Yesterday, we looked at Chris Paul clutching up in the 4th quarter to preserve the lead at home against a tough Blazers team. Tonight, we look at a different situation, getting big stops to come from behind on the road to steal a win against a desperate Heat team.

I've probably written more posts about Bruce Bowen than any other singular player on this blog. And I never get tired writing about Bowen because to me, he typifies the kind of player that I value most, a lockdown defender. Tonight, the Spurs knew they were in tough, and ended up playing from behind for 46 of the 48 minutes of the game. They had just flown in on the red eye after beating the Lakers last night and the Heat were rested and highly motivated to end a 14-game losing streak, probably the toughest situation for a Spurs team to go into.

When the game came down to the final 2 minutes, the Spurs were still behind and though they were getting good scoring chances and making them, they needed stops. Now, they knew the Heat would go to their clutch player Dwayne Wade, so the game rested on Bruce Bowen to come up with the big stops, and that is exactly what he did. Watch the last few sequences of the game,

The final 4 sequences went like so:

1. 1:02, 88-89 (for MIA), Bowen plays Wade tough, forces Wade to shoot a long jumper which misses
2. 0:43, 88-89 (for MIA), Manu Ginobili drives and scores the game winning layup
3. 0:30, 90-89, Bowen fights through 3 screens, then stays tough and forces Wade to a contested layup which he misses. Heat retain the rebound.
4. 0:12, 90-89, Bowen (with help) collapses on Wade driving to the basket and force the turnover

Final score, 90-89

If you are behind in a game, you must get stops. It's that simple. Having a lockdown defender like Bruce Bowen on your team is invaluable for that specific reason. Our varsity team last year was one of the top teams in our area. We lost our own tournament in the final game, when the other team made a switch and put a tough physical player to defend our team's top guard. The other team originally behind by 5 would go on a 20-5 run to close out the game and win the tournament. Our top guard did not score a single point in those last 10 minutes. My point here is, don't underrate your top 1v1 defenders, they will win you ball games if you use them correctly.

Brand new for 2008 is Hubie Brown's DVD on his Defensive Playbook for success. Coach Brown is just a basketball genius and his ability to teach the game is unmatched. Don't forget to check out the X's and O's of Basketball Forum to talk about this and your favorite basketball topics.