Film Study: Heat switch and challenge

VIDEO: GameTime’s crew breaks down Tony Parker’s woes in Game 2

SAN ANTONIO — The differences between Games 1 and 2 The Finals were on both ends of the floor. The Miami Heat were better offensively in Game 2, and the San Antonio Spurs were worse.

Both games were decided in the fourth quarter, and on Sunday, LeBron James was on the floor with the game on the line. That was the most important difference, and James’ ability to get to the rim in the first half and knock down jumpers in the second gave the Miami offense a boost. The Heat scored 82 points in James’ 37:36 on the floor (105 per 48) and just 16 points in his 10:24 on the bench (74 per 48).

But defense was just as (and maybe more) critical to the Heat’s 98-96 victory. The Spurs’ offense is rarely shut down completely, but if Miami can slow it down somewhat, it’s own offense should be enough to win a third straight championship.

In Game 2, San Antonio scored 17 points on 23 possessions in the second quarter and 18 points on 20 possessions in the fourth. Those had been the Spurs’ best offensive quarters for most of the playoffs, but certainly weren’t Sunday.

Afterward, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich blamed a lack of ball movement.

“We can’t put it in somebody’s hands and have them create everything for us,” he said. “It’s got to be a group effort and we didn’t do that.

“That puts a lot of pressure on everything else. It means we’re going to have to be perfect on defense, we can’t miss four free throws in a row, those sorts of things.

“You move it or you die.”

The lack of ball movement wasn’t just about the Spurs. The Heat’s defense played its part.

The Miami defense had issues in Game 1. A lack of ball pressure and slow rotations from the weak side allowed Tim Duncan and Tiago Splitter to make easy catches in the paint and shoot 14-for-16, with 14 of those 16 shots in the restricted area.

The pair got another 14 shots in the restricted area in Game 2, but converted only eight of them this time. None of Splitter’s three shots were on straight pick-and-rolls like he was converting on in Game 1.

The power of the switch

One adjustment the Heat made was switching high ball screens for Manu Ginobili to prevent the roll man from going untouched into the paint.

Here’s Norris Cole, at the end of the first quarter, switching onto Splitter after he set a screen for Ginobili …


And early in the second quarter, here’s Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade switching a high ball screen…


Immediately followed by Bosh and Chris Andersen doing it…


Switching screens takes some of the bite out of the Heat defense, but also takes some bite out of the Spurs’ offense. Not only does it help prevent those open rolls to the basket, but by not sending two guys to the ball, it doesn’t give San Antonio 4-on-3 situations where their passers will usually find the open man. The adjustment was one of the reasons the Spurs didn’t turn the ball over as much, but also why they got stagnant at times.

Running them off the line

Not sending two to the ball also makes it easier for the other three defenders to stick with their man. They don’t have to help as much and are able to recover out to the Spurs’ shooters.

On that same possession that the Heat twice switched a Ginobili ball screen, the ball was swung to Patty Mills in the corner. And because he didn’t have to meet a roll man under the basket, Cole was able to close out on Mills on the corner, run him off the 3-point line, and force a tough scoop shot from just outside the paint.

The Spurs have shot 49 percent from 3-point range in The Finals and had more 3-point attempts in Game 2 (26) than they did in Game 1 (25). But that’s partly because they took 14 more shots overall, a result of them cutting their turnovers in half (from 23 to 11).

The number that really jumped up was San Antonio’s mid-range shots. After attempting 11 in Game 6 in Oklahoma City and eight in Game 1 of The Finals, the Spurs took 23 mid-range shots in Game 2.

The Spurs’ first possession of the game was a broken play, but was an example of the Heat running them off off the line and forcing a mid-range shot. Wade recovered out to Danny Green and forced him to pull up for a 18-footer.

That shot went in, but the Spurs shot just 7-for-23 from mid-range for the game. That’s just 0.6 points per shot, compared to the 1.2 points they scored on their other 59 field goal attempts.

Time and time again, in part because their defense wasn’t compromised elsewhere, the Heat were able to meet the Spurs at the arc and force them to take a less efficient shot from inside it.

A late first-quarter possession was a good example of two close-outs, one by Cole on Mills …


… and another by Ray Allen on Kawhi Leonard


… forced a tough shot by Leonard. There was some miscommunication on that possession, but energy made up for it and there were no open shots to be had.


