Morning Shootaround: What Shall We See for an Encore?
After such a scintillating Game 1, Game 2 is bound to be a bit of a letdown, unless the ball literally spontaneously catches on fire at some point in the 3rd quarter midway between Curry’s fingertips and the net. But in many ways, after such an emotional game, Game 2 may prove to be the keystone game, the 48 minutes that can decide the fate of the series. If San Antonio can get a convincing win, it may be too much for the Warriors to overcome; if Golden State can finish what they couldn’t in Game 1, we could be on our way to a long series.
As always, Game 2 is often when you see the most interesting wrinkles and adjustments. From the Spurs side,there are plenty of things to keep an eye on:
–Klay Thompson bothers Tony Parker. It’s no mistake that Parker sparked to life after Thompson fouled out. Watch to see if Pop throws any different action into offensive sets to get Parker free in his favorite places. Or if he even uses him as a bit of a decoy at first. There are a lot of ways for Parker to hurt a defense, so maybe a focus on playmaking will be in order.
–On the same hand, I want to see both Green and Leonard be more involved in the offense in the first half. Green will be guarded by Curry, and should be able to exploit that match-up in small ways. And Leonard can always find a way to contribute if he’s engaged, which he didn’t seem to be in the first half of Game 1.
–Will Duncan be healthy? And what effect will that have on the game?
–Will Splitter be healthy? Will Pop go big in a way that Golden State really can’t match, despite having the best success being small in Game 1?
–Who will play off the bench? Blair and Bonner both got minutes in Game 1, but I’m doubting both will also play in Game 2. And how much will Diaw get to play, given how well he closed the game?
–Will Pop change anything in defending Curry? Will Leonard get switched on to him earlier, or will Pop save that for a late game change of pace again?
I expect both teams to come out aggressive and energetic. Unlike in Game 1, I also expect the Spurs to come out much sharper and better focused. If they do this, I think a Game 2 victory is easily within reach.
Just don’t be disappointed if the game ends at the final buzzer and isn’t deemed an instant classic. Frankly, I don’t know if my heart could take another game like that.
Go Spurs Go.
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