May 10, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; San Antonio Spurs power forward Tim Duncan (21) hugs shooting guard Manu Ginobili (20) after the play against the Golden State Warriors during the fourth quarter of game three of the second round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at Oracle Arena. The San Antonio Spurs defeated the Golden State Warriors 102-92. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
We here at Air Alamo would like to wish all the moms out there a Happy Mother’s Day!
We’ve got about an hour before tip-off to Game 4, so let’s discuss what the Spurs keys to victory are for this afternoon’s game.
Keep Golden State’s Guards In Check
The reason this is “Golden State’s Guards” instead of just Stephen Curry or Klay Thompson, is because if Curry misses the game, Jarrett Jack will get the start. Jack may not be the shooter Curry is (but then again, who is?) but he has torched the Spurs before, as we saw in the regular season overtime thriller, where Jarrett Jack had 30 points and 10 assists in 42 minutes.
May 10, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; San Antonio Spurs small forward Kawhi Leonard (2) shoots against the Golden State Warriors during the second quarter of game three of the second round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Even if Curry does play, Parker’s calf injury has him slightly hobbled, so Danny Green would have to continue his excellent defense on Curry. In Game 3, the Spurs held “The Splash Brothers” of Thompson and Curry to a combined 12 of 37 shooting. Realistically, I wouldn’t expect that to continue, but as long as San Antonio continues to contest jumpshots, anything is possible.
Limit Offensive Rebounds
Something that’s been a problem all series long is the number of offensive rebounds the Warriors have gotten. Even when they’re missing jumpshots, San Antonio keeps getting caught out of position on the glass, leading to easy offensive rebounds and second chance points. In Game 2, the Spurs had 8 offensive rebounds, while the Warriors had 16. And those 16 offensive boards led to 18 second chance points. Limit the offensive rebounds and you can prevent Golden State from getting second and third opportunities to get their shooters involved.
Ball Movement and Intensity
If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a hundred times. The Spurs offense relies on constant motion to free shooters and confuse the defense. And as long as the Spurs are moving around and passing the ball, the offense will succeed. Sharing is caring! Or something.
And of course, remaining aggressive on defense is a must. The way the Spurs swarmed to Golden State’s shooters in Game 3 and rotated to help was masterful and must continue. San Antonio answered every run the Warriors went on with a run of their own on Friday, and that’s not possible without getting stops on the defensive end. The last thing the Spurs need is to get into an offensive shootout with Mark Jackson’s team.
It’s now or never for the Spurs. The opportunity to put this series away is there, and history is on the Spurs side. This statistic courtesy of NBA History’s Twitter account:
ABC 3:30 pm/et Spurs: 16-3 all-time in best-of-7 series when led 2-1 @eliassports
— NBA History (@NBAHistory) May 12, 2013
Is there anything we missed or something we should add? Let us know in the comments. And as always, Go Spurs Go!