on West, makes contact … and, then, as West falls forward to the ground (in the opposite direction) … in that split second, Horry’s attention is IMMEDIATELY turned to where the ball has since been passed, in the offensive right corner of the floor.

    In my experience … this is not the way an offending player “reacts” if it was his intention to injure his opponent when engaged in a “dirty” maneuver. What that type of player does … is look long and hard (or, in some cases, short and hard, or in other cases, short and disdainfully) at the opponent who he has just injured on purpose.

    That’s NOT what Robert Horry did in this instance.

    What Robert Horry did … is send a message by making a good, hard, physical, clean basketball play.

    That message is … that the Spurs play good, hard, physical, clean basketball … giving no quarter and asking for none in return.


    FWIW … I know full well that anything I write here is NOT about to change your perception of these events … but, what I can do, is attempt to clarify what it is that I’m seeing when I look at that specific basketball play.

    My interpretation agrees with Mark Jackson’s and with FITP’s.

    Your interpretation agrees with Henry Abbott, John Hollinger, HP, Flux, and countless others.

    Each of us thinks the other is wrong … and that’s okay by me. 🙂

  21. FLUXLAND Says:

    Again, I stand by what I said and some of what Malice reiterated:

    *Sending a message is code for inflicting pain. It has been in every sport I have ever watched.

    *There many ways to send the message of a team playing good hard, phyical, clean basketball and what Horry did is not an example of that.

    *using Mark Jackson and Jeff VG and what they said as proof that in fact that was only a basketball play makes little sense. Do you really expect either of them of to say on national television that in fact it was a dirty play? Do your really think this is something the network or the NBA would be really be big fans of ? Not to mention the source: two dudes that are from NY and the dog kill dog mentality world.
    If anything if you read between the lines of what VG said.. THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT HE SAID. Translation: Well, that was a dirty play, but I will say this… when you try and pay someone back with a dirty play you do it at a time when you are up huge and when any potential ramifications of that play will not cost your team the game or series.
    Not to mention, like I said before, doing it at said time makes it seem that the notion of it was done on purpose and intent can be dismissed with statements like: well, the game wasn’t even close, what would be the point?

    How you can read that statement and not think he in fact is condoning dirty play, is beyond me.

    *And the thing is Khandor, with statements like these:
    “pay them back properly, according to the rules of the game,”
    “asking for and giving no quarter in return.” – meaning no mercy fight to the death.. take no prisoners.. etc etc etc.

    and others you have made on Arses blog, along the lines of: you come at me and your are getting it back twice in return, regardless of age, gender or mental capacity – it just means you subscribe to the school of thought that you would, like Pop, look at the rule book and see exactly what you can get away with, to only hide behind the “well it’s within the rule book” or like the Patriots coach: Well, I interpreted the rule book my way.. so really it’s not my fault the didn’t word it in a way it was clear to me. Hence it’s all within the rules and we did nothing wrong.

    As well as the fact that you seem to interpret sports as war with references to military strategies and books about it. cutting heads off etc etc etc ..

    Please don’t make me laugh with “this is not the way an offending player “reacts” if it was his intention to injure his opponent when engaged in a “dirty” maneuver.” That is EXACTLY what you do to further hide the fact you were doing something you were not supposed to be doing. “What? Who? Me?”

    From my perspective both this time and the Nash deal, Horry walked to the bench with his head down as if asking himself why am I doing this.. this is not who I am! Did he stand by West to see if he was OK or talk to him? No, because Pop would have shot him right there on the court! How dare you show mercy? Is it odd Horry never had this reputation prior to joining the Spurs?

    “the Spurs play good, hard, physical, clean basketball” How you can say this with the overwhelming amount of evidence over the last 10 years that this is NOT true and the countless fans who have come out after this incident and said that the time for hiding behind the BS is over, is beyond me. You tube is full of clips that support the fact they are dirty.

    But if your mentality is kill or be killed with “no regard for human life” and anything in between mixed in with a little “win at all costs” while taking advantage of the rule book.. I understand why you cannot see an ounce of dirty play and intent to inflict injury in those plays.

    And you still didn’t answer the “in the air” argument. What is the difference between Haywood shoving LeBron and Horry checking West when both acts are committed in the air..where both players were exposed to potential for injury.. besides the fact Horry is hiding behind the backpick BS?

  22. khandor Says:


    If you really want to sink your teeth into the heart of this matter that is fine by me. We can go at it one item at a time.

