The San Antonio Spurs had to fight for their game one victory over the Dallas Mavericks to kick off their run in the 2014 NBA Playoffs, but I’d suspect that they’ll take a 1-0 lead any way they can get it. Now leading 1-0 in the series, though, they’ll certainly be looking to maintain what they did well in this game and improve on what didn’t go so well.
As far as improvements go, the Spurs are going to need more reliable contributions from their role players. Guys like Danny Green, Patty Mills and Boris Diaw came out and didn’t give the Spurs much of anything, noticeably not on the offensive end of the floor. Kawhi Leonard wasn’t even much of a factor as he finished with just 11 points on the night.
It was the vintage big three that really got the job done for San Antonio, though. Tim Duncan turned back the clock as he put up 27 points and seven rebounds and Tony Parker was big with 21 points and six assists; but Manu Ginobili’s 17 points and six rebounds off of the bench that were really big for them in the win.
Ginobili shot just 4-10 from the floor, but his 6-6 shooting from the foul line and 3-6 shooting from deep were big. Even as the role players improve going forward, Ginobili is the most pivotal part in the Spurs’ chances. In short, he has to be better than he was last year in the postseason.
Though he had his moments in last year’s playoffs, the veteran sixth-man struggled overall and, despite all he’s given this team, was almost a detriment to San Antonio in the Finals at times. With much more rest under his belt this season and him looking a bit fresher, Ginobili has to be better this year for the Spurs to have a chance.
Manu didn’t disappoint in game one as he helped lead the Spurs to a win when the team as a whole wasn’t clicking. However, what remains to be seen is if he can contribute on that level consistently. If he can, the Spurs are definitely contenders. If not, I’m not sure they can make it out of the West.