If, as the saying goes, a series doesn’t start until the home team loses, I guess this series just started. And what a fascinating game this was. My recapping engine is currently recuperating from hip flexor surgery and another ankle debridement, but here are some quick thoughts:
1) The Spurs played Splitter and Duncan together for 13 minutes, at -2. And glorious Nellieball — with Diaw, Bonner or Leonard at the four — for 35 minutes, at +6.
2) The Spurs were outrebounded by 9, and shot a worse percentage than the Heat.
In other words, Joe Lacob has no idea how the hell they won.
3) After a two week layoff, the Spurs turned the ball over only 4 times. In a road game, in the Finals.
It was a direct result of Spoelstra’s flawed defensive game plan.
Or the genius of Gregg Popovich. Take your pick.
Either way, it won’t last. This is one of the strangest box scores I’ve ever had the exquisite pleasure of perusing over my morning Sumatra.
4) As predicted, the Spurs have all but abandoned the offensive boards in favor of getting back on defense. 6 offensive boards in this game.
The Spurs are nothing like the Pacers, and this series won’t resemble the Pacers-Heat series in the slightest.
5) 48 threes were shot in this game. “You live by the three, you die by the three!” Isn’t that what the ignorati were so fond of saying about Don Nelson’s teams?
Don Nelson was right. And before his time.
6) LeBron James was quoted after the game saying “We need a new game plan for Game 2.” My first thought was “Uh Oh.” Poor Erik Spoelstra, will he ever get to coach his own team?
If the Heat lose this series, he may get the chance sooner than we think.
My second thought was: “LeBron’s absolutely right.”
7) I stated before the series that the key to beating the Spurs was getting the ball out of Tony Parker’s hands. The Heat did just that for the first three quarters, but then left him free to operate single covered in the fourth quarter, when he hit for 10 of his 21 points. Why?
The move to get LeBron on Parker? TOO LATE.
8) The Heat didn’t actually blitz Parker, so much as hedge with their mobile big men. They did this because they need their bigs to recover as soon as possible to their own man in the lane. Why? Because the Spurs big men CAN SHOOT if left uncovered. They are two-way players. They are a threat.
Could someone please explain this concept to Joe Lacob and his ex-wife’s trustee? Don’t leave out the part about what it would mean to Stephen Curry to play with a center who can score.
9) Perhaps the biggest way in which the Dwayne Wade injury hurts the Heat is his inability to guard Tony Parker. The blueprint to beating the Spurs is to bottle up Parker with length. But the Heat may have no other option but to keep Chalmers and Cole on him for most of the game. Ray Allen’s not an option, is he? He’s not healthy either.
10) Nevertheless, if they want to win this series, the Heat have to commit to shutting down Parker. Really commit.
They need to pick their poison, and blitz. All four quarters.
And get LeBron on him earlier. Like at the start of the fourth quarter.
11) And if they want to win this series, the Heat need to start attacking the rim. That’s their edge. LeBron going straight at old man Duncan.
Bosh should put the ball on the floor more and attack too. His quickness is his edge. Particularly when he’s gagging on his open shots. Which is just about always.
If the Warriors can make Tim Duncan look old and slow, why can’t the Heat? There’s simply no excuse for the Heat shooting fewer free throws than the Spurs on their home floor.
12) Shane Battier, 6 minutes, 0-3 from three. This guy was a mainstay for the Heat during the regular season, and this should have been the perfect series for him. What happened?
13) Any more thoughts, and this will turn into a recap.