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San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich hates three-pointers.
That's right, Popovich, whose team had made 161 three-pointers this postseason coming into Sunday's game two of the NBA Finals, said in a press conference recently that he thinks every field goal should be worth two points.
Popovich, who is attempting to win his fifth NBA championship said he uses the three-point shot because it is necessary to be successful, but would rather not have to.
“It makes it tougher to cover that much room defensively on the court, so you do have to pay attention to it defensively. It’s a heck of a weapon,” said Popovich, according to USA Today.
Having to defend a lot of court is difficult against a player like LeBron James, who had 35 points in Miami's 98-96 Game 2 victory, notes The Associated Press. Three-point shooting is a huge part of both the Spurs' and Heat's offenses.
For the Heat, they rely on James to get deep penetration to create open looks from three for players such as Ray Allen and Shane Battier. Because shots from farther away are worth an additional point, teams are unable to just sit back and protect the paint. Instead, defensive players have to frantically run out to contest three-point shots because they can drastically shift a game.
Popovich's game plan in this series, as it was in last year's NBA Finals, is to have multiple bodies in the paint to discourage James from driving. The idea is that the Spurs would rather have James take an outside shot than one near the basket, almost daring James to shoot threes. In game two, Popovich's plan backfired, as James went 3-3 from three, including hitting one with 6:09 left in the fourth quarter to put the Heat up 88-87.
The three-point shot has been in the NBA since 1980, but it would be fun to imagine the Spurs defending James if there weren't threes. It would likely be five defenders in the paint waiting for James to drive. However, because there are threes, the Spurs have to cover the entire floor and worry about the likes of Ray Allen getting hot from behind the arc.
Popovich may not like the three, but he has to admit, it has been good for his offense. The Spurs shot an NBA best .397 from three this season.