- Series Hub: Spurs-Heat
SAN ANTONIO — It was business as usual at the San Antonio Spurs’ practice facility on the morning of Game 3 of the NBA Finals. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich enlightened the assembled media for all of 57 seconds after shootaround and spouted about half as many words.
Turnovers, Pop, how much of an emphasis have you put on keeping them closer to four as in Game 1 as opposed to 17 as in Game 2?
“We didn’t talk about turnovers at shootaround,” Popovich said.
How about ball movement, Pop, how do you keep your precision passing game sharp to create open looks for your shooters? “You pass the ball,” Popovich said, “expeditiously.
“Any other questions?”
One giant one is how San Antonio’s Big Three will bounce back from an awful Game 2. Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili combined to go 10-for-33 from the floor with nine turnovers.
“I expect them to play better than they did last game, obviously,” said Spurs sharpshooter Danny Green, who is 9-for-14 from beyond the arc in the first two games. “A big bounce back? Yeah, I’m hoping for it. … Timmy wasn’t too happy with himself, he’s coming in and getting extra shots, Tony as well, coming in and getting extra shots. Manu, they all have pride in themselves. There’s a reason why they’ve won in the past, they’re competitors, they compete and they’re perfectionists, so they’re going to continue to work until they get things right and get them perfect.”
One issue is creating more space for Parker to operate. The Heat threw different looks at him in Game 2, crowding him and taking away lanes. Green said the Spurs have to set better screens and re-screen to help pop Parker free and allow him to better challenge Miami’s big men inside.
Parker smiled and said he’s not worried.
“I’ll figure it out,” Parker said. “That’s what players do, you have to figure it out and that’s my intention, to play better and figure it out. I can play better, I can make quicker decisions. As a team we can all help each other out.”
Defensively, the Spurs — primarily Kawhi Leonard and Green — have done a good job guarding LeBron James, limiting him to 18 and 17 points in the first two games, respectively, after he averaged 29.0 ppg in the East finals. Still, the MVP is averaging close to a triple-double (17.5 ppg, 13.0 rpg, 8.5 apg) and was key in the pick-and-roll with Mario Chalmers (team-high 19 points) during Miami’s massive 33-5 surge to run away with Game 2.
“You’re not going to limit a guy’s impact like that,” Green said. “A guy like Lebron James is the best player in the world for a reason. He impacts the game in so many different ways — defense, rebounding, passing, blocking shots. So far we’ve done a decent job on him. Yes, we’ve limited him from not scoring 30, 40 points, but he’s still impacted the game many different ways. We want to continue to do that, but also try to limit the role players from putting big numbers on us.”