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19 June 2005

Game 5 Preview

Here's some changes I think the Spurs should make:

On offense:

-Stop running pick and rolls. Period. In games 1 and 2 Detroit was playing the P&R tighter, occasionally going over the screen. Now, especially in game 4, they are simply switching and collapsing into the paint. They "Dare Tony Parker to Shoot" defense is now in full effect. The P&R is also bogging down and clogging up the offense. It invites double teams and the subsequent traps. Isolate Manu at the top of the key and make Tayshaun/Hunter prove he can stay in front of him. Spread the floor. Duncan on the block, Horry on the wing and Bowen and Parker in the corners. It's a lot easier to pass around the double team if you can see it coming.

-Go small. Duncan is going to play 40 minutes. That leaves 56 minutes to be distributed to various players at the center and PF slot. Give Nazr 2, Rasho 10, Horry 32 and Big Dog 12. The Spurs need more perimeter shooters on the floor to make DET pay for collapsing on Duncan. Nazr is hampering the Spurs offense because he's always in the paint (and thus making it easy for Det to clog the lane). Rasho isn't a good outside shooter but he's at least comfortable at the top of the key; swinging the ball, etc.

Going small requires Big Dog to play some PF minutes. At this point, I don't give a shit. He cannot do any worse on McDyess than Duncan (who has repeatedly sagged off and watched Antonio drain multiple 15-18 footers). Worried about defensive rebounding? Why? DET has averaged 14.5 OFF REB in the games they lost and 15.0 in the games they won. Nazr has grabbed 11 DEF REB in 86 minutes. How much worse could Glenn be?

-Get Manu involved EARLY. As in give him the ball the first 3 times down the court. He's always the first to leave the game; I want him going to the bench with some shots under his belt; with the notion that he is going to be an offensive force (because he's going to HAVE to be for the Spurs to win).

-Move Duncan off the block some. This opens up the offense and allows Duncan to see the double coming.

On defense:

-Just why in the hell are the Spurs switching the pick and roll? I could understand doing that against PHX. It prevented Steve Nash penetration (by switching and then playing soft) and the subsequent kick out for the dreaded 3. Detroit has ONE player who shoots better than 35% from 3. That's Billups, who's the guy running the P&R in the first place. The Spurs should either:

A. Trap the pick and roll (and maybe force more than 4 TOs in a game; the TO problem isn't the number of Spurs TOs, it's the disparity between SA and DET TOs) or

B. Play the pick and roll like they did FOR THE WHOLE FUCKING SEASON. SA hardly ever switched the pick and roll during the regular season. They would send the guard over the top and have the big defend the ballhandler until the Spur guard recovered. The big would then recover to his man. The Spurs had the best damned defense in the league playing the P&R this way. Why change against DET; a team largely without 3P shooters?

-Get BACK. In games 1 and 2 the Spurs averaged 15 TOs. In games 3 and 4 the Spurs averaged 17.5. In games 1 and 2 the Pistons averaged 9 fast break points. In games 3 and 4 the Pistons averaged 21. Spot the real difference people.

My prediction for tonight's game? I have no clue. And neither do you.

*****

On Friday I did a phone interview with Mr. Paul Ihander of WOAI Newsradio. I grew up listening to Spurs games on WOAI, so this means more to me than the internet radio shows I've done. We talked about myself and the blog more than my thoughts on the Spurs which was sort of awkward. But I only wanted to smack myself in the forehead once during the interview, so it shouldn't have turned out too bad. It's supposed to air sometime Monday morning.

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All content copyright Matthew Powell 2005.