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The Spurs defense can adjust in Game 3 by attempting to take away the three-point shooting of Miami, but that ultimately would leave them vulnerable to isolation drives by James and Wade.
Instead, the Spurs need to continue to play conservative defensively and protect the interior, even if it leaves them susceptible to outside shooting.
It’s a pick-your-poison scenario, and the better pick is to allow Mario Chalmers and Mike Miller to beat you on the road rather than giving in to James’ driving talents. The Heat shot 10-of-19 (52.6 percent) from three-point range in Game 2, but they've shot just 36.3 percent from there for the playoffs as a whole.
It’s better to deal with Miami’s outside shooting than let James run loose.
However, it hasn’t really been an issue of San Antonio’s defense in Games 1 and 2. Offensively, the Spurs shot just 41.7 percent in Game 1 and 41 percent in Game 2. San Antonio seems to be going through a shooting slump at the wrong time, but that wasn’t the distinction in winning and losing.
The difference between a Game 1 win and a Game 2 loss was turnovers. The Spurs committed just four in Game 1; however, they turned the ball over 16 times in Game 2, leading to 19 points off turnovers.
So how do you adjust to take care of the basketball?
The Spurs weren't a low-turnover team in the regular season, averaging 14.1 per game. So this isn’t a matter of Gregg Popovich adding, “Hey guys, don’t do that turnover thing anymore,” in his pregame speech.
No, San Antonio needs to play with a greater level of caution.
The Spurs like to share the ball—evidenced by a league-best 25.1 assists per game in the regular season—and passing creates risk, especially against a ball-tipping team like the Heat.
The adjustment starts at the point guard position, where Parker and Gary Neal combined for eight turnovers in Game 2. The way Miami is trapping and overplaying ball-handlers, the Spurs need to initiate the offense quicker and limit overdribbling.
This means taking care of the basketball by passing it early in the offense and allowing crisp execution to outweigh individual decision-making. Getting into the offense takes away from the chaos that Miami hopes to instill.
By limiting turnovers from the guard position, the Spurs can limit the Heat’s transition offense and help maintain a less frantic pace that will help San Antonio defensively.