The San Antonio Spurs haven’t played a game in over a week. That’s not because they’re out of the NBA Playoffs, but because they swept the Los Angeles Lakers in their first round series. They will finally return to the hardwood on Monday night, though, to face off with the Golden State Warriors and start their series in the second round.
San Antonio easily handled an injury-depleted Lakers team, despite not looking all that great. It’s possible that they were just coasting because they knew that L.A. wasn’t going to pose much of a threat, but it doesn’t change the fact that they weren’t clicking the way they would like to be. That will have to change against this hot Warriors team.
A key from the Warriors upset victory in their series against the Denver Nuggets was the discrepancy in three-point shooting. Golden State shot over 40 percent from long range in the series while Denver shot just 31.1 percent from beyond-the-arc. That series proved simple math—three points is more than two points.
However, the Spurs are a much better three-point shooting team and the Warriors, despite holding the Nuggets to a poor three-point percentage, aren’t great when it comes to defending the three. During the regular season The Warriors held opponents to just 34.7 percent shooting from deep, but also allowed the fourth most made threes by opponents at eight per game. Meanwhile, the Spurs averaged 8.1 made threes per game on 37.6 percent shooting in the regular season.
It’s unlikely that the Warriors will shoot over 40 percent from three against the Spurs, but it’s pretty much a foregone conclusion that Golden State will still derive much of their offense from beyond-the-arc. The Spurs will obviously need to work to contain that, but they will also need to match it as well.
San Antonio will need to knock down threes on a consistent basis in this series with Golden State. Guys like Danny Green, Matt Bonner and Kawhi Leonard, as well as stars like Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, will need to take advantage of opportunities from long range and try and match the Warriors’ production from three. The Spurs have the obvious advantage in the series, but if Golden State is hitting more threes than them, that could prove to be an equalizer in the series. San Antonio has to make sure that doesn’t happen