Sunday, June 10, 2007

Spurs Hold Off Cavs' Rally, Take 2-0 Lead

NBA Finals (Game 2)--Spurs 103, Cavs 92

-- The Spurs sure do have some issues holding on to huge leads in this year's playoffs. For the opening 40 minutes of this game, the Spurs were totally dominating the Cavs. Then at about 2-3 mins into the 4th quarter, the Spurs' offense felt it was time to shut down. The Spurs only scored 4 pts in the opening 7 minutes of the 4th quarter, and only 14 pts in the 4th overall. The Cavs got the lead to under single-digits with roughly 5 mins to go, but the Spurs held them off with some clutch buckets from Parker. The Spurs have done this about 4-5 times this postseason but it has never come back to hurt them.

-- The bulk of the Spurs' scoring damage was done by the Big 3. Tim, Tony, & Manu combined for 78 of the Spurs' 103 (no other Spur scored more than 6 pts). Have to say Parker might have been the MVP today with 30 pts off of more than just drives; he was consistently hitting his jumpers as well. He also hit some clutch shots in the 4th quarter to stem rallys by the Cavs--he hit a lay-up with 5:00 left to push the lead back to double-digits, then hit a jumper a minute later that gave the Spurs a 97-87 lead. Tim was a close second to Parker with 23 pts, 9 rebs (4 off.), & 8 assts.

-- The Spurs once again got major input from their bench corps. Manu pitched in with 25 pts, 6 rebs, & 3 stls. Manu was 4/6 from 3pt. land, including a big 3 pt. make + foul for a 4-point play which pretty much sealed the deal on Game 2. But maybe just as impressive off the bench was Mr. June, Bob Horry. Though only 5 pts for Big Shot Bob, I thought I was having flashbacks to '94 or '95 where Horry was skying to swat shots (he had 5!) and corral rebounds (9) out of the air. The only thing that was missing from Horry was the Fresh Prince flat-top.

-- The Cavs got the rebound battle back to a reasonable margin--only -4 on the boards tonight. But the problem is the Cavs actually have to be on the other side of the rebound ledger in this series. They are the team that needs to be +4 or higher since rebounding is the one area where they are naturally better than the Spurs.

-- Have to give some credit to the Cavs for looking to be aggressive in the 1st half. They seemed determined in attacking the paint, and they were getting in there alright, they were just not finishing near the rim very well at all. Take a look at the shot chart - click on 1st quarter and check out how many shots the Cavs missed in the painted area. By my count, they were 6/18 in the first half in the paint--and a dismal 11/41 overall for the half.

-- Thought the Cavs' offense started to open up in the 2nd half when Brown went to his 3 shooters around Bron + Varejao. With Marshall, Gibson, Jones/Sasha on the floor, the holes start to open up for Bron. Bron feeds off the shooters,& vice versa. The Cavs shot 8/11 from 3pt in the 2nd half, and 22/40 overall. They were able to rack up 30 pts in the 4th, & 59 in the 2nd half.

-- Bron didn't have a great game, but did manage 25 pts, 7 rebs, & 6 assts and did get deeper in the lane more often in Game 2. After being sidetracked with 2 early fouls, Bron came back in the 2nd quarter, and started to set up shop on the elbows, which helped get him to the rim easier. Bron did a good job all night getting to the foul line (7/11), but he could never find the range on his jumper, and had issues with TOs--6, same as Game 1.

-- The Cavs got a nice lift from their bench corps as well. Dan Gibson proved to be unflappable again with 15 pts coming off of his smooth jumper or some acrobatic drives. Sideshow Mop also brought his usual hectic energy with 8 pts & 10 rebs. My only issue with these 2 guys is they need even more playing time. Gibson got 32 mins, which is better, but think he needs at least 35, especially when Hughes has 0 pts on 0/5 shooting. Varejao played 28 mins, he definitely needs to be in the 30s mpg range, and probably should take some of Big Z's time, who continues to struggle--Z had 9 pts & 4 rebs.


At 11:50 PM, Anonymous flickup17 said...

Right on the money, man. It always surprises how slow coaches are to shift minutes away from guys who are playing iffy at best but have had their moments in the glorous distant past. Gibson and Sideshow are two of the 3 best Cavs out there, but Brown's making it a painfully slow transition to big minutes for them. (But hell, I know how that goes... I'm a Spurs fan who had to watch Pop give excrutiatingly long minutes to Nick Van Exel throughout last year's playoffs even though he was a black hole on the floor.)

If it were a guy who you could make a strong case for turning the corner soon, I could see it, but what for instance, is Larry Hughes supposed to do on that bum wheel? I feel bad for him, but so what? You've got to play the guys who give you the best chance to win.


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