Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Spurs Repeat Game 1 Performance

West Conf. Finals (Game 2)-- Spurs (3) vs. Jazz (4):
Spurs 105, Jazz 95


- Game 2 was pretty much a mirror image of Game 1. The Spurs' offensive execution was nearly flawless again in the 1st half, they opened the game up in the 2nd quarter just like Game 1, and the Jazz made a mini-rally in the late 3rd/early 4th to pull within 7-8 pts, but the Spurs kept them at bay until the final buzzer. The Spurs outscored the Jazz 32-17 today (in Game 1 it was 31-16) and Spurs let the Jazz score 31 pts in the 4th, while they allowed them 38 in the 4th in Game 1.

- Once again, the Spurs' offense basically got anything they wanted for most of the game. They picked the Jazz apart with great overall passing and dribble drives by Manu & Parker. Parker was masterful tonite, his dribble penetration directly led to points for himself or teammates & he hit some jumpers to boot. Parker did major damage coming off the pick/roll either hitting his patented tear-drop floaters or pitching out to the Spurs' 3pt shooters. The Spurs were ripping from the 3pt line (13/26) all game, and most of these shots were opened up from Parker's lane penetration. Tony had 14 assists (way above his average) & 17 pts on 7/12, but did have 7 TOs.

-Manu was instant impact off the bench once again, and his hectic energy caused issues for his opponent (17 pts), and sometimes for his own team (5 TOs). Oberto replicated his Game 1 production of 14 & 7 again tonite usually from his unparalled off-the-ball movement for lay-ups.

- Mentioned the Spurs' stellar outside shooting tonite, which was set up by Parker, but the sweet part was that 4 Spurs each hit 3 3pts: Finley (3/6), Barry (3/4), Bowen (3/4), & Manu (3/7). Bowen hit some big 3s in the 4th to stem Utah's rally attempt.

- A thing that Pop is doing lately, which I like, is moving Duncan off the block more. The last few playoff games, Pop has moved Duncan around the floor on offense more, and particularly in this series, it has opened up the lane & created some nice passing lanes. I think it's really helped Oberto get involved & it seems to have given Manu wider driving lanes. Duncan has taken advantage of the different positioning by threading a few sweet passes in the lane himself. Tim led the Spurs with 26, 14 rebs, 4 assts, & continued to be a major impediment in the lane defensively with 5 blks & countless changed shots.

- In Game 1, the Spurs could never really pull away from the Jazz because they could not take care of their defeensive boards. Tonite they took care of their boards, it was their turnovers that allowed the Jazz stick around in Game 2. As good as they were executing in the half-court, they could never really blow the doors off the Jazz because of 14 TOs in the 2nd half, 24 total. After gettinng pounded by 15 on the glass in Game 1, it seems Pop got the message across--the Spurs were +9 on the boards.

- The Jazz did a better job of getting looks in the painted area today. Boozer mixed up his looks often--baseline turnarounds, elbow jumpers, some nice drives--and it helped his shot was on: Booze had 33 (14/23) & 15 (4 off.), a decent amount vs. Duncan. Deron came on strong in the 2nd half once again to score 19 of 26 in the half. Deron did it with runners, lay-ins, and few pull-jumpers.

- Repeating my Game 1 recap, the Jazz have to tigthen the holes in their defense. They had some success in the 2nd half by showing hard on pick/rolls & trying to push Parker up, so maybe will see more of this strategy. I totally agree with Van Gundy's assessment that you have to lay off of Parker, go underneath screens, encourage him to shoot. Yes, he has an improved jumper, but by no means is he a deadly shooter. To me, you just have to keep him out of the lane at all costs because he's so dangerous in the paint creating shots for himself or pitching out to others. Utah also has to light a fire under Okur some way to get him going. Spurs have to be slightly concerned that they are having some trouble finishing off games, and letting the Jazz make runs in the 4th.

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