This is the type of series where I would like to see a REALLY BIG frountcourt from the Spurs.
I want to see a starting 5 of: Parker, Manu, Splitter, McDyess, and Duncan.
Then rotate RJ and Blair in the frontcourt. Hill and Neal in the backcourt.
Your first unit defends better in the paint, while your 2nd unit shoots the 3 better.
RJ comes off to bench to match up with Battier.
Bonner can stay on the bench until an offensive possession to finish a quarter or late in a close game.
You have to believe that if the Spurs can negate Gasol and Randolph, then Memphis stands a low chance of scoring many points. That is, unless Sam Young puts on a shooting clinic. I don’t know him to well, maybe he can do it.
But I do know that Gasol and Randolph shooting a combined 19-25 FG and taking 18 FT’s in game 1 is ridiculous! Guarding or doubling them with a guy who’s 4-6 inches shorter won’t stop them. But a defender or help defender who’s tall enough to affect their shot should lower their percentage. Memphis works like the Spurs used to: inside out. Our opponents used to try to force the outside shooters to beat us. That’s what we ought to do with Memphis. I’ll live with their outside shooters hitting over 50%.
The logic here is: Big, quick, aggressive defense negates good offense. The Spurs have relied on their offense all year, but against a team like Memphis, (Big, aggressive, quick,) it is much tougher to run your regular offense. All those bumps and tight play on our guards throws them out of their rhythm.
It will be disappointing if Splitter doesn’t play much or at all in game 2. At least he can shoot over their bigs, rebound and play decent defense. The new-look Spurs can get lots of regular season wins, but if they continue to get abused in the paint, they have no chance of getting through playoff teams such as Memphis and the Lakers. The bottom line is that our opponent shooting such a high FG % is very difficult to overcome. Anyone unsure about this just has to take a look at the Spurs’ history.
I’m sure many of you are thinking,
“3 Bigs in the frontcourt? With our offense, that’s impossible!. In your dreams!”
I’m sure there’s a really good explanation for why Pop hasn’t gone to this.
But you can’t argue with 1) the fact that interior defense and rebounding are the easiest aspects to exploit about this year’s team, and 2) teams with better defense usually prevail in the playoffs.
Add in that the Spurs really struggle offensively against teams with good interior defense (who doesn’t), and you have an even greater argument for going with the bigger, more defensive starting lineup. (Because then you get a low-scoring, grind it out game)
Honestly, I think Manu’s return could be enough for the Spurs to regain control of this series. But eventually he will have an off night, and we will need to defend better inside to get far in the playoffs.
I suppose I say this b/c I tend to favor old-school, defensive oriented games. And I miss that style of play from the Spurs. Finally, I think Splitter is capable of stepping up and starting for us. So that adds to my frustration.