3 Players Expected to Have a Bigger Offensive Impact on Game 2
The San Antonio Spurs won Game 1 by a narrow margin, but they realistically got good offensive production from only Tony Parker, Tim Duncan and Danny Green throughout that game. The fact that only Duncan and Parker contributed well on offense this game and the Spurs still ended up winning should be alarming to some Miami Heat fans.
The Spurs and Heat will play Game 2 tomorrow night and some of the younger Spurs players should have shaken off some of the anxiety of playing in the NBA Finals.
The Heat aren't expected to struggle this much on offense for the entire series, so the Spurs will need other players to step up and contribute to the scoring load besides their two superstars.
Although Kawhi Leonard played as great a defensive game as anybody ever has against LeBron James, he looked a bit hesitant on offense at times when James was guarding him on the other end of the court.
Leonard is averaging 12.8 PPG on an incredible 55 percent field-goal percentage during the playoffs, but was only able to muster up 10 points on 3-for-9 shooting from the field and 0-for-4 from beyond the arc in Game 1 (per Basketball Reference).
It's definitely a drop-off in production when compared to the rest of the playoffs, and Leonard may never reach his averages in this series with James guarding him. However, he could still stand to shoot the three-ball better and maybe put some more pressure on the Heat defense by attacking the paint, instead of just relying on Tony Parker to make a play.
Tiago Splitter played 24 minutes in the opening game, but only managed to score seven points and grab two rebounds during his time on the floor.
At 6'11", Splitter will be one of the biggest players, if not the biggest player, on the floor every time he steps into the game, so he's expected to contribute much more effectively on offense. Like in the series against the Indiana Pacers, the Heat are bound to struggle defending the Spurs' bigs and rebounding the ball.
By no means is Splitter the same caliber of player as Roy Hibbert, but he has the potential to be just as effective. He's a good post-up scorer and an underrated athlete who has a variety of ways to score around the rim.
During the playoffs, Splitter's scoring output has dropped significantly when compared to his regular-season average (10.3 PPG vs. 6.8 PPG). Now that he's up against a smaller team, they will need him to score when Duncan and Parker are struggling to find easy baskets.
Manu Ginobili came off the bench and recorded 13 points on a mediocre 4-for-11 from the field. Obviously age and injuries have stopped Ginobili from continuing his superstar-esque play during the peak of his career, but he's still the second-best playmaker on the team.
Unfortunately, Ginobili hasn't been himself this postseason either. His scoring output (11.6 PPG) and field-goal percentage (38.2 percent) are the lowest in nine seasons.
Unlike the previous two players, Ginobili is a proven winner and has the ability to step up during the most important games. He has shown over the years that he's not afraid of taking the big shot or stepping up under the spotlight.
If there's anybody who could take over the scoring load on a nightly basis, it's Ginobili.