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Preview: Warriors need to call on their round 1 experience to beat the Spurs

May 8, 2013, 3:00 PM EDT

Cory Joseph, Stephen Curry

We always think of the Spurs as the team with experience. They have championship core and all those playoff wins, after all.

But the Warriors have some experience too, especially when it comes to the situation they’re facing heading into game 2 in San Antonio Wednesday night. In their 1st round upset of the Nuggets, the Warriors also entered game 2 trailing 1-0. In that series they also lost game 1 on a last second shot after mostly controlling the action that night. The Warriors went on to win game 2 in Denver, getting the split they needed to take control of the series.

Tonight, then, the biggest thing the Warriors can do is recall on their experiences from the first round and understand that their goals are still attainable. They mustn’t get hung up on how they lost game 1. They lost a big lead. It happens. Their focus instead should be on everything they did to get that lead while understanding they have the ingredients needed to win this game.

This isn’t to say there aren’t adjustments to be made on there end. The Warriors must find a way to get Jarrett Jack going. One of the reasons Stephen Curry wore down by the end of the game was due to the enormous load he had to carry as lead guard with Jack struggling from the floor, shooting only 5-15. Getting Jack free to create going to the rim — especially when Tim Duncan is on the bench — will help generate offense, lightening Curry’s burden in the process.

Golden State must also find a way to find more minutes for Andrew Bogut. While Klay Thompson has turned into the Warriors’ perimeter stopper, Bogut is still the key to their entire defense. It’s no coincidence that the Spurs’ 4th quarter run came with Bogut mostly on the bench. It’s understandable that in a high pace, heavy pick and roll game that Bogut can be somewhat out of place, but he’s too important to keep on the bench for extended stretches, especially when defense and rebounding will be such big keys in beating San Antonio.

On the Spurs’ side, they must also start to make some adjustments. Tony Parker had a difficult time dealing with the length and quickness Thompson offered defensively, only breaking and showing that typical Parker spark after Thompson fouled out. Parker needs to be more aggressive earlier in the clock and find scoring chances before the defense is set, potentially even getting possessions started before that cross-match with Thompson can take place. Parker was at his best when he abandoned setting up in the half court and instead hunted fast break chances — even when he didn’t have a man advantage. He can do that more and should look to.

And even though Duncan had 19 points, they must also find ways to get him easier baskets. Using quick screen actions to free him up going to the post or looking for him more in early offense rather than as an outlet at the top of the key after running drag pick and rolls are a couple of ways to make this happen. Duncan is facing two quality big man defenders in Bogut and Festus Ezili and that showed in his 6-15 shooting line in game 1. But he’s still as crafty as ever in the post with an ability to not only score but to draw fouls.

Defensively the Spurs must also decide what their match ups are going to be. Tony Parker really struggled guarding Curry and Thompson, while Kawhi Leonard did  the best job of all San Antonio defenders on Curry. Don’t be surprised if we see a switch where Curry moves onto Harrison Barnes while Leonard defends Curry full time. Spurs’ coach Gregg Popovich typically isn’t fond of switching or tilting his defense too far in any one direction, but in this case Curry is simply too important a player to the Warriors’ success to not do everything possible to limit his effectiveness.

For both teams, it’s all about calling on your experiences to get you this all important win. For San Antonio, they’ve been around the block enough times to know that going up 2-0 puts them in great position to win this series. While the Warriors know that all they need to do is steal this game and they’re suddenly the team with home court and momentum.

Game 1 offered fans the best show of the playoffs to date and we’d all love nothing more than to get a repeat effort from both teams.

  1. rushbacker - May 8, 2013 at 3:05 PM

    How’s that going to help them? I highly doubt Pop’s gonna start two 6’8″ guys in the front court for half the series. . .

  2. azarkhan - May 8, 2013 at 4:25 PM

    Like everyone else, I had heard of the amazing Stephen Curry. But the Warrior I was most impressed with was Klay Thompson. His defense is very good, and I don’t think there is a shot he can’t make. Plus he is 6’7″! A talented guard that size can be virtually unstoppable.

  3. cameltoehoe - May 8, 2013 at 5:38 PM

    I know the series & season is not over for the dubs. But, I wish they get tougher next season; both physically & mentally. These playoff games & age should help that. Rush returning should help. Klay needs to world on not reaching in & bailing out the offense. He needs to get in the gym with Jackson’s buddy, Reggie Miller & model his game after him. That’s a stretch though.

    Curry & Jack need to work on their handles. Just plain old youth league mistakes. As for the rooks: Ezelli needs to work on catching the ball. So many times he was in the position to attack the rim but couldn’t handle the rock. Barnes needs more of Draymond’s work ethic & defensive attitude. In turn, Green could work on his offensive. I hope they work out together this offseason.

    Finally, would love to see them get someone like Indiana’s role players. Add some toughness. They have some last year, soon to be free-agents that could be some trading pieces. Please stay away from Gasol (Lakers) & Jordan (Clips)

  4. baymac408 - May 8, 2013 at 5:48 PM

    Lets go warriors!! Big night tonight.. Go get it!! We aren’t shocking the world anymore we just need to perform at a high level period now!

  5. ragingmouse - May 8, 2013 at 6:07 PM

    Like warriors, their downfall is they rely too much on jump shots or outside shots. They need to work on their inside game.

    – Spurs by 5 tonight.

  6. baymac408 - May 9, 2013 at 12:53 AM

    Gettin it in !! Dubs up

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