There is a lot of great material that you may not have seen after Game 1 (and just some other things I've encountered and uncovered this weekend, that I knew I needed to put it all together and share it with you. So, let's get to it.
I simply cannot stop watching this play. I just can't. Kawhi Leonard drives on LeBron James and utterly leaves him. He gets so much separation here that you might as well call this a divorce. (I mean, let's not mince words, kids. That's what it is.) His spin and shot are so technically sound that it's a thing of beauty I just want to enjoy forever. (Thank you, John Keats)
As if Norris Cole didn't have a tough enough time of it dealing with Tony's spin move, but he also had Manu victimizing him with this insane pass that you've probably seen, but I'm including here because it's only been in the comments section of PtR so far. I'm not even going to go into it too much, but suffice to say that I do believe that Manu meant to go nutmeg with this pass, and also I think that his passing is currently on a plateau that's rarely been reached in the history of the NBA
This was SUCH a huge play in the game, as most of the fourth quarter buckets were, and it's one of those crucial 21 second chance points that the Spurs got. See how little of Tim Duncan's fingers were actually able to make contact with the ball, and yet he got just enough of them on it to get this to go down. Oh, Tim, I love what you do.
Same play, but look at the way Timmeh sees Kawhi open, gets the ball to him, tracks the ball, goes to the glass and tips it in, all while LeBron just kind of stands there. I guess he really was fatigued. (Huge thanks to the Indiana Pacers.)
Tony coaches the team after his buzzer beater, and before Miami's last possession. It's been much discussed on TV and on the blogs, and here's the footage.
Here's a two month old ESPN feature on Kawhi Leonard. Still good stuff if you haven't seen it (which I hadn't until this morning.
I love this funny TrueHoop vid quizzing the Spurs reserves about NBA players, and whether they played for and won NBA championships for San Antonio.
Best for last
And finally, something else for you to read. This piece by Wayne Vore of TheBigFundamental.com (and former manager of PtR) is hands down the finest analysis I've seen of how the Spurs were able to be successful with their pick and roll offense in Game 1, going up against one of the league's best pick and roll defenses. It's so incredibly insightful that the entire article is a must read, but my favorite bit was this:
They didn't attack the Heat defense on the pick and roll. Not immediately. As soon as the dribble approached the screen and the Heat showed trap, the ball handler backed up and the screener ran away. This made the defending big - covering the screener - have to run away to go get his man. The Spurs then brought the second big up to set another screen. At this point, this big defender was trapping at the same time the other big defender was running away. The ball handler immediately hit this second big with a pass and then we went to town. The Spurs attacked the high pick and roll very cautiously. They executed very low risk passes out of it. They basically took the Heat's number one strategy away from them. The Spurs just didn't challenge that first trap. Too much risk. Not only did it take away easy transition baskets for the Heat - the Spurs only committed four turnovers - but it meant that their bigs were having to trap and recover, trap and recover, for nothing. It's demoralizing.
Alright now, get out there and enjoy the rest of your Sunday. I'll see you in the game thread at 6pm. Until then:
Go! Spurs! Go!