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11 June 2005

Game Two Preview

There's no doubt that Rasheed Wallace will get more than 6 FGA in game 2. In game 1 Detroit spent too much time trying to force the ball into Rip's hands. Run him off of one screen; if he's not open go straight into a pick and roll with Wallace and Billups. I also expect to see a lot more postups from Chauncey and especially The TayTay. The Pistons will definitely have a better offensive game than Thursday.

I am not sure what Detroit will do about Manu. Here's how he was defended in the fourth quarter, where he went 6-6 for 15 points:

-Prince guarding him; pick and roll with Tim Duncan and Ben Wallace; Wallace showed soft and Manu threaded a bounce pass to Tim who missed a 6 footer in the lane

-Prince guarding him; pick and roll with Tim Duncan and Ben Wallace; Wallace switches and gets called for the block that leads to the technical foul

-Prince guarding him; pick and roll with Duncan and McDyess; McDyess switches; Manu goes by him with right hand for layup (crashes into BW; no call)

-Pretty much exactly same as previous

-Mini fastbreak (though Detroit had 4 guys back); Manu blows by Rip with right hand and throws in the righty layup; and 1

-Rip guarding him; pick and roll with Duncan and Rasheed; Manu blows by him for dunk

-Rip guarding him; pick and roll with Horry and McDyess; McDyess switches and plays off Manu; The Sickness drains a 3

-I'm missing the details of the last score, but it's Manu's lefty layup high off the glass

The theme here is obvious: pick and roll with Duncan or Horry. The Pistons tried a soft show or a switch. Neither worked. They could try trapping the pick and roll but Manu is an expert at splitting the double team. He's also capable of passing out of the double team, which means Detroit would be leaving either Duncan or Horry wide open. They could send Manu's man under the pick, but that leads to Ginobili hoisting the 3. If I were the Pistons I would overplay the pick with Manu's man (this is what the Spurs often do with the pick and roll) and force him baseline. Of course you cannot employ that strategy at the top of the key where the majority of the offense starts for the Spurs.

I think Detroit will trap the pick and roll late in the game and trust that their defensive rotations will be adequate.

Detroit will probably play further off Parker as the series proceeds. Though he only had 15 points on 17 FGA, he got into the lane at will.

I was surprised at how many times Duncan got great position on the Detroit defenders. There were at least 3 occasions where he pinned them inside the charge semi-circle. Look for the Pistons to play Duncan more physically off the ball.

In summary, the main things I'll be looking at are Detroit's shot distribution and what adjustments they make against Manu and Parker. Also, will the Spurs be able to push the tempo more? They only had 8 fast break points in game 1.

Note: SA has never allowed more than 90 points in an NBA Finals game. Sorry ABC.

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All content copyright Matthew Powell 2005.