It’d be easy to look at the score of last night’s game and wonder what in the hell happened to the team and any notion of ‘defense’. And while the team overall did not play great defense, it was more a case of just one of those nights when you run into a team that can’t miss a shot. And by ‘team’ I primarily mean Chris Paul and Mo Williams. Yes, many of those shots were probably a little too open. But still, when a team scores 120 points and only has 26 points in the paint, it’s hard to argue. You forced them into long jump shots; when they make them, you just tip your hat to them.
So rather than dwell on the negative, let’s highlight a couple of positives from the game:
–I thought Danny Green played great defense on Chris Paul. Paul is generally a near-impossible cover, especially when he’s making his jump shot so effectively. But many times he prevented him from catching the inbound pass, forcing somebody else to initiate the offense. And he stuck close to him and used his hands and arms as best he could to disrupt him. I thought Pop made a tactical mistake leaving Green in late in the 3rd quarter/early in the 4th quarter when Paul was on the bench. Green was clearly exhausted at the end of the game, and this showed offensively as he missed a couple of gimmes that might have kept the team in the game in the closing minutes.
–With Parker sitting out, Ginobili got to run the offense for big chunks of time. At times he looked the typical brilliant Ginobili; too often he looked out of sorts and out of sync with the team. But giving Ginobili as much time as possible running the team will pay dividends down the road as he gets his rhythm with the team and with himself back. In the playoffs, 95% of the possessions will be run by either Parker or Ginobili (who is essentially the back-up PG and has been for years). A game without Parker–while contributing to the loss–does give Manu lots of extra time. And he’s already developing chemistry with Splitter and Leonard that I really like.
The team gets the weekend off and plays Washington on Monday.
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