    First, the “in the air” argument.

    If you watch the Lebron/Haywood play you will see Lebron establish his path to the basket and then rise up to initiate his attack toward the rim. Once he has left the ground, and is in mid-flight, it is Haywood who enters into Lebron’s path to the basket and physically engages Lebron by hitting him with his forearms as Lebron tries to complete his offensive maneuver.

    If you watch the West/Horry play you see Horry establish his position to set his back screen and that it’s in fact West who “moves backwards” into Horry, not the other way around.

    At the instant prior to the actual contact, Horry “rises up” and “leans in” toward West, in order to brace himself for the ensuing contact, so that it is not Horry who is going to get knocked over on the play; that’s all.

    Horry doesn’t change the position of his feet to “step into” West’s path after his initial screening position has been set. Horry doesn’t jump into West’s back to increase the impact of his screen.

    Horry establishes his position and, just prior to contact being made by West (not the other way around) braces himself by leaning forward into the screen.

    As FITP pointed out to you, if anything, it is actually West who “jumps backwards” on the play, moving his body into Horry, not the other way around. Because West’s attention was focused on the man he was defending, West is moving backwards without his attention focused on Horry.

    Could Horry have moved out of the way to spare West the contact on his back of that specific screen? You bet he could.

    Should Horry have moved out of the way? Not in my opinion.

    There’s a difference between Lebron being in mid-flight when Haywood enters into Lebron’s path and initiates the ensuing contact with James … vs Horry setting his back screen and having West move backward into that position already occupied by Horry.

    Hopefully, you can see this difference for yourself … after it’s been explained to you by me (and others?) … but, if you can’t, there’s little more I can do to help you understand it better.


    If you’d like to respond further to this explanation, go right ahead.

    If not and this expalantion is satisfactory to you, then please say so … and identify which part/item of your previous message you would like me to explain next. 🙂

  23. FLUXLAND Says:

    Khandor, we are def. not watching the same play. Or you haven’t watched it enough times.

    “Horry establishd his position” .. this never happened.. watch the link again.

    He never set his feet. There is not pause.. it is all one continuous montion.

    When he : “rises up” and “leans in” toward West, he does NOT do this in order to brace himself for the ensuing contact – he does this to BLAST West in the back and prevent his from catching the ball.

    If what you are saying were true, Horry would have stood there and held his position. When he sees West jump UP and slightly backwards with his arms he ,again, tries to prevent the interception by hitting him in the back.
    West is not JUMPING BACKWARDS. Had he come down he would have had the same position, not a more advantageous one, hence Horry had no reason to “increase the impact of his screen.”

    Horry saw an opportunity to, as instructed by the coaching staff, not be afraid to get physical and send a message. That message being: we are doing whatever it takes to minimize your impact in the next game.

    And if this was a clean play.. why does the ref call a foul on Horry?

    It is that play, by karma alone, that will ensure the Spurs exit out of the playoffs.

  24. FLUXLAND Says:

    Not to mention… as I’ve said numerous time.. you are up by 20.. there was absolutely no reason whatsoever to set a “hard pick” and “send messages” other then to inflict pain or injury.

  25. khandor Says:

    IMO, the official called a fould because West got knocked to the ground on the play, letting out a yell in the process.

    In my experience, officials have a tendency to call a foul when this type of action happens, if the offending player “leans in” to the screen and the defensive player gets knocked to the ground from the resulting contact.


    When I say that Horry “set his feet to establish position for the screen” … this does not mean the same thing as saying Horry’s feet were set for a full 1 count or any other specific length of time.

    * Horry went to set a pick on CP3.
    * West left Horry to help defend Ginobili with CP3.
    * Horry slipped to the basket trying to get open for a layup.
    * West tried to retreat to cut off Ginobili’s drive to the basket.
    * Horry stopped his slip attempt and, instead, positioned himself to set a back screen on West, so that Ginobili could continue his dribble around West.
    * Ginobili picks up his dribble and, instead, tries to make a cross-court pass to the Michael Finley (in the opposite corner).
    * West, as he’s retreating vs Ginobili’s bribble, jumps to challenge Ginobili’s pass attempt.
    * West’s momentum, from his defensive retreat and his jump, then carries him into Horry’s back screen, at the same time as he deflects the ball.
    * Horry rises up on the balls of his feet AND turns his head to the left; Horry does not extend his forearms or turn his upper body to put his shoulder into West’s back; Horry keeps his arms close to his body and braces himself for the contact that he knows is about to happen when his body and West’s collide.

