Observations from Game 1 Spurs victory over the Heat

Spurs fans have to be happy after Game 1, but we all know you can’t project out the entire series after one game. The NBA playoffs are all about adjustments as we saw in the Indiana series, and now we’ll see what Erik Spoelstra has planned for game 2.

– We’ve all seen Miami come back again and again after a tough loss, so we should expect to see some adjustments for Game 2. That said, San Antonio is much more experienced and consistent that the Pacers. They anticipate adjustments and can respond in kind. The Spurs will be tough to beat if they play like they did last night and start hitting their threes. That said, Lebron mysteriously stayed away from the post last night. Let’s see if Spoelstra adjusts the offensive game plan.

– Fatigue was a factor for Miami. Of course that has a lot to do with the Indiana series, but the Spurs know how to run a defense ragged. The aggressive Miami defense that often destroyed the Pacers in the half-court wasn’t as effective against an efficient Spurs team that had only four turnovers. It’s not a good sign that he had to ask Spoelstra for a breather at the end of the third quarter.

– Lebron played well last night, but he certainly wasn’t in “beast mode” against this defense. The Spurs clogged the lane and dared Lebron to dish to his teammates. They’re happy to watch Chris Bosh launch threes, especially in crunch time. We’ll see whether Lebron can find a way to take control. This series looks like a great challenge for him.

– If Lebron, Wade and Bosh all play well, Miami can beat anyone any night of the week. But Wade and Bosh have been inconsistent, and that creates huge problems for Miami. The Miami bench has also been erratic. Shane Battier was on fire last year, but this year he’s basically been benched in favor of Mike Miller, who is a huge liability on defense. Meanwhile, the Spurs are more disciplined, efficient and experienced. They’re also deep, and even though Spoelstra has established himself as a very good coach, Gregg Popovich is the best in the business. Tony Parker is clearly on his game, and Tim Duncan continues to play at a high level. Manu Ginobili has yet to get hot.

– Basically, the Heat have to play well to win this one. That may sound obvious, but the point is they can’t expect the other team to self-destruct at times in the face of their defense. Indiana played a great series and almost beat Miami, but they’re still young and erratic, and their offense would disappear at times. Frank Vogel did a great job, but he had no clue when to call a timeout against the Heat onslaught. Popovich doesn’t make those mistakes. He knows how to control a game and stop a run.

So let’s see how Miami responds. If history is a judge, the Spurs will have their hands full in game 2, not that they won’t be ready.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

Gregg Popovich praises Oklahoma City

After the Oklahoma City eliminated his San Antonio Spurs last night, Gregg Popovich was the epitome of class, as usual.

San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich reflected on how great a run the Thunder were on after dismissing the defending NBA champion Dallas Mavericks (4-0) and Los Angeles Lakers (4-1) in the playoffs before eliminating the Spurs.

“As sad and disappointed as we are, it’s almost like a Hollywood script for OKC,” Popovich Said.

“They went through Dallas, last year’s NBA champion, and they went through the Lakers and they went through us. Those teams represent 10 of the last 13 championships.

“They will face either Boston or Miami and that will be 11 of the last 13 championships. I don’t know if anybody has ever had a run against teams like that. “I think that’s incredible. I think it’s pretty cool for them.”

I was a little skeptical of the Thunder’s chances to win a title this year due to the youth of their superstars, but Kevin Durant is a much different player than Lebron James. Durant is a true competitor and a leader, and he has some great talent around him with James Harden and Russell Westbrook. If Miami somehow makes it past Boston, I have confidence that the Thunder can take them out.

Spurs try to rebound for game 5

When an elite team like San Antonio stumbles, everyone has a theory. Here’s Gregg Doyle:

Do something, Gregg Popovich. Same goes for you, Tim Duncan. Do something. Anything. Do more than what you guys did as the Western Conference finals shifted to Oklahoma City, and I’m not just talking geographically.

This series is now knotted at two games each and the Spurs remain in possession of the home-court edge, but the momentum and the mojo and the nasty have shifted to the Thunder. They took a series that was slipping away after two games in San Antonio, and they grabbed it by the throat. And they are squeezing.

Gregg Popovich and Tim Duncan? They’re choking.

Really? That’s what’s happening? They’re choking?

Give me a break. Doyle might have some good points in his column but he sounds like a fool. Gregg Popovich and Tim Duncan are great at what they do, but they’re also facing an amazing Oklahoma City team led by the incomparable Kevin Durant. They’re not choking. They just happened to lose two games to Durant and company on their court. It’s not choking, it’s basketball. Let’s stop with the over-analysis.

Spurs take game 1 over Thunder

The Spurs found a way to win game one against Oklahoma City despite looking terrible for three quarters.

– Gregg Popovich challenged his team to get nasty with their defense, and Stephen Jackson responded with tough defense on Kevin Durant.

– Russell Westbrook is getting a ton of heat for his lame play in the 4th quarter, but Gregg Doyle just eviscerates him in this column, pointing out that Westbrook’s game is as hollow as the lenseless glasses he was wearing to show off the new nerd look that he and other prima donna’s like Prince James and Dwyane Wade are sporting these days.

Youth is definitely a factor in a series like this. That has to be an advantage for the Spurs, and it’s one of the reasons that Heat-haters like me would rather see the Spurs take on the Heat.

Manu Ginobili came up big for the Spurs in the 4th quater and finished with 26 points.

Gregg Popovich postgame press conference [video]

There is no blowup here. Just a coach who’s obviously pissed off about losing Game 2 and has to go talk to the media for a few minutes after the game. He gets progressively annoyed by the questions and then settles down toward the end. It is a lesson in composure.

Part of the problem is that half of the reporters that cover the games never played competitive basketball in their lives. Popovich’s response to the “energy” question was a little perplexing. One team can certainly play with more energy than another, but I think his point was that his Spurs were playing hard and the ball just didn’t bounce their way.

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