San Antonio Spurs @ Miami HeatAmerican Airlines Arena
June 9, 2013, 7:00 PM Spurs Time
TV: ABC - RADIO: 1200 AM WOAI
After a thrilling Game 1 victory, the San Antonio Spurs are set to take on the Miami Heat in Game 2 of the NBA Finals tonight. Game 1 was a fantastic exhibition of the high level of execution both of these teams have operated at for the whole season, and, if if Game 1 is any indication of what is to come, then we're in for a treat in this series. It was amazing basketball, something I'd show to someone completely new to the sport, and I just want Game 2 to be something close to that same quality.
The key to the Spurs being able to get a commanding 2-0 series lead is their ability to keep up the ball movement they had in Game 1. They didn't rack up that many assists; but quick, early passes got the Spurs out of early traps and created good looks at the basket. Tony Parker was particularly amazine at this. The Heat showed early and often that they would try and trap Parker on high pick-and-rolls and whenever he would come off of single-double screens on the baseline. Parker took this lemon that the Heat gave him and painted it gold, getting off a quick pass so the Spurs could try and take advantage of having shooters as the Heat trappers were forced to scramble back to their assignments, leading to a few looks from the corner for three. San Antonio only shot 7-23 from three, and 2-8 from below the break, but it's important to remember that in a series, it's better to concentrate on process rather than single game sample sizes. If the Spurs are able to keep getting these kinds of looks, the shots will start to fall.
The ball movement was also impressive in the fact that the Spurs only had 4 turnovers all game long. When going against a team that thrives on scoring off turnovers in transition (The Heat aren't called the "Flying Death Machine" for nothing.), keeping possession of the ball is extremely important. In the future, if San Antonio continues to minimize turnovers, it means they'll have chances to burn the Heat on defense. Miami plays very aggressively, and has shown tendencies to gamble a lot defensively to create havoc in the fastbreak. Now, considering they gamble with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, who are both very good at this, and gamble mostly at good times, it's a very hard defense to beat. But if the Spurs' ball movement is good enough, the Heat will start to bit over-zealous with playing the passing lanes (especially Wade), and that can lead to more open threes.
While Miami didn't create a lot of opportunities off turnovers, their transition offense was exceptional in Game 1. On the chances they got, they pushed the ball hard and got numbers down the floor for easy shots in the paint. For a Spurs team that emphasizes getting back on defense instead of crashing the offensive boards, that's inexcusable. San Antonio has to do a better job of getting back defensively and stopping the ball in this series, or else LeBron and Wade will terrorize the rim with a vicious aerial assault.
I'm also very curious as to how the Heat will use Chris Bosh offensively as this series progresses. In Game 1, he spaced out a lot behind the three point line, and went 0-4 from that range (including a potential game-winner), prompting Heat coach Erik Spoelstra to say "He was probably open for a reason" in the postgame presser. Bosh has been on fire from beyond the arc this postseason, making 42.9% on 2 attempts per game, as opposed to his 28.4% on 1 attempt per game in the regular season. The Spurs ignored that in Game 1, letting Bosh shoot to his heart's content from three, while bringing his defender down to help clog the paint and force the ball out of LeBron's hands. It will be interesting to see what Spoelstra decides what to do.
He could go with the "trust the process, not single game sample sizes" argument, and do the same thing in Game 2. He could also say that Bosh must be regressing back to his regular season shooting numbers, and bring him back to the midrange, where he's deadly. There's also a good possibility he'll go the route color commentator Jeff Van Gundy suggested, that Bosh should only shoot in the corners from three. All three ideas have their pros and cons, but I expect that since the Spurs are ignoring Bosh from three anyways, he'll become mainly a midrange shooter. That causes a dilemma for the Spurs: Do they want to help less on LeBron or leave Bosh open from a range where he shoots about 50%? Of course, you can't not help on LeBron. So Bosh will end up getting those shots, and more than likely nail them, which could spell trouble for the Silver and Black.
Heat perspective can be found here: Hot Hot Hoops
Prediction: I think Miami makes the necessary adjustments and also creates more turnovers to work with on the way to a 6 point victory.
As always Tony must dominate Fisher, and NBA league pass is recommended for those who are willing to pony up the cash. Almost every Spurs game will be broadcast there, which is especially helpful for those of us who aren't in the San Antonio area. Please don't post links to illegal game feeds in the game thread. Links to illegal feeds are not permitted on SBNation, but you can probably find them out there on the internets if you're resourceful and desperate.