Saturday, June 9, 2007

Things to Look for in Game 2

First of all, thanks to Jerusalem Joe for showing me how to do this

EDIT: Got It!!

Game one went exactly the way I figured it would the other night. It was a typical Spurs blowout, where they go up big to enter the fourth and then allow the lead to dwindle in the name of energy conservation. Seriously, the Spurs have invented a new type of domination, one where the final score doesn’t show the sheer depth of command the Spurs had over the game. Consider: Most would acknowledge that the Spurs have played dominant basketball this post season, yet of their 13 wins, only three were double figure victories. In game five in the Denver series the Spurs closed out by 15, leaving no doubt that they belonged in the second round. In games 4&5 against Utah, the Spurs had something to prove after they were drubbed by 26, so they won by 12 and 25. However, this is not to say that the Spurs were playing in close games all the way, only three of their games were won by two possession or less (and only game 5 in Phoenix was a one possession game by the end, the Spurs won by three). Other than those six games, the Spurs have won two games by seven points, two by eight points, and three games by nine. What this tells me is that they are proficient at knowing exactly how much of their lead they have to protect to ensure the win. A stat I’d like to see is the amount the Spurs have led after three quarters, but I haven’t been able to find it on either ESPN, or (my sources for most statistics). Still, from the games I’ve seen, it always seems like the Spurs are up more at the end of the third than at the end of the fourth. Usually, it seems that they lose some of the lead in the fourth quarter (like in Game 1 of the Finals), but apply the breaks on the other team just enough to make sure they always keep the game out of reach. Of course, it is possible to interpret this as a team that easily gives up 4th quarter leads, but the Spurs always win these games, and seem to do it in a way that never makes the outcome in doubt.

A couple of things I’ll be looking forward to seeing in game 2:

How is Lebron going to adjust to the Spurs coverage? You know he will, but you also have to think that Popovich has other defensive schemes he’s going to be using. I hope to see a bit of a chess match between Bron Bron and the Spurs’ gurus on the bench.

I know Mike Brown has made it clear that Larry Hughes is his starting pg, but I cannot fathom him not giving Gibson more minutes. I want to see what Gibson does with these minutes and whether the Spurs have enough to put the clamps on him too.

Another Hughes related note. At this point, it is clear the Lebron is out defending Larry. Brown had some success when he stuck Lebron on Tony Parker and hid Hughes in the corner guarding Bruce Bowen. Clearly, with Hughes hobbling, this was a nice band aid in game one to stop some of the bleeding, but I don’t have faith that Lebron can effectively guard Tony for the rest of the series and keep up his energy on the offensive end. Who is Mike Brown going to go to that has the lateral quickness to keep up with Parker. Might we have another Eric Snow sighting?

Big Z is not going to score two points again. The question is, will he get enough help from the perimeter to keep the Spurs from camping out around him?
All in all, game two should be fascinating; I expect a bunch of adjustments from the Cavs and some interesting countermoves from San Antonio.

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