With the series tied at 1-1 in the 2013 NBA Finals, both teams have an equal shot at winning the championship. Both teams have made a lot of mistakes and have capitalized on others, but to win game three and continue on in the finals, the Heat and the Spurs will have to make adjustments.
Here’s a look at a few problems the Spurs will have to fix if they want to win the Larry O’Brien this year.
How to Get Ginobili Involved
Manu Ginobili has been a staple in the Spurs offense for years now, but he has never underperformed quite like he did on Sunday. He shot extremely poorly and didn’t get involved on the defensive end. Most importantly, he looked uncomfortable on the floor.
Ethan Rothstein of SB Nation said it best:
Ethan Rothstein of SB Nation: "It seemed that every time that Manu Ginobili took a dribble it resulted in a turnover"— The Spectacular (@MASSonJOX) June 10, 2013
To get Ginobili more involved, the Spurs need to actually call plays for him. Coming off the bench makes it much harder to start strong, but he has done it his entire career. Once he gets subbed in, they need the offense to flow through him. While Parker is the catalyst, Ginobili is the gamechanger. If Ginobili can get hot, it will free up Parker, Duncan, and the rest of the three-point shooting Spurs.
How to Stop the Fastbreak Offense
The Heat have played small for the majority of the season and that hasn’t changed coming into the playoffs. With the incredible versatility of LeBron and Bosh to play the four and five, the Heat have been able to use their speed and transition offense to score at will.
The Spurs need to match Miami’s speed with some of their own. Tiago Splitter has looked incredibly lost playing against the Heat so far, and I can’t imagine that changing. Whether it is guarding Dwyane Wade or being emasculated by the King himself, Tiago has no business starting this series.
The Spurs need to take him out of the starting lineup and simply use him to sub Tim Duncan. Even though Popovich would never bite, Ginobili would be a much more effective starter against the Heat. Tiago can’t keep up with the pace of the series and Ginobili is the perfect replacement.
The Heat also need to make some adjustments to neutralize the Spurs to maintain their momentum going into game three.
How to get LeBron James Buckets
LeBron James has played really well as a facilitator for the last two games, but Gregg Popovich and the Spurs will find a way to stop that. They have been begging LeBron to shoot for the last two games by giving him insane amounts of space. Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard have been going way under on screens.
It’s not just me who noticed it though; The Numbers Magazine offered their wisdom:
I have never seen a team give LeBron that much cushion. U could never give Kobe that much room.— The Numbers Magazine (@NumbersMagazine) June 10, 2013
If Kobe Bryant was given that much space, he would shoot the ball just about every time. LeBron needs to shoot early and often and remain confident in his jumpshot. There were times this season where he couldn’t miss that shot; if he can get that back, the Heat will be hard to beat.
How to Slow Down the Spurs Offense
This point is a bit of an anomaly because the only way to slow down their offense is to speed it up. While the Spurs have some of the best guard play in the league, their depth is very questionable. After Ginobili on the bench, they really don’t have many other options.
On the other side of the ball, the Heat have excessive depth at every position. They need to continue to hound the Spurs ball handlers because as we saw in Game 2, it will create turnovers.
The Spurs only had four turnovers in game one, tying an NBA record. Game 2 went differently as they turned the ball over 16 times. That is unacceptable.
During Miami's 23-3 run, Spurs have 4 turnovers. That is as many as they had TOTAL in Game 1.— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 10, 2013
The Heat need to pick up the pace of the game at every moment possible because of their superior speed. If they can play at that high level, it will be very hard to lose.