There were other cases where the Spurs did hurt themselves. At times, Tony Parker was too eager to go one-on-one with his defender instead of moving the ball to the open man.

Here’s Parker trying to isolate on Wade (who had switched onto him) early in the second quarter as Boris Diaw frees Marco Belinelli with a back-screen…


Wade stripped him clean.

And early in the fourth, here’s Parker again trying to go one-one-one with Wade, though Diaw is open on the baseline…


He missed a pull-up, mid-range jumper.

Diaw wasn’t in scoring position on that play (Belinelli was on the earlier one), but a quick pass to the baseline would have had the Heat defense scrambling. Help would have had to come from Bosh (leaving Splitter open for a layup) or the weak side (leaving a shooter open from beyond the arc).

The Heat didn’t switch on Parker ball screens as often as they did on Ginobili (though you’ll see one example in the video at the top of this post), perhaps because they know Parker is less likely to make a quick, penetrating pass. If he’s going to hold onto the ball for a beat or two, the Miami defense can hedge the screen and recover.

Maybe Popovich will have a word or two with him about that before Game 3.


  1. Kimmylovesthethunder says:

    I can’t wait to see the Miami Heat’s face, when the San Antonio Slurs raise up the trophy!!

  2. Elbow Macaroni says:

    Nope, Chalmers’ elbow never hit Parker. If it did it should have been on the chest and not on the stomach.

  3. It's On! says:

    Just check….

    Although a GREAT player, Tony Parker is on the floor in EVERY game… and I’m not talking about it being the result of fouls. Check for yourselves.

  4. Robert says:

    The NBA is giving away championship now why is it that the Spurs can’t keep their starters on the court and Miami can the whole game. Every game either Green, Leonard or Ginobili are in foul trouble that some bull. Last year it was Tim Duncan. I sit back and watch this mess each game and I try not to break my TV it’s a joke watching the special treatment the Heat is getting. I’ll never respect any if their championship.

    • D says:

      You dont think it has something to do with them being over aggressive because they have a deep bench? While Miami cant afford to have their starters in foul trouble so they are forced to be smarter

    • thespectator says:

      even if the refs are rigging it which is pretty foolish to think that, doesnt miami still have to put up points? dont they still have to play defense and shut down the opponent? its not like they dribble the ball around and a ref randomly stops the play and gives miami points..when the ref does call the fouls miami still has to hit free throws..your logic is futile, your argument holds no valid weight. at the end of the day you still have to win games to get into the playoffs, win games to win each round and win games to win the title..dont see how refs are giving away the title. quit hating you puerile imbecile..

      • Your Floppiness says:

        Spoiler Alert Heat Win the series…watch LeBron and Wade after every miss without a wistle. Hands out and a look of confusion? It is painful to watch! And thats why I don’t!

    • NBA Fan says:

      There were 20 fouls called on SA and 20 fouls called on Miami on game two. Miami took 21 freethrows to 20 freethrows from SA. So shut your mouth and go cry somewhere else, because your whining is idiotic. Furthermore, 21 fouls were called on Miami on game one, to only 14 fouls on SA.

    • MIKE says:

      The Thunder got the worst treatment in the finals that I have ever seen…
      Last years finals was not that bad
      This year seems to be pretty flawed too… I cant stand to watch the games….

    • james says:

      this is the comment of one super butt hurt spurs fan who knows his team was lucky to win game 1 and will be watching miami take the championship trophy from them once again, HEAT IN 6. 3peattttt

  5. bigboy11 says:

    tired of this flopping talk it was a grind out game, and have to give coach spo credit he made adjustments to his defense and it worked , wade had a very bad game mario and cole too and the heat still won wade had like 6 turnovers i thought he was playing for the spurs he dribble the ball off his foot a lot and falls his paper knees cant hold him up. trust me if wade can find 2 good games this series is over., clearly miami has the more talented team but the spurs play better team ball. another point miami has not lost at home yet in these playoffs

  6. Kelly Pennington says:

    How about fining Parker for that flop last night in game two .. Marios elbow never even hit him,, I recorded the replay in slow motion.. call it like it is.. If you fine one player than u should fine the other…

    • Gary says:

      Maybe you should look at it a little slower than.

