Monday, June 04, 2012

Spurs Role Players Need to Bring It

The Spurs need to copy the theme the Thunder won with in game four. Role players coming through early (it was mainly Kendrick Perkins and Serge Ibaka for OKC), then Kevin Durant came in and iced the game. The Spurs stars can only do so much. The game plan is designed to stop them. Nobody predicted the Thunder bigs would come out the way they did in the last game.

What's the point of the Spurs getting huge contributions from their role players? If other players get hot offensively, it opens up the floor for the whole team to attack. Maybe the Thunder are doubling Manu Ginobili, or keeping three guys close to Tim Duncan. When Danny Green hits a few jumpers, DeJuan Blair rolls for a couple easy buckets and Gary Neal drives and finishes, the whole offensive dynamic changes.

Everyone can find open looks. Fluidity becomes the norm. Playoff basketball is simple basketball. Balanced offense for the Spurs is the key to them winning this series and vital if they want to win it all. They have no chance if Stephen Jackson and Manu Ginobili are the only bench players approaching double figures. The minimum they should look for is two in double figures, with a third guy being real close or at double figures too. That way there's other players Scott Brooks and his staff have to plan for.

Both of these teams are stacked, but it's not always about offense for each player on both teams. Guys like Tiago Splitter, Kendrick Perkins and Nick Collison are examples of guys who aren't offensive minded. When Kendrick Perkins came out in game four and jump started the Thunder offense, that was something totally unpredictable.

The Spurs as a team had to first just react to it happening, then they had to execute a way to slow down Perkins and Ibaka. Forcing teams out of what their main plans of attack are puts them on their heels. That's what happened in game four for OKC, and that's what's necessary in game five for San Antonio.

Going back home will be great for the Spurs. After losing game three by 20 and coming up just six short in game four, getting some support from their fans will be refreshing. They've got to come out and be the great team we know they are. Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili are great, but how great is a give and go between Tony Parker and Boris Diaw? That Manu Ginobili isolation jumper was money, but how about the drive and kick for a Danny Green triple? The continuity the Spurs play with will define their destiny tonight and beyond.