3-on-3: Game 1 Reactions

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With Game 1 of the Spurs-Mavs series in the books, we answer three burning questions as our attention turns towards Game 2. 48MoH staff writer Trevor Zickgraf and TrueHoop Network member Kirk Henderson join me to give our takes on three things ahead of Wednesday’s Game 2.

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1. Be honest, how close did you really expect Game 1 to be?

Trevor Zickgraf, 48 Minutes of Hell: Not that close. I was expecting something like 110-100. Between all the bench guys missing 3s and Dirk struggling the way he did, Game 1 was a bizarro Spurs-Mavericks game.

Kirk Henderson, TrueHoop Network: I expected a blowout, so to be up by 10, then not score another basket for seven and a half minutes really twists the knife. The four regular season matchups this season felt rather inevitable, so I was surprised to see Dallas actually play defense. If this series ends up being a sweep, Dallas fans will stew over this loss all summer.

Andrew McNeill, 48 Minutes of Hell: Surely not as close as it was. I didn’t expect San Antonio to blow the Mavericks out of the water, but didn’t plan for the Spurs to be down 10 points in the fourth quarter. Or at all for that matter.

2. How good do you expect Dallas’ 3-point defense to be going forward?

Zickgraf: I expect it to continue to be an emphasis, but I’m not sure the defensive rotations will stay as tight as they were in Game 1. The Spurs did get some open looks Sunday and they just didn’t fall.

Henderson: Game 1 feels like a mix of better Dallas defense and poor San Antonio shooting. If Devin Harris continues to steal minutes from Jose Calderon, the defense will be better than it was during the regular season, but that’s not saying much. In all likelihood, the Dallas 3-point defense will be average at best.

McNeill: The switching in Game 1 helped the Dallas defenders stay at home on the shooters. But talking to Patty Mills after Game 1, he didn’t think that was the only reason. Mills’s opinion was it was purely based on effort and awareness. He seemed convinced that it could be sustainable throughout the series, but I’m not so sure. Eventually the Spurs will knock down a few and then the floodgates should open up.

3. What is the biggest adjustment for either team headed in to Game 2?

Zickgraf: The Mavs need to figure out how they’re going to contain Tony Parker in the pick-and-roll. 30-year-old Shawn Marion probably could’ve spent an entire game trying to stay in front of him, but 35-year-old Matrix likely doesn’t have the energy. Focusing on containing Parker may also open up some looks for the 3-point shooters, so it’s pick your poison for Rick Carlisle.

Henderson: The statement “hit shots” feels stupid, but actually applies to both teams. Dallas didn’t get killed from beyond the arc, while Monta Ellis and Dirk Nowitzki were contained by solid defense. The early game (by normal game time standards) played a clear role with so many older players between both teams.

McNeill: I’m not totally sure, but I think it has something to do with the Spurs being more prepared for Dallas’ switching on everything. Not to say that they weren’t ready for it, but it’s not something they saw a lot of during the regular season. Being aware of that and any possible zone defense from Dallas could go a long way to finding and converting more from the outside in Game 2.

  • Eric Westerman

    @Trevor – 30 year old Marion couldn’t stay in front of Parker. Parker had great games against PHX during that era. Marion has always been more of a VERSATILE defender (he can guard Parker or guard Duncan without getting completely embarrassed) than he has been an effective defender vs. Spurs.

  • Steve Tallent

    He didn’t say he WOULD stay in front of Parker, but that he would have the energy to TRY to stay in from of Parker. Regardless, it is a daunting task especially not knowing where the next pick or screen is going to come from and getting hit with one, two, three, even four in a row from different directions and angles.

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