    • D. Wright says:

      so chalmers wound up his elbow and swung it back and stopped riiiiight before he hit parker. that’s some video editor you have there, buddy. smh

    • kekekek says:

      Then Wade should be fined aswell, his flop was way worse.

    • MIKE says:

      Yes it did… !!! He raised his arm with purpose and connected. Chalmers is playing pretty poorly and his frustration is obvious.

    • Titus says:

      U must of recorded it on your VCR and watched it…he clearly wound up and hit parker in the rib area..upgrade your entertainment center and youll see what the rest of us seen

  7. pepe gonzalez says:

    The Spurs made sure that the AC was not working . Otherwise, this series would be 2-0 Heat. They are the worst bunch of fakersl. Duncan always crying to the refs after a foul call. Manu being the biggest flopper ever. And Parker couple of steps behind Manu. He was elbowed after Mario got tired of being grabbed on the arm and the refs missing the calls. Then he spent 5 minutes on the floor looking for a flagrant foul call. After 3 minutes, he was running up and down the wood with no limitations.
    He was tyrying to get Mario out of the game. What an actor!!!

    • D. Wright says:

      So that Wade flop(at least the more popular one of the night) never happened, right? The Nba just picking on poor Dwayne Wade and lying on him 😦 lol

      • Aram says:

        It wasn’t DWADE’s fault. The ref was behind him and while Manu swing on him. It was about playing smart. It was like a Dennis Rodman act vs Karl Malone. It’s not a flop. It’s refs fault. Anyway, you should stop complaining and have a little faith on your team.

    • Killerdogg says:

      Dont 4get about the Ginobili flop that wasnt called. Its still a flop whether the foul is called or not. Difference in Wade’s was the ref was behind the play and didnt see it and Ginobili’s was in front of ref so ref didnt call foul but was still a flop trying 2 get the call like Wade was able 2 do. Very smart move on Wades part. The same thing happens going for rebounds all the time. Its what the ref sees or better yet doesnt see.

  8. Lol says:

    Crazy seeing all these spurs fan complaining about fouls when the first thing they so to lebron when he is drive to the basket is foul him and most of the time they don’t call it . 3 different lebron lay ups the were crucial points there was contact and nothing was called just look at the replays . That would have been 3 more ft that they lbj would have made . If you guys also wanna talk about losing the game blame Parker for missing two ft and then 20 seconds later some one else missing two .

    • D. Wright says:

      yes. blame the spurs’ mistakes, not some silly notion that miami is superior because they are NOT! You sound kind of ridiculous saying that the heat lost because the spurs cut the AC. You should at least find a more logical and respectable excuse. lol Talk about fouls? dude, I saw missed foul calls on both sides…and so did you, you just prob wont ever admit it because most miami heat fans are just like you. When your team wins by only two points, you should just be happy for the win and sit down.

      • D. Wright says:

        my bad. ur post didn’t mention the AC. Still your comments about fouls was just as ridiculous.

      • Aram says:

        As you mentioned you saw both wrong calls on both sides. And you never complain if SA gets the favor, right? cmon stop being hypocrite and just enjoy the game.

  9. D. Wright says:

    lol. hilarious. the heat win by only two points and this article only points out the spurs mistakes like the heat played a flawless game. smh It was a good game and miami won and deserved to win but they were FAR from perfect as the score proves. They talk about Lebron like he’s a genius now. lol Man, dude got mad hot and did his thing in the second half but umm…like I said, they won by only two points and the spurs played horrible at times so had they not made bonehead mistakes like missing 4 free throws in a row, then prob would have been a different story so this win for miami was not a result of the heat just being superior or something like that. There were bad calls by the refs on both sides but all-in-all a great competitive game. On to game three. We have ourselves a serious series here, folks! Go Spurs!!

    • DWadeTheOne says:

      Dude, the Heat were on the road, and the Spurs play way better on home than on the road. As do the Heat. They Heat will pulverize the Spurs on home.

    • James Wong says:

      id!iot, a win is a win.. Heat won it convincingly.
      It was a 2 possession game before Manu that last 3point shot.LOL

    • Aram says:

      Yeah dude, a Win is a Win. never heard of that phrase before in any sports?

