When the air conditioning broke inside the AT&T Center during Game 1 of the NBA Finals, players needed more rest. Gregg Popovich made his rotation substitutions earlier than usual. Erik Spoelstra had to deal with his best player, LeBron James, leaving the game with extreme cramps. Adjustments had to be made.
That’s what this game is all about; adjusting to the conditions and the opponent’s strategy, especially in the playoffs.
Even though the San Antonio Spurs won by 15 points, they have some adjustments to be made. Miami is going to adjust and it’s up Gregg Popovich and crew to punch back.
First off, the turnovers need to be cut down. Between both teams, 55 points were scored off of turnovers, and since the stat started being kept in 1996, is the most in NBA Finals history. The Spurs 22 turnovers were tied for the most the Spurs have had this postseason. The other time, the Spurs got blown out by 21 points on their home floor by the Dallas Mavericks. That sounds a lot like what should have happened. Manu Ginobili knows they won’t be so lucky next time.
“I’m pretty sure if we turn the ball over 23 times, we’re not gonna win again.”
Miami is one of the best teams at forcing turnovers and capitalizing on them. Bringing that number down closer to their season average, 14.1, or even their postseason average, 12.8, would go a long way in defeating Miami back-to-back times in the postseason, a feat that hasn’t been accomplished by any team since the 2012 Boston Celtics.
Looking at the box score and re-watching the game, it’s hard to say that anybody on the Spurs played poorly. Yes, Boris Diaw only shot 1-5 from the field. However, the Spurs were a crazy +30 when he was on the floor, due in part to his playmaking (six assists) and rebounding (ten).
Kawhi Leonard was really the only player with a “bad” game. Really, it was due to his minutes limit because of foul trouble. Only able to play half of the game, the budding star was only able to attempt five shots and grab only two rebounds. While he converted a good percentage, Leonard needs more attempts as a pivotal player in this series.
Lastly, Miami is going to bring the intensity. Like was said before, Miami hasn’t lost back-to-back games in the playoffs since 2012. Couple that with how upset LeBron James was that he had to watch his team fall from the sidelines, he and his team are going to come out firing. The Spurs have to match the fury that Miami will bring at the beginning of Game 2.
Game 2 is Sunday night slated for a 7 P.M. tip time.