After Monday night’s double overtime thriller in which the San Antonio Spurs beat the Golden State Warriors, 129-127, on a 3 pointer by Manu Ginobili with 1.2 seconds left, the Warriors will look to bounce back tonight and even the series before heading back to Oakland for game three. I’ll be live tweeting the game from @KJG_NBA. Here are the keys for each team to win the game:
Golden State: Don’t slack off defensively
- The engine behind San Antonio’s big fourth quarter comeback was getting lots of open looks on offense that were generated by poor rotations by the Warriors. The Warriors kept the Spurs in check for much of the game, but their lack of discipline late allowed the Spurs to work their way back into the game in which they were mostly being outplayed. Poor defensive decisions also led to the critical foul out by Klay Thompson, who really had a nice game on both ends of the court. His absence put a greater burden on Steph Curry and Jarrett Jack, and while they (mostly) delivered while he was on the bench, his presence would have helped them a lot.
San Antonio: Better Pick and Roll defense, putting Kawhi Leonard on Steph Curry as much as possible.
- The Spurs simply need to defend the Warriors’ high pick and roll that frees their shooters better. Much of the onus falls on whoever guards the ball handler recognizing the sets quickly and getting around the screen fast enough to not allow the shooter, whether it be Curry, Jack, Thompson, or anyone else, much time for an open look. Without Tiago Splitter, who might still be out with an ankle injury, the Spurs’ big men (Boris Diaw and Tim Duncan) likely aren’t mobile enough to bother the shooters much. The Spurs also need to use the 6’7” Kawhi Leonard on Steph Curry as much as they can, because he was the only defender that seemed to have much success in limiting Curry, holding him to 6 points in the fourth quarter and overtimes. They had the luxury of Klay Thompson fouling out and thus eliminating a major offensive threat that Leonard would have had to cover, and will likely not be so lucky this time around. However, their main defensive focus needs to be slowing Curry and preventing him from having another 40 point game.