NBA Playoffs 2012: Why the Spurs Can and Must Finish the Jazz Quickly
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After winning Game 1 against the Utah Jazz handily, the San Antonio Spurs proved they are far too good to slip up against their inferior opponent. Unlike last year when they had no answer for the two big men of the Memphis Grizzlies, this year they don’t have a mismatch of that nature to contend with.
Tony Parker is the best player in the series and Utah has no answers for him. In the opener he was able to get into the lane at will and either score or set up a teammate. Manu Ginobili was also able to penetrate easily, as there isn’t a quality perimeter defender that the Jazz have to lock down either of the Spurs best guards.
Ginobili’s numbers were not great in the first game, but that will not continue if he keeps getting open looks.
The reason the matchup is so bad for Utah is due to their undersized front line of Al Jefferson and Paul Milsap. Both players are unable to take advantage of the Spurs relative weakness in the paint. Matt Bonner, Boris Diaw and DeJuan Blair have problems rebounding and defending against bigger power forwards and centers in the league.
But the glue that still holds the team together is Tim Duncan. Despite his advanced age, The Big Fundamental is still San Antonio’s best interior defender. His minutes have been limited all season but he has proved many times he can still be effective.
He is still an efficient scorer and the team’s most reliable option in the post.
Many of the Spurs advantages in Round 1 will likely disappear against their future opponents. Whether they play the Clippers or the Grizzlies in the second round, it will surely be a tougher test. Being at 100 percent is the only way the team can move forward and possibly win the Western Conference.
Now the Spurs need to keep their foot on the pedal and not let Utah steal a few games in this series. Their older players need as much rest as possible and they cannot afford an injury. Though there is the possibility of rust, that is less of a worry for them than one of their older players breaking down.
With a long road ahead if they are to make it to the NBA finals, the San Antonio Spurs look to be in a position to coast through the first round. But with all their experience, the team must know that they will need as many days off as they can get. Taking care of the Jazz in short order is of utmost importance if they want to compete against the better teams.
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