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Game 2 - The Plan

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Line-up

This all depends on Grant’s groin being ready to perform which is an unknown at this point. All the talk from the Suns camp is positive but they were saying the same things before Game 1. Because we don’t really know what’s going on here’s two options:

Option 1 – Hill starts

In this case I would start Barbosa instead of Bell. Bell’s minutes should mirror Ginobili’s. I am not ready to give up on Bell’s ability to D up on this guy. I have watched him play defense too long to think that he’s not going to stand and deliver.

To keep him focused on that he shouldn’t start the game unless Manu does. Manu comes in, Bell comes in. Manu goes to pee, Bell goes to pee. Get in that guy’s shorts and don’t come out until the buzzer sounds.

With Manu off the floor, LB isn’t the normal defensive liability and he can get some run outs and perhaps even attack Duncan and Thomas early in the game and see if he can’t pick up a few cheap fouls - drawing fouls apparently and unfortunately is part of the strategy to win games.

Option 2 – Hill doesn’t start

In this case I don’t think you can have two different guys start so you leave Bell in and see if you can get him hot early with his shot and then also start Giricek.

Gordan can spread the floor and create in the mid-range and he’s certainly not a liability on defense. He just needs to avoid picking up some cheap fouls like he tends to do when he’s coming off the bench. I think he’s got enough experience to handle this.

Boris is another option that I liked until Rosewood pointed out correctly that Boris on the floor with Amare and Shaq would screw up the spacing and rotations.

Defense

Defending Duncan in the post

There’s not much else to be done here. In the instances where the Suns doubled Duncan it did not turn out well. In the instances where they left Duncan alone against Amare or Diaw it did not turn out well.

Amare and Diaw can work hard to deny the pass and front on occasion but Duncan is Duncan and there’s only so much you can do.

The only real adjustment I saw was perhaps trying to force Duncan to spin to the middle instead of baseline and have the other big come over and help as he’s executing his move...

[Note by Phoenix Stan, 04/22/08 1:11 PM PDT ]

I forgot to add - look for Shaq to start the game on Duncan tonight. Normally, the Suns have been starting Amare on Timmy and moving Shaq over later. I think they are going to flip that around this time.

Pick and Roll D

There’s a reason this is the most used play in the game. Its hard to defend. The Spurs ran a twist though and ran a few screens before initiating the play and used one big to draw Shaq out of the paint and used their other big to seal in the lane.

Watch this and note how Oberto seals Diaw to open that huge path for Parker

Now, watch the play this time with KT doing the same thing except this time Shaq chases Parker and blocks his shot

There are a few options to defend the pick and roll.

In this one Babosa goes under the screen and Amare leaves Kurt to help in the lane. Parker makes the right pass and KT get’s an open look but you can live with that.

In this clip Barbosa and Shaq switch and Parker tries to hit the roll man and LB deflects the pass. Who says LB can’t play defense!

I think you need to mix it up and have a few options prepared. Sometimes you switch. Sometimes you go under the screen and make the guy shoot. Sometime you collapse and make them pass.

The Suns certainly need to prepare for that play where they are getting sealed in the lane and fight through that. I will be watching closely for this tonight.

Isolation on Ginobili and Parker

Not much else to say here. Make them work to catch the ball, force Manu to his right and perhaps make Parker prove he can hit his jump shot before playing up on him.

Communication on help D is key. Sometimes though you can play it perfectly and a great player is going to make a tough shot. Like this one.

Offense

I don’t have any adjustments here. The Suns played well and shot 50% in Game 1.

They can score on this Spurs team because they are so balanced and just need to continue doing what they do. I do expect Nash to have an even better game and hope that the bench can continue to provide some scoring.