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Game 1, Round 1 - Let's Get it On!

Phoenix Suns

San Antonio Spurs
0-0 0-0
12:00 PM Pacific / 3:00 PM Eastern
Probable starters:
Steve Nash PG Tony Longoria
Raja Bell SG Michael Finley/Mano Ginobli
Grant Hill SF Bruce Bowknees
Amare Stoudemire PF Timmeh Duece Can
Shaq C Fabio Oberto

Recycled Preview

You might think it lazy to simply reuse portions of the pre-game from a few days ago. I call it worked then and it will work now.

Phoenix Stan's Game Plan for Assured Win by Someone Who Really Doesn't Have A Clue

Offensively, the Suns need to attack Timmeh early. Doesn't matter if he's on Shaq or Amare, that's where the ball should go. Shaq can use his magically repaired hip and his new strong ass (no, this hasn't stopped being funny yet) to pound TD in the paint. If Duncan wants to come out and try Amare in the high post then Stat can drive right by him. Either way. Make Duncan work early on D.

Plan #B2 - get the ball to Grant Hill. We know that the Spurs will put Bowen on Nash. That's going to leave a much smaller or lesser defender on Grant. He and Diaw both are going to need to carry some of the distribution load and keep the offense humming.

Defensively, you just keep it simple. The Spurs aren't a balanced scoring team. Behind the big three they are very thin indeed. And all three need to do well if they have a chance to score over 100.

One thing we learned in the second half of the most recent game, is that the key to defending the Spurs on the perimeter is to switch everthing. The Spurs aren't deep enough to make the Suns pay for switching the screens and picks that Parker and Ginobili use to create havoc and get into the lane.

Make the Spurs either move the ball and try and exploit matchups with their role players or make Mano and Parker beat their man in isolation. Even if they can take their guy off the dribble that will give the bigs more time to rotate and provide effective help.

Active, switching perimeter defense is the key to stopping this predictiable and shallow Spurs attack. If the Suns do that and limit turnovers the game will be much more winnable.

Matchup of Greatest Significant Import

Bell v Mano. Raja needs to really focus and lock down Mano. This guy is coming off the bench for the Spurs as their primary option. The Suns can't let him go off. Hold Mano under 20. Suns win.

Update [2008-4-19 10:46:43 by Phoenix Stan]:

Rosewood breaks down the Spurs "offense" by the numbers in this GREAT post. Here's the conclusion:

Our perimeter players have to stay at home on the Spurs 3 pt. shooters. The Spurs offense heavily depends on the three pointer. In fact, only a few teams take more threes per FGA than the Spurs. The Suns do. But unlike the Spurs, when they Suns don't get their median assists (27) and their median threes (9), they still play well (15-8). This is because we have several players who can score without the three (Nash, STAT, Shaq, Diaw, Barbosa, Hill, Giricek) but the Spurs have only their big three.

Buckle up my friends.

Be prepared for anything. The ride is just getting started and its going to be bumpy. But have faith that at the end of this roller coaster the Suns will prevail.

Live blogging will commence about 30 minutes before tip.

For more insight from the other side visit Pounding The Rock. Just be sure to wash your hands after you do. I kid! I kid!

no really, wash 'em good

Don't Forget this...Saturday is the last day before the big upgrade. No more html to post a link!

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