Spurs Smother Bron & the Cavs
NBA Finals (Game 1)--Spurs 85, Cavs 76
-- One key factor in this game was the Spurs never allowed the Cavs to do damage on the off. glass. Actually, the Spurs won the overall board battle decisively by 11. This is not good from the Cavs' point-o-view because the one advantage they had over the Spurs coming into this series was on the boards.
-- It was the Timmy & Tony show for the Spurs. They combined for 51 pts & 22/40 from the floor. Parker got pretty much anywhere he wanted on the floor with his dribble & was the impetus for a big run in the 2nd quarter that gave the Spurs the lead for good. And as much as Timmy's 24 pts & 13 rebs were impressive, his defense might have been even more impressive. His help on the backline was a major reason for the Cavs shooting just 42.8%. Tim had 5 blks and too many altered shots to count.
-- Manu pitched in with 16 pts & 8 rebs, including 3 for 5 from the 3pt. line. The Spurs also got a nice lift from 2 other bench guys--Horry & Elson. Big Shot Bob did some nice things defensively to pair with 6 assts. F. Elson gave them some energy off the pine with 5 pts & 6 rebs, 3 which were offensive boards.
-- Maybe we need to see a little bit more Boobie. D. Gibson was 7/9 (just like Game 6 of the Conf Finals) for 16 pts, not to mention 4 stls. This kid is not fazed by playing in the Finals at all, & plays like seasoned veteran. He mixed his smooth jumper in with some impressive drives to the hoop. He needs to see more than 28 minutes he saw tonite, he probably deserves at least 35 mins. per game from here on out.
-- Bron had a rough go of it in the opening game of the Finals. 4/16 from the floor, and could not get into any consistent offensive rhythm besides a short span in the middle of the 4th where he hit 2 3pts. Bron only had 14 pts, and 6 TOs did not help the Cavs.
-- A lot of this rough outing has to be credited to the Spurs' defense. Initially they would sag off Bron, daring him to shoot. But when Bron made a movement to the basket or tried to use high screens, the Spurs would flood him with mutliple defenders. The Spurs were very committed to hedge very hard on all pick/rolls involving Bron, pushing him toward the half-court line as far as possible. And the few times he got into the lane, Mr. Duncan was lurking.
-- Drew Gooden had himself a nice outing, and he single-handedly kept the Cavs close early in the 3rd quarter. He had 10 of his 14 in the 3rd, much of his opportunties were available from all the attention paid to Bron.
-- The Cavs have to get more than just 2 pts from both Big Z & Hughes if they want a chance in this series. The Cavs' 5/15 from 3pt. range has to be improved upon so to hopefully relieve the defensive pressure on Bron.
-- Like I mentioned since at the start of the Conf Finals, Gibson needs more minutes instead of Hughes. Bron has to try to go earlier on his offensive moves, when the Spurs have time to set up in the half-court, they are mighty tough. Liked to see Coach Brown put Bron on Parker a little more. Thought the instances where Bron checked Parker he did a good job sagging off Parker and forcing jumpers.