One key: Contain 'wild card' Ginobili

Understand their winning formula, and then try tinkering with the elements. But they're unbeatable if their Big Three are clicking.

Updated: March 24, 2005, 11:52 AM ET
By Brian James | ESPN Insider
With all of the shuffling of NBA coaches at the first hint of trouble within an organization, it makes the great organizations at the top of the league look even better.

And talk about the model franchise.

The San Antonio Spurs have been the model of consistency in pro sports and the envy of the majority of coaches, scouts and players alike who would love to be in a winning and stable situation. I'm going to explain what makes this team so great. But I'm also going to present a blueprint on how to beat the Spurs, with and without the injured Tim Duncan.

The Spurs' success begins with leadership, and that's personified by president and head coach Gregg Popovich. He has put together a formula for winning, both on and off the court. He supplies the groundwork for what he wants, then allows everyone to do their jobs. His relationship with perennial MVP candidate Duncan is more like father and son, which is refreshing in today's game. This winning formula starts inside with Duncan, but doesn't stop there. Here are a few reasons why San Antonio is still regarded by most experts as the team to beat if Duncan – sidelined recently by an ankle sprain – is healthy come playoff time.