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Spurs don’t need to adjust as much as you think for Game 3

Jun 10, 2013, 1:14 PM EDT

Spurs' Parker, Duncan, and Ginobili sit on the bench during their loss to the Heat in Game 2 of their NBA Finals basketball playoff in Miami Reuters

It wasn’t so much the plan as the execution of it.

Despite what the final score suggests, San Antonio did a number of things right in Game 2. They once again made things difficult for LeBron James — through two games he is averaging 17.5 points on 42.4 percent shooting. He started Sunday night 2-of-12 shooting. Yes, he’s getting boards and dishing out assists and blocking Tiago Splitter at the rim, but he is not dominating games like he is capable.

The Spurs also did a good job for most of the first seven quarters of this series taking away the transition baskets that fuel the massive Heat runs that no team can match. San Antonio has made a point of getting back and clogging the lane.

What failed the Spurs in Game 2 not design but the execution of the plan. They had 17 turnovers, and while the Heat cranked up their defensive pressure a lot of those were just bad passes and decisions by the Spurs. The kind they don’t normally make. When was the last time you saw Tim Duncan pass the ball into the first row? Don’t expect those same mental mistakes in Game 3.

Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili combined to shoot 10-of-33 on the night. Duncan and Parker can be expected to have better games going forward (Manu, we’re not so sold).

If the Spurs get back to executing like they know how, they will be right in Game 3. They are not going to change their defense much because they shouldn’t — you contain LeBron and make the other guys beat you. Tuesday night they did.

But there are a couple other things they need to get back to doing.

One key is they have to get back to attacking in the middle of the court. Tony Parker attacking from the top of the key and getting into the paint will break down any defense, including the Heat. But not only did Miami crank up its pressure it worked hard at controlling the middle of the court and pushing the Spurs wide. Chris Andersen was particularly good at blowing up Spurs plays. That pressure led to Danny Green threes but not enough points in the paint. San Antonio has to take back the middle of the court.

Another, they have to figure out the LeBron/Chalmers pick and roll. Miami did a good job of starting it’s pick-and-roll lower — below the free throw line if possible, often more in the elbow area — and that plus an attacking Mario Chalmers forced the Spurs to make quicker help decisions and the result was lanes to attack or passing lanes to Mike Miller and Ray Allen at the arc.

Miami is still going to get its points — this was the best offense in the NBA this past season. That LeBron guy is still pretty good. But if the Spurs take care of the ball then make a few more shots they can squelch those Heat runs and stay right in the game.

That’s what we should expect in Game 3.

  1. mannyfresh209 - Jun 10, 2013 at 2:02 PM

    The Spurs didn’t play very well. Fine. Point taken. The Heat haven’t played to their potential, either. Difference is, when the Heat are playing below par, they still make it a close game. The Spurs absolutely cannot afford to play an off-game against Miami. Too many weapons on this Heat roster to play below-average against.

    Hopefully the Spurs can pick it up. Worst thing is a boring Finals!!!!

    • fanofthegame79 - Jun 10, 2013 at 2:26 PM

      This has been a pretty good Finals so far. A nail-biter in game 1 capped off by a crazy shot from Parker. Game 2 was close until we saw a Heat run (which we all know they’re capable of doing in any game). Now we shift back to San Antonio for 3 games….and still have high drama!

      • mannyfresh209 - Jun 10, 2013 at 2:32 PM

        Yeah I really enjoyed the game until a few minutes in to the 4th quarter when I realized it was all but officially over lol

        It’s a great series so far. The only point I’m trying to make is that I hope San Antonio came maintain their level of execution throughout this series because even though I want Miami to win the series, I don’t want it to end prematurely either. I was most nervous about the Spurs playing Miami than any other team. I just want them to live up to it and not wilt like they did last season against OKC in the WCF.

        I’m a SF Giants fan and last season’s World Series was one of the most boring I could ever remember.

      • fanofthegame79 - Jun 10, 2013 at 2:38 PM

        I hear you, my friend! It’s not entertainment if it’s not entertaining!

    • spursareold - Jun 10, 2013 at 2:33 PM

      It doesn’t really matter how close the games are. San Antonio doesn’t start game 3 in a hole for points in the series. It’s one game, apiece. If Miami wins 3 blowouts and SA wins 4 nail biters, guess who goes home with the Larry O’Brien trophy?

