2012 NBA Playoffs: Breaking Down San Antonio's Game 1 Win over Utah

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2012 NBA Playoffs: Breaking Down San Antonio's Game 1 Win over Utah
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Tony Parker takes a shot in San Antonio's blowout win over Utah.

The top-seeded Spurs have had trouble in recent Game 1's. But against the eighth-seeded Jazz, they wouldn't extend their Game 1 losing streak.

Tony Parker continued his phenomenal season by scoring 28 points and dishing out eight assists in the Spurs' 106-91 win over the Jazz. San Antonio extended its winning streak to 11 games.

San Antonio's guards penetrated, and the team got good results. By driving to the hoop and kicking the ball out (which Parker and Manu Ginobili did a lot), the Spurs were able to get open jumpers.

After San Antonio started scoring with those open jumpers, Utah started to try to steal passes more. They outscored the Spurs in fast-break points, and they did steal some passes, but Parker, Ginobili, and the guards penetrated and finished with dunks or layups.

Because of the passing and the penetration, the Spurs always had the Jazz on their heels. In the third and fourth quarter, Tim Duncan got the ball a lot, and he finished with a double-double (17 points, 11 boards).

Tiago Splitter got some opportunities in the paint early on, and he finished with four points before leaving with a sprained left wrist. Thanks to Parker's dribble drive, the Jazz big men rushed to Parker to stop him from making a layup. Parker responded by dishing to a big man (Splitter, Duncan, DeJuan Blair, Matt Bonner) for a bucket (usually).

That's why San Antonio scored 58 points in the paint (Utah scored just 44).

Manu Ginobili had some great passes, and in the third quarter, he had two amazing assists. In the third quarter, Ginobili did what Parker did in the first and second quarter, penetrating and passing for baskets.

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If we learned anything from Game 1, it's that Utah doesn't have much of a chance against the top seed. Tony Parker is most likely going to finish third or fourth in MVP voting, and unless he gets hurt, he'll be harassing the Jazz all series long.

This season, the Spurs are 4-1 against Utah (including Game 1). But now, Parker's at his best, Ginobili's at his best, and San Antonio's in full attack mode.

All series long, Parker and the guards will be penetrating and kicking out, letting the NBA's best shooting team (47.8 percent) take control of the game. With guys like Stephen Jackson, Gary Neal, Matt Bonner and Boris Diaw, I would be using the same strategy as the Spurs.

We don't know how far the Spurs will get, but I can pretty much guarantee that if the Spurs continue using their offensive formula and don't get impacted by any injuries, they will be in the second round.

Game 1 taught us an old team can still be energetic and great at shooting and winning games.

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