    That’s the action I see when I look at that sequence of events.

    The message Horry sent is that when he sets a screen … he sets a screen. He is not going to “move out of the way”. He is not going to flop. He is going to set his screen, brace himself and then endure the contact that results from that type of collision in a basketball game. Then he’s going to pick himself, if need be, and continue playing. No quarter asked for and none given in return.

    Enduring the pain involved with the different types of collisions which occur on a regular basis in a high level basketball game is a two-way street and has nothing to do with trying to injure another player.


    re: It is that play, by karma alone, that will ensure the Spurs exit out of the playoffs.

    If this was the case, does this type of interpretation of events, on your part, also mean that IYO the play Horry made last year vs Steve Nash MUST have been okay, according to the situational “Karma” involved, as the Spurs eventually went on to beat the Suns in that series? (rather than lose, as a type of retrobutive justice) 🙂

    Interesting to see how “Karma” works out now and then in the mind of others.

  26. FLUXLAND Says:

    The bottom line is this.. he delivered a much-harder-then-necessary pick or foul when the outcome of the game had already been decided. Forget all the other elements, for me, his right shoulder, heels raised, motion to raise INTO, and football like delivery suggest dirty play. No reason for that kind of action, that late into the game other the inflict pain.
    The karma in the Nash incident was negated and equaled/offset when Steve decided to perform his Oscar winning/stunt man leap and subsequent laying on the floor while portraying “i’ve been run over by a truck” gestures. Not to mention Steve didn’t have to be escorted off the floor.

    Now and then are completely different.

    Tomorrow will tell us.

    Who you got today? I got the Cavs.

  27. FLUXLAND Says:

    No he doesn’t extend his arms.. he extends his entire body.. toes to head.

  28. khandor Says:

    I’ve got the Celtics … winning easily. 🙂

  29. FeetinthePaint Says:

    Wow. Lots of action since I last checked on here. Intense. I may have missed some things but let me throw my two cents in…

    Let me address the whole issue about David West’s back being discussed in the Spurs game plan. They may have discussed it. They may have not. Our money is on the fact that they would have discussed it.

    Would Pop and the coaching staff have told their players to “lay a few hits on D. West?” Probably. But it probably wasn’t emphasized any more than “being physical” with a guy that went off in the game prior.

    The problem, for me, starts when we make more than on assumption on a player’s motive. Obviously, as bloggers, we’re running on hearsay fumes. But I think that adhering to the idea that Horry is in there to lay a hit on David West’s back is a little preposterous.

    I understand how you can see that back-screen as dirty. Physical contact on someone with a back issue can be construed that way. But let’s follow the sequence of events that lead to Horry’s screen. Would you expect Horry to go “oh, Mr. West, excuse me, let me allow you to deflect Manu’s pass because I’m afraid I may make contact with your lower back.”

    I doubt it. The following example should bring more protest if we follow this line of thinking… Ginobili was having ankle issues during the beginning of the season. Byron Scott and the coaching staff should be well aware of this so what was the result: Mo Peterson ran Ginobili off of a million screens during the first two games.

    Is that bad? Not in my opinion. Is that worse than Horry setting a pick he’d set regardless of West’s back issues? I would think so.

    It’s obviously not a popular opinion and I can understand that. The thing is that if it weren’t the Spurs, this play would be an absolute non-issue. I actually cringed when it happened, not because of David West, but because of the back-lash Horry would receive. Funny how that works. I’m actually thinking about breaking from blogging to enjoy the rest of the playoffs, haha.

  30. FLUXLAND Says:

    Because letting West make the steal or deflecting the ball and then fouling him would have been different how? Would that steal have changed the complexion of the game in any way? Was it crucial that the Hornets don’t get the ball? NO!
    It was 100% unnecessary and it’s sole purpose was to inflict some sort of injury. Claiming otherwise it 100% pure garbage. And you can try and explain it 1000 different way but at the end of the day there isn’t one single solitary why he had to do what he did. NONE!! 10min left in the 4th in a game that had already been decided.

    Man, this is so ridiculous. It has nothing to do with his back history. That play made no sense on so many levels. Defending the maliciousness of it make even less. And had that play occurred on any other team, the sentiment by reasonable people would exactly the same.

