May 4, 2014; San Antonio, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard Monta Ellis (11) shoots the ball past San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan (21) in game seven of the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center. The Spurs won 119-96. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
A rematch with the Dallas Mavericks is how the San Antonio Spurs must start their NBA title defense. What must they do to get off the blocks right?
Attack Chandler Parsons
The Spurs won the NBA title by sharing the ball. Their ability to pass was a key reason defenses had such a hard time stopping them. In the case of the Dallas Mavericks, however, they might have considerable success by keying on certain players. One in particular would be new addition Chandler Parsons. For all the offensive firepower he brings, the 25-year old is often a liability defensively. San Antonio may have a lot of success by gearing their offense around finding ways to attack him.
Don’t let Monta Ellis get out of the gates hot
One of the reasons Dallas became so difficult to handle in the playoffs last season was because they often got off to good starts. Led by key scorer Monta Ellis, two of the three wins by the Mavericks in that series came when they got out of the first quarter with the lead. In those games Ellis ended up as the leading scorer for Dallas, easing the pressure on star Dirk Nowitzki. With Parsons on board to help spread the floor, it will be even tougher for the Spurs to prevent the young guard from finding openings.
Let Tony Parker do his thing
For all the additions made by Dallas during the off-season, including Tyson Chandler, they remain somewhat light in the backcourt, especially at point guard. If one remembers, it was a huge night by Spurs leader Tony Parker (32 points) that ultimately helped them clinch Game 7 in their series back in May. Dallas is sincerely hoping their acquisitions of Jameer Nelson and Raymond Felton will be enough to keep Parker from doing that again. Opening night should offer hints as to whether it makes a difference.