Most people were predicting that the San Antonio Spurs would come out in game one of the second round series against the Golden State Warriors and dominate. After all, the Spurs are a powerhouse that many expect to make it to the Western Conference Finals of the NBA Playoffs while the Warriors are a young team living on borrowed time. However, the game turned out quite differently.
The Spurs needed a flurry of dumb turnovers by Golden State, two overtimes, and a big-time clutch three from Manu Ginobili to put away the Warriors. When all was said and done, the Spurs still got the victory by a score of 129-127, but they also realize that they have to be better or the Warriors might get their second upset of these playoffs.
One thing that stood out as a real problem for the Spurs was their ability to finish at and around the rim. For the season, the Spurs averaged 36.8 points per game from shots inside of five feet and shot 61.8 percent from that range. However, in game one against the Warriors, they notched just 34 points from less than five feet, despite the game going into double-overtime. The even more troubling troubling part of their game one performance in that area is that the Spurs shot only 54.8 percent from less than five feet in game one. That’s a significant drop-off.
One possible reason for this somewhat inefficient shooting around the rim for San Antonio in game one is the fact that Tim Duncan was battling flu-like symptoms and didn’t seem like himself. Even more important is that Duncan was unable to draw Andrew Bogut of the Warriors, a terrific defender at the rim, away from the lane.
In game two on Wednesday night, though, Duncan is expected to be back at full health. The Spurs have to be able to get points at the rim, an area of the game where they have a significant advantage over the Warriors. As of right now, their inefficient scoring from close is something to keep an eye on, but if it happens again in game two, it’s going to be a big problem for the Spurs.