  31. FeetinthePaint Says:

    10 minutes is a hell of a lot of time. If the Spurs didn’t think so, they wouldn’t have had Ginobili on the court at all. If the Hornets didn’t think so, they wouldn’t have let West stay on the court with a “bad back.”

    Single plays mean things, whether you want to believe it or not. In a league where any team can beat any other team on any given night, the triviality of a single play shouldn’t be questioned. If you let West hit a bucket, would it really matter? If you let him deflect the ball, would it really matter? Yes.

    What I’m debating is that it’s definitely not 100% to inflict some sort of injury and that it did have a purpose. I haven’t tried to explain it a thousand ways, I’ve been trying to get at the root of my perspective.

    I wasn’t defending the maliciousness of anything. What I was getting at is that regardless of any malicious intent, “reasonable” people should understand that there’s a rhyme and reason to why the play was made. If you think it’s 100% garbage, that’s fine.

    But the root of your argument is speculation that Horry was looking to lay some lumber. Based on my comments prior to this one, how do you not even acknowledge the other perspective?

    100% malicious? 100% garbage? 100% anything? How can you even throw superlatives out if your name isn’t Robert Horry?

  32. khandor Says:


    Without looking at the vid-clip, tell me which of the three officials you think made the foul call on that play?

    a) The Lead Official (postioned on the baseline, directly in front of the play);
    b) The Center Official (positioned on the opposite sideline); or,
    c) The Trail Official (positioned toward the Center-line, directly behind the play).

    If not for the fact that West fell down on the contact, there would not have been a foul called at all, since the play was little more than a regular, hard, physical back screen which the Spurs set and use all the time.

  33. FLUXLAND Says:

    I can understand the other side of the argument. I really can. I can understand the whole “never let up at any moment regardless of the score” thinking. I know one play can change everything.

    What I cannot understand is that people, not necessarily you in particular, but Spur fans everywhere I have surfed are dismissing the whole play as “just another play” within the game with no intention beyond just preventing the obvious.

    All I am saying that if the solitary purpose was to prevent the steal or shift of momentum, there was multiple other ways to do this. To me, it just seemed that from the start of the game, the entire team was under instruction to seek an opportunity where more the necessary damage can be inflicted on West. I have replayed that video over a 100 times and I’ll be damn it Horry didn’t deliver a football like hit on the guy. I have never seen a backpick like that in the entire time I have watched the NBA. And the fact he did it while West was in mid air speaks for itself.

    There was much more to that delivery then meets the naked eye. And people refuse to look beyond the obvious.

  34. FLUXLAND Says:

    See? That is EXACTLY what I mean.

    “since the play was little more than a regular, hard, physical back screen which the Spurs set and use all the time.”

    This is what bothers me! I, for one, cannot accept (interpreting with my perspective the Spurs”kill or be killed” M.O.) that play had no other motive then to prevent a simple steal.

    I was under the impression it C)

  35. khandor Says:

    You are wrong.

    It was not C.

    Now go ahead and watch the vid-clip again.


    It was a regular back screen by the Spurs that both the Lead & the Trail officials were going to let go as a non-foul, until the whistle was blown by the Centre official 40 feet away from the play who was looking at the action from BEHIND Robert Horry.


    If you’re trying to hurt someone when you set a back screen, you DO NOT set that screen with your legs straight while raised up on the balls of your feet.

    If you’re trying to hurt someone when you set a back screen, you position yourself in a wide-frame football stance, with your knees bent, in an athletic position, with your arms crossed in front of you, away from your torso, leaning forward with your head up and facing your intended target, ready to smack him good.

    In contrast to this position, Robert Horry was caught totally off guard when Manu Ginobili stopped his dribble penetration and tried to make a pass around/over David West … and David West decided to jump up in the middle of his defensive retreat, while Horry was trying to set a back screen on him. In a sense, what you see Horry doing is two-fold:

    i) His best effort to complete his job on the play … which was to set a back screen on West, not move out of the way; and,

    ii) His best effort to brace himself … by raising up and leaning forward into West, as West jumped toward him, so that it wouldn’t be Horry who was lying on the ground having been knocked over by West.

    In a classic sense, Horry’s reaction to the sight of seeing West jump toward him was to straighten up his body, flinch, and prepare as best he could for the contact that was about to happen.

    Horry wasn’t going to move out of the way but neither was he trying to hurt West on that play.

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