The Golden State Warriors haven't had much time to rest up for the San Antonio Spurs. San Antonio will have had one week off from the playoffs compared to Golden State and the Spurs will look to take advantage of that.
Warriors head coach Mark Jackson mentions a few things he's looking forward to and looking into the upcoming series.
Jackson comments on what he'll be focusing on during the series.
The one thing that jumps out immediately is that they’re the No. 1 fast-breaking team in the playoffs so far. You think about the Spurs and you think they execute you to death, obviously Tony Parker and Tim Duncan, Ginobili off the bench and the great role players. But they forced the tempo against the Lakers. I’m sure that was a game plan strategy, but we are going to make sure that…
These two are what makes the Spurs go and they showed that the majority of the series against the Los Angeles Lakers. Jackson also mentioned he'll likely put Klay Thompson on Parker for defensive purposes to try to slow him down. Parker has had a tough time getting passed taller players, but the Warriors were also one of the worst defensive teams in the league this past year at 19th overall (100.3ppg allowed).
Jackson also reveals who may hurt them because of his improvements.
He’s really improved. He was always solid, but his ability to finish on the block, make plays… he’s hurt us in the regular season on the offensive boards. He really played big against us–when you look at the numbers, they’re staggering. He does a good job playing off of Tim Duncan and then when he’s on the floor without him he picks up some of the load that Tim usually carries.
Tiago Splitter is coming off an ankle injury against the Lakers and it's not known how he'll respond when he gets back on the court. The Spurs will definitely need him to play like he did in the regular season. Gregg Popovich hasn't been shy about keeping a traditional lineup against smaller lineups because of Splitter's quick feet and long arms.
Mark Jackson also mentions what he's learned from Coach Pop all these years watching.
There’s a lot of things, but I would say the one thing is he gets it. Spending time with him, talking to him, talking to players that played for him, he understands that basketball is not life. And that’s the thing I respect the most about him. Those guys love him; they love him. He’s one of them. He can say whatever he wants to them and they know it’s coming from a great place. That’s coaching and I’ve got a lot of respect for him.
Popovich is one of the few coaches who doesn't take the game too seriously over life, but when his team is on the court that's the main focus he has. Pop's relationships with his players, especially Tim Duncan, has proved to be the foundation of the organization's success in the past and going forward for as long as he stays as coach.
To read the rest of Jackson's comments on the series and Spurs, click HERE.