Saturday, April 19, 2008

Spurs and Suns reveal themselves

Spurs 117, Suns 115 (2ot)

This game had a clear pattern. At the end of regulation, Michael Finley made a game-tying three, and Phoenix went down the court and missed a bad shot. At the end of the first overtime, Tim Duncan made a game-tying three, and Phoenix went down the court and missed a bad shot. At the end of second overtime, the situation was reversed: Steve Nash made a game-tying three, and San Antonio went down the court. But this is where the defensive differences between the teams revealed itself. Manu Ginobli had no problem getting deep into the lane for most of the game, and as the clock wound down, Ginobli once again had no problem getting deep into the lane, making a game-winning layup.

This is pretty indicative of the teams themselves. When San Antonio needed a basket, they had perfect execution; when they needed a stop, they forced the Suns into tough shots. The Suns were fun to watch, but at the end of a close game, they had neither the offensive execution nor the defensive strength to stop the Spurs.

Tim Duncan, arguably the best player of the decade, had 40 points (on 16-24 shooting) and 15 rebounds, constantly making big shots. But guards Tony Parker and Manu Ginobli combined for 50 points, penetrating the lane with relative ease.

The early sloppiness of the Spurs and the ferocity of Amare Stoudemire going to the basket made me believe this could be the Suns top the Spurs (and it did hurt that Stoudemire--who had 33 points--fouled out before the second overtime). But the teams are what they are, and at the end, the Spurs executed and made plays, and the Suns didn't. With game one in San Antonio a double-overtime two-point game, this should be a closely contested series. But I'd count on the Spurs to execute and make plays late in the game the four times necessary.

1 comment:

  1. I think you are probably right, and it bothers me that a team that is so lacking in fun coolness is probably going to beat the Suns. Or, it would have, prior to the trade for Shaq.

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