Behind a huge game from Klay Thompson, the Golden State Warriors tied the series at 1 game apiece with the San Antonio Spurs. Now both teams head to Oracle Arena to play games 3 and 4 where the Warriors will look to take advantage and gain control of the series. I’ll be live tweeting the game from @KJG_NBA, so here are some keys for each team to keep an eye on throughout the game.
Golden State Warriors: Keep attacking the Spurs pick and roll defense and keep playing small-ball
- The Spurs just haven’t been able to figure out how to play the Warriors pick and roll. Since Steph Curry has the freedom to shoot coming off around any pick, the Spurs have been put in a pretty tough position. The big man guarding the screen has to get up on Curry, but the Spurs big men don’t have the lateral mobility to stay with Curry once he gets the step on them. And if they don’t help and lay back, Curry will have a fairly open shot and that’s never a good situation for a defense. The Warriors also need to continue to play their smaller lineups that have had success. Harrison Barnes at the four has been a revelation. The more space on the floor, the more open three-point shots for the Warriors. And keeping up their hot shooting is extremely important if they want to continue to make noise in these playoffs.
San Antonio Spurs: Try and get Manu Ginobili back on track and play better overall defense
- The Spurs defense during this series has been downright awful. Over the first two games of the series the Spurs have a defensive rating of 108.4, which, albeit a small sample size, would have rank 28th in the NBA this season. As I stated above in the Warriors keys, they are in a tough position when it comes to guarding the pick and roll. But Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes have also hurt them by posting up smaller guards like Gary Neal and Tony Parker. In that situation the Spurs almost have to bring a second defender and Thompson and Barnes have been able to find guys both cutting to the basket and spotting up for threes. Also, over the first couple games Manu Ginobili is shooting 31.3% from the field. The Spurs aren’t winning this series without Manu being Manu. It’s as simple as that. Ginobili has settled for a lot of 3 pointers and hasn’t attacked the basket much. For the Spurs sake, let’s hope he’ll try to add to that shot at the rim total in this game.