NBA Playoffs 2012: Spurs vs. Clippers Game 3 Adjustments

By Quixem Ramirez

May 17, 2012; San Antonio, Texas, USA; San Antonio Spurs guard Gary Neal (14) puts up a shot over Los Angeles Clippers forward Kenyon Martin (2) during the second half in game two of the Western Conference semifinals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs at the AT

San Antonio Spurs

Complacency. Hard to believe, right? This is a very minor fault and one that every single NBA team succumbs to on a nightly basis. But if any team should suffer the least amount of mental hiccups, it’s the Spurs. In both games, though, they allowed the Clippers to make a couple of rallies that kept the game within reach. As a Spurs fan, I would like to see the Spurs to eliminate these short bouts of complacency because giving the inferior team a lower margin of error isn’t something that we want. The Spurs are so gifted offensively that every possession — well, almost every possession — should result in a great look.


Los Angeles Clippers

Chris Paul pick-and-rolls. While the Clippers had success against the Spurs with their pick-and-roll sets, it wasn’t because of their floor general, Chris Paul. Paul mustered a meager 0.50 points per possession on pick-and-rolls, including three of his season-high eight turnovers. The Spurs were able to impede one of the most effective pick-and-roll ball handlers in the game — Paul averaged 0.93 PPP during the regular season — by constantly getting into his body, eliminating his space to operate. Paul relies extensively on space and the leeway he receives to dominate every possession through methodical dribbles and plays that set up his teammates. Whether it was Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard or Tony Parker tasked with guarding Paul, they haven’t gave him sufficient time to pry the defense open, dribble by dribble. The Clippers need to find a way to give their shot creator time to, well, shot create.

Improve defensive rotations. After re-watching Games 1 and 2, it was pretty apparent that the Spurs’ ball movement was just too much for their defense. On numerous occasions, the defense simply broke down after either Parker and Manu Ginobili made the initial penetration to the hoop and, while they walled off the initial threat, the Spurs’ second, third, fourth and sometimes fifth options were more than capable of taking advantage of a defense on their heels. On other breakdowns, it was simply because A) the Spurs ball movement makes deciphering the offense a lot harder or B) Clipper defenders got lazy and left Spurs shooters open on the perimeter. For the series, the Spurs are scoring 1.4 PPP on spot-ups which, conventionally, represent a good chunk of the Spurs offense (21.8%) this series.

Information courtesy of mySynergy