    • hdinh14 - Jun 10, 2013 at 4:15 PM

      I agree. The Spurs have only been blown out for about 7 minutes during the entire series so far, and have otherwise been “in” the game for the most part of 8 quarters. They are fine, but just need to make sure they compose themselves when the Heat start to have a big run…and maybe Pop should have called timeout after about a 10 point lead? Instead he wanted the players to play it out, but you can see the effects of a huge run (33-5).

  2. jaydm84 - Jun 10, 2013 at 2:22 PM

    I think you are making the assumption on the predication that Miami won’t convert those transition baskets the way they usually do. The spurs were fortunate to be in the game at all at halftime. I don’t think they can rely on shooting 66% from 3 for another half. I seriously doubt there will be another blow out like this, though.

  3. jtmartinez34 - Jun 10, 2013 at 2:59 PM

    Watch LeBron’s new pick technique. He doesn’t stand straight up, he crouches with his knees spread out like a woman in labor. It was effective in taking up space, making it hard for the defender to get around it. Leaves his knees open though. I’d make him pay for that by running through a few times hard. If there is a knee to knee collision, it is his fault for trying to get cute.

    • 808raiderinparadise - Jun 10, 2013 at 5:12 PM

      LBJ been called for illegal screen/foul for it in both games.

      KG been doing it his whole career, bunch of guys really….common edge used, not a big deal.

      Make him pay for running through a few times hard? See Thiago Splitter

  4. jbeagles23 - Jun 10, 2013 at 3:50 PM

    You’ve clearly never played a sport because a knee on knee usually hurts both players

    • mannyfresh209 - Jun 10, 2013 at 4:08 PM

      Lol right? Let me hurt myself to try hurting this tank in LeBron

  5. jtmartinez34 - Jun 10, 2013 at 5:13 PM

    2 wimps. Run right through him, just like I would with you two d-bags. Rrrr-Right? Any dip S who would allow another player to continue to use a knees-out strategy to continue to beat them w/o retribution has clearly never played a sport on a competitive level.

  6. jtmartinez34 - Jun 10, 2013 at 5:15 PM

    Thiago who? Exactly.

  7. mungman69 - Jun 10, 2013 at 5:26 PM

    Just how much do I think that the Spurs have to adjust, anyway.

  8. jbeagles23 - Jun 10, 2013 at 6:06 PM

    Jmartinez has 0 common sense. There’s not a player on the spurs who could run through lebron. As well from day one the way you’re taught to set a screen is to get there and set a base. Take up as much space as possible. Good try though. Keep telling yourself that video games are considered competitive sports cause you can play online. Loser

    • savvybynature - Jun 10, 2013 at 11:26 PM

      Dejuan Blair could run through Lebron pretty easily I bet. And if Lebron was stationary and Diaw had some momentum, I’d bet he could too.
      The Spurs don’t play that way though. They don’t intentionally try to beat other teams/players up, and I’m glad. But it’s not like Lebron has superhuman strength. He’s a very strong dude, but it’s the NBA, there are lots of really big, strong people.

  9. kwilcox5037 - Jun 10, 2013 at 8:16 PM

    Please Please!!!!!! beat the Heat Spurs!!!! I’m not a Spurs fan but I just want them to beat the Heat!!!

    • markisb62 - Jun 11, 2013 at 9:21 AM

      What a stupid comment!

      You’re NOT a Spurs fan, but you want to see them win because of the fact that you’re REALLY not a Heat fan. So you hate the Heat and are not a Spurs fan either.

      Dude, why watch?…. Better yet, why even make a comment???

  10. jbeagles23 - Jun 11, 2013 at 8:15 AM

    Yea ill give you Blair. What happened to him? Had so much promise

  11. trimaster1 - Jun 11, 2013 at 12:05 PM

    I think the longer this series goes on, the better it will be for the Heat. Tim Duncan is a GREAT player. There’s no doubt about his ability, work ethic, and desire to win. Tony Parker is an incredible player who I think doesn’t get all the accolades he truly deserves.

    However, with that said, Tim Duncan is still 37. How much would be left in the tank if this series goes 6 or 7 games? How much defensive pressure can Parker take, then turn around and run the offense if this series extends?

    What makes the Heat tough is they have so many weapons that can get hot at any given time. In these playoffs it’s been one guy or another: Haslem one game, Rio, another, Norris Cole, Birdman, Mike Miller, etc. Each day we don’t know which role player will step up big. It’s difficult to prepare for that.

    The Spurs are an excllent team, but I think they’ll get worn down as the season goes on and the heat will win their 2nd championship in 3 years.

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