Manu & Timmy Push Spurs Past Suns
Suns (2) vs. Spurs (3): Spurs 108, Suns 101 (Game 3)
- After having one of his best reg. seasons of his career, Manu Ginobili really could not seem to find any luck getting his offense going the whole post season. Struggled for most of the Nugs' series, and for the 1st 2 games of the 2nd round, the Spurs need Manu involved since the Suns did a good job containing Parker in Game 2. Manu came thru with 24 pts, including a huge 3rd quarter where he did a little of everything.
- Pop has to feel good that Manu got off the snide offensively. Manu broke thru late in the 3rd by single-handedly leading a decisive run that gave the Spurs a cushion for the rest of the game. With Parker & Tim resting, Manu scored the Spurs' last 10 pts of the 3rd on a few drives, foul shots, & 3pt. make. Not to mention doing it with his eye half shut.
- Did not think Duncan could put on a better post-up clinic than the one in Game 2, but Tim might have been even more amzing tonite. Just unstoppable. Bank shot after bank shot, and many at ridiculous angles just like Game 2. Especially a few turning over his right shoulder & his body not really squared up. Then when the Spurs really needed a pick-me-up with the Suns cutting the lead to 6 in the 4th, Tim face-ups Thomas then drives into the lane, takes contact (mind you it's Kurt Thomas-type contact) & finishs a runnin' one-hander for And-1. Oh yeah, Tim patrolled the lane defensively as usual, protecting the rim, doing a great job on the pick/roll & clearing the def. glass (14 def. rebs).
- Spurs' defense was clearly better tonite than in Game 2. First off, the rotations were much tighter and most important, they guarded the high pick/roll very well. Nash had a rough time making plays in the 1st half. They were incredibly active with their hands, deflecting & stripping balls in the lane more than I ever seen them (9 total steals). Spurs still could be doing a better job in transition, 18 fast break pts for the Suns, . Also, they probably did not guard the 3pt line to Pop's liking. A few too many attempts (17) and a few too many uncontested looks, especially in transition.
- Bowen continues to be left open, and he continues to respond. Hit clutch back-2-back 3pts. in the middle of the 3rd to push the Spurs ahead for good. Also was his usual disruptive force on defense, manning Nash for most of the game & stripping the ball well (4 stls).
- With Amare in foul trouble for most of the game, Marion was the Suns' main offensive weapon--26 on 11/21. Was very successful with runners in the lane & shot his outside jumper well (3/6 for 3pt). Actually, Diaw came out aggressive in the 1st half and was causing problems for the Spurs' defense. Utilized his superb footwork to get things going in the lane. Too big for any the Spurs' wings & too quick for the bigs, the Spurs ended up doubling him often which open up things for the rest of the Suns to build a 9-point lead in the 2nd quarter. Even though Amare only played 20 mins., he still managed 21 pts and found a way to the line 11 times.
-Nash had a rough nite (at least for him), and did not get flowing until late in the game--16, 11 assts & 8 rebs. Shots that normally drop for Nash were just not fallin, even those close-in scoops shots, looked like he was just short-arming his shots--Steve was only 6/17. The Spurs' coverage on the pick/roll gave him fits for most of the game, and he really could not locate the passing angles he wanted, & probably contributed to his 5 TOs.
- Suns were outrebounded by 8, but they did do a good job on their def. boards with a 75% Def. Reb. pct. Their defense was not bad as a whole. Besides a mini-expolsion by Manu & a mini-3pt barrage by Bowen/Barry, thought the Suns defense was solid in the 2nd half. After Parker was getting deep penetration in the 1st half, they helped onto to him better & forced him into jumpers--Parker scored only 2 pts of his 16 pts in the 2nd half. They also made a handful of tough stops in the 4th, but there's not much you can do about Duncan right now.
- It might be time for the Suns to think about double-teaming Duncan consistently. Maybe even some zone. Force Parker & Manu into jumpers, make sure you locate Finley and don't leave Bowen alone in the corners. Just start getting the ball out of Tim's hands. Spurs still could do a better job in transition.