So we both took our opponents to six games, winning the series 4-2. We did it with some help from four different players stepping up offensively, George, Timmy, Manu, and Tony. But, more the most important key to the series was D-fense! Pop’s plan of team defense finally started to click and the players began to get it. Hopefully now with some experience on how well it can work, the players will study even harder for our next opponent, the Suns.
So how did the Suns defeat the Portland Trailblazers? More after the j-u-m-p
The basics. Portland won two out of the series. How did they do it?
When Portland won they did a couple of things. Offensively, they got to the lane and got fouled. In the first game Portland shot 33 Free Throws to Phoenix’s 22. This is also reflected by the points in the paint. Portland edged out Phoenix 44 to 38 in the first game. Speaking of defense, Portland stopped Phoenix for two minutes in the 3rd and 4th Quarter of game one. While Phoenix was scoreless Portland made their shots and put on the pressure.
In game four, the other Portland win, Portland shot 28 Free Throws to Phoenix’s 21. Getting into the paint and getting fouled worked again. Although Portland was outscored in the paint by 10 they made up for it with a defensive stand in the 4th and scoring 16 on fast break points to Phoenix’s 4. This Phoenix 4th Quarter drought occurred in both of Portland’s wins. Defense wins championships.
Phoenix ended up taking out Portland in six. How did they do it?
Phoenix took games 2, 3, 5 and 6. In game two they crushed Portland in the 3rd Quarter by scoring 31 and keeping Portland to 19! They also killed Portland in the paint by a margin of +20! Even though Portland was driving and getting fouled, they failed to capitalize when Jason Richardson went on a tear of 4-5 threes.
In game three, Phoenix came out swinging and torched Portland 34 to 16 in the 1st Quarter! Portland never recovered as Jason Richardson goes on an even bigger rampage putting in 8 threes for a total of 42 points. Portland fails to get to the stripe and misses 10% more than Phoenix in field goals.
Game five, a big game for both teams. Phoenix dominates all over. They get into the paint outscoring Portland 40-28. They got to the stripe 32 times compared to Portland’s 24 and they completely shut Portland down in the 2nd Quarter 30 to 19. Phoenix playing defense? Portland commits seven fouls and commits four turnovers just in the 2nd Quarter. Phoenix was not playing defense as much as they were being aggressive and Portland was making mistakes. Phoenix does not play tough defense but they do capitalize on opponent's mistakes.
Game six, Phoenix again comes out swinging like game three. They go up by 7 at the end of the 1st
Quarter. Free throws, points in the paint and personal fouls are all about even. The keys to this game were Phoenix going up early and Portland going into to two droughts at critical times, once in the 3rd and once in the 4th. Scoreless for a total of six minutes in those two droughts!
So, how does San Antonio defeat these offensive juggernauts?
Like we was always have, defense, defense, defense and hitting shots at critical times. Sounds easy, no? Our guards have to drive in the paint, pick up early fouls and get to the paint. Although Nash is a FHOF, he is vulnerable to Tony’s ability to drive to the basket. Phoenix’s defense can be summed up with one word, porous. They don’t play defense in the paint. A’mare is weak and Timmy has to exploit this weakness like he always has in the past. Hell, feed A’mare some Blair too just to see what happens. Phoenix does pose some problems on our defensive side though. Frye, their center, can knock down threes very well. Better than Bonner. That also means that Frye spreads the floor and takes the center out of the paint. Speaking of the Red Rocket he is a good match up for Frye. SAM or Timmy are not. We need them in the paint. The number one character on this team for the Spurs to watch is Jason Richardson. Jrich can turn into an ugly, ugly monster. He loves to shoot threes. He can also drive. Sound familiar? It should. He has to be stopped. We can put Manu on him and maybe George. George would be my guess especially if Tony is playing Steve. Barbosa is his sub and he has proved to be a pain for us as well but now we have Hill to stick on him, which should help. I am curious to see how Dudley Dudeley matches up with Manu. The fool thinks he has some special trick to use against Manu all because he got help from his little birds. DFWTM. Two others I will mention besides the obvious, Grant Hill and Goran Dragic. Grant is an excellent rebounder for a small forward and is good for a key shot or two. If they put George on Jrich like I think they might, then Manu will be on Grant Hill almost guranteerings some turnovers or a possible double on Jrich. Dragic is a pain in the ass and can get in the lane to draw fouls as well as hit shots from outside. Good thing our three point defense is so good!
So there was our defense, how about the offense?
Phoenix has never had, nor ever will have an answer for Timmy. He has to dominate the paint. Defensively and offensively, Timmy should be averaging close to 20/10 a game in this series. Tony must dominate Fisher. George will slash and hit his threes. Bonner will hit a couple of threes and may even drive to a wide open paint area called Phoenix’s weak spot. Manu will be Manu. SAM will hit his sweet 16 footers and play some D on A’mare is my guess. BLAIR will tear off people’s arms and beat them with them.
So what is the final verdict?
Play defense, dominate the paint, guard the three and stay out of foul trouble
Spurs in 6