Gameday 3-on-3: Spurs vs. Warriors
We invited our friend Ethan Sherwood Strauss of HoopSpeak and Golden State Warriors blog WarriorsWorld to participate in some 3-on-3 action ahead of tonight’s game against said Warriors. Read along as we break down a few topics for tonight’s matchup.
1. The Spurs won’t have Manu Ginobili, but can they still score on the Warriors?
Ethan Sherwood Strauss, HoopSpeak: This is unfortunate for the Spurs, because adequately sized two-guards have such an advantage over Monta Ellis. San Antonio can possibly make up for that loss via Tony Parker, who might turn Stephen Curry’s ankle into silly string.
Jesse Blanchard, 48 Minutes of Hell: The answer to that depends on their defense. Against historically undisciplined teams like the Warriors, Popovich should be able to hide some weaknesses with smoke and mirrors, Tony Parker, and an uptempo pace — so long as they’re not taking the ball out of the net every play.
Andrew McNeill, 48 Minutes of Hell: I’d like to think so. I’m thinking part of the reason for the second half sluggishness offensively on Mondays was simply the team being a little shell-shocked with the Manu injury, but really those are just my hopes. Nevertheless, I believe there is enough offense on the active roster to put up some points on Wednesday night.
2. Fact or fiction: DeJuan Blair can score 20 on the Warriors big men
Ethan Sherwood Strauss, HoopSpeak: Fiction. These Warriors aren’t defensively deplorable, they’re offensively offenseless. GSW is tied for 25th worst O in the league, and while they’re not much better-ranked at D (19th), the ol’ eye test approves of Mark Jackson’s reforms. The Dubs aren’t trudging under screens anymore, a change that has animated improved overall defensive effort.
Jesse Blanchard, 48 Minutes of Hell: Fact. Though it will be harder without Manu, Blair can still run the floor, work the offensive glass, and has good high-low chemistry with Duncan. Without Manu, the Spurs may even look to Blair to create a shot or two. That’s not to say he will do it, or do it efficiently.
Andrew McNeill, 48 Minutes of Hell: I’m giving a tentative fiction, and the reason is this: Not only is Manu out of the lineup, and that will hurt Blair, but I’m guessing the Spurs will employ more of Tim Duncan on the low block with Ginobili out. If that’s the case, Blair is either forced to sit the bench, or he’s floating around the 15 foot distance where he’s not nearly as effective.
3. What should Spurs fans be on the lookout for when the Spurs take on the Warriors?
Ethan Sherwood Strauss, HoopSpeak: Look for Tony Parker to get Stephen Curry in early foul trouble. Curry can’t resist using his hands when feet would do the trick — like if Jesus dog paddled while traversing water’s surface.
Jesse Blanchard, 48 Minutes of Hell: The Spurs still have Tony Parker and shooters galore. While the loss of Manu Ginobili will hurt, it will be most pronounced against good, disciplined teams. Against teams like what the Warriors historically have been (to be fair, hand-down, man-down has moved Golden State closer to the middle of the pack), Popovich should have enough smoke and mirrors to push the tempo and hide some weaknesses.
Andrew McNeill, 48 Minutes of Hell: How DeJuan Blair responds in Manu Ginobili’s absence is one, James Anderson’s effectiveness defensively and spot-up shooting is another. The big one for me is how Coach Pop uses Gary Neal, who will be available for Wednesday night’s game. Will he slide in to the backup 2-guard spot or will Danny Green get the bulk of minutes there?