West Semis--Spurs 111, Suns 106 (Game 1)
- Was a pretty sweet opening salvo of what should be a truly entertaining series. The Suns were stricken with an injury to Nash at the worst possible time, and had his services limited in the final minutes.
- Rule #1 when playing the Suns: get them off the 3pt. line. And the Spurs have consistently understood this better than any team. We suggest limiting their attempts to 15 a game (check here), so they will only make 6-7 (Suns average 40% from 3pt). The Suns were 6/14 from 3pt.
-No surprise the Spurs had their way on the backboard, +14 margin. And the 14 Spurs off. boards were not helping matters on the Suns' defensive end. Allowing a team to shoot 50%, and to have a 34% off. reb pct. on top of the high shooting % is not a good recipe for success. Though the Spurs sort of nullified the extra possessions they got thru off. boards by turning the ball over 15 times.
-Spurs' defense was good but not great (at least by their standards). They over-doubled/over-helped on Nash too much, sometimes having 3 guys near him. Also, the high pick/roll was giving them problems in the 4th. Nash was swooping in for scoop shots on the roll on his way to 31 pts.
-Duncan was his usual deterrent in the lane (3 blks). He really effected Amare finishing ability all game; you can pretty much put Amare 6/19 shooting on Duncan. Duncan was defended fairly well by Amare, Diaw & Thomas, but still managed to get off some tough shots on his way to 33 (12/24). He was also the Spurs' main man on the off. glass with 8 (16 total).
-If Parker can shoot his jumper like this all the time, the Spurs will be mighty tough to stop--Tony had 32 on 14/22 to go along with 8 assts, 3stls. Suns gave him space, which is the right thing to do, but Parker made them pay tonite for sagging. And even when they gave him some space, Tony found a way to get his patented deep penetration. Maybe the best example came late in the 3rd, where Marion gave him space, but Tony backed-up his dribble so he could get a head-of-steam & he proceeded to blow by Marion in route to a tough And-1 lay-in.
-Finley continues to play the role of the Spurs' silent assassin. He continued his great playoff run with 19 on 6/11 (3/7), and some big outside jumpers thru-out. The other battle-tested Spur vet, Bob Horry, continued his strong playoff play with 10, 7, 2 blks & a few of his usual clutch shots. Although, Manu continues to struggle to find his way on the offensive end, he still managed to get rebounds out of his area (9 rebs) and made some perfect feeds to set up Duncan (4 assts).
-The Suns hit their mid-range jumpers pretty well. And this has to continue because that's what the Spurs are giving them. Amare still made an impact in spite of his 6/19 day. Thought Amare did an alright job on Duncan, I mean Duncan made some incredibly tough shots that you can't do much about. Amare also provided some help defense with 5 blks. At least this decent defense is one positive thing the Suns can build off. But why was there not more Kurt Thomas? Again, Kurt proved in the 1st half that his strength effects Duncan. Barbosa had 18 pts, but he was 7/17 & the Spurs turned him into a mid-range jumpshooter which Pop will live with.
- Suns have to tighten up the board margin, at least try to keep the def. rebound pct. above 70%. Spurs need to eliminate the uncharacterisitic turnovers they had in Game 1.