    • Jay says:

      You don’t know what you’re talking about. Please don’t comment again

      • Killerdogg says:

        Miami is a superior team BECAUSE of Lebron. Spurs played an amazing 1st half at home and was tied with Miami at the half. If the game is close in the 4th quarter of any game then the edge goes 2 Miami because they have a superstar on they’re team. Not even the Spurs can stop him and I have been a spurs fan since David Robinson days yet I am a basketball fan and Miami is the better team.

  10. Spurs Fan says:

    Yes, as you can tell from my name, I’m biased. With that said, it’s tough to read these posts about how “dirty” the Spurs play. Did you watch the same game I did? Chalmers elbowed Parker in the gut. It doesn’t get much worse than that. With that said, the Heat deserved to win. James shot lights out, and the Spurs missed 4 consecutive foul shots in the 4th. They didn’t deserve to win.

  11. ricz says:

    People keep saying manu flop here manu flop there

    But let’s be real Manu flop rarely and he rarely do that when trying to score…. He’s not as aggressive as LBJ/Wade when it comes to flopping

    LBJ? look he can flop all day to reach 30 points a game

    • Aram says:

      Hahahha.. flop all day to get 30 pts? hahahahha! man you made my day. stop smoking whatever you’re smoking out there man, please.. lol

  12. realist says:

    Whinge Whinge Whinge!! think every team in the league is guilty of flopping at times, some more than others sure, they need a system in place (during games) that helps the refs correct the calls.
    Like a video ref that quickly reviews it and radios into court side it was a clear flop, corrects the call. Then give out penalty free throws to the opposition or even a tech foul to the player flopping, 2x flops and they’re ejected.. that will surely get them to clean up their acts!!

  13. Kobe-Carmelo-Love says:

    Spurs will adjust on Game 3 and 4..

  14. olsonbeat says:

    People don´t understand me:
    All I am saying is that floppy calls, each 5 thousands dollars, must delivery to Cuba and their poor families because USA has donde a terrible politics with them

  15. bballjunkie1 says:

    Both teams are here because they can play the game and flop the game. Have you ever seen a player turn downs free throws because the ref missed the call? So my point is u have two champions going at it. Not wanna be champions, gonna be champions but two franchises who beat everybody along the way they had too. Enjoy this history being made, records being broken, Lebron and Duncan have broken a MJ, and Magic record. Either way it goes these teams were not supposed to be here. Oh yea Indiana and OKC so much for regular season statistics?

  16. CG says:

    I think it funny Spurs fans talking about flopping. Ginobili is the absolute worst. He flops more than anyone in the league. Duncan is a close second. Refs call it evenly. At the end the best team wins. Let’s see who it will be this year.

    • The Truth says:

      You just wanted to hear yourself talk. Heat fans started talking about the Spurs flopping – as you are right now, by the way – and Spurs fans pointed out that the Heat are just as guilty. Also, Wade is a dirty bird… Now he’s teaching Chalmers. Dirty birds!!!!

  17. olsonbeat says:

    For each technical foul game in NBA donate it to a good cause.Dou you know what it means 20 thousand dollars for a poor family? It is a lot. From now on let´s thinking on how we can change the game toward a good cause to help poor people. This is a good idea. It is just a tip for commisioners on how can we expand the game for good reasons

  18. Mike says:

    This game is so dirty, lebron and wade are whistle champs in 2006 the last two games Miami had a combined 82 FT how can you beat that? Kawhi Leonard can even breath without getting fouled, is not Lebron being so good thats on the refs calling phantom fouls.
    NBA dont treat your viewers as clowns you will keep losing them, no one with a brain wants to watch WWE.

    • Aris Lanon says:


    • James says:

      Well you are so Brainy.. Go back to watching Chess and Tennis…

      Basketball is a Man’s game, not even the Spurs are complaining yet you fake fans know nothing but to blame the refs when the Spurs lose. Grow up and be a man.

  19. Billy says:

    I agree with you Scott, the NBA needs to start suspending guys for flopping (as long as there is sufficient evidence) I agree 100% both lebron and wade are great actors.They do whatever they want and they don’t get fined. Wade has been flopping since the Indiana series and lebron has been getting away with fouls since the brooklyn series,he did the same thing that he did to paul pierce on game 5 to tony parker he got away with a foul. Lebron had a great game I don’t want to take anything away from him but the refs got call what it is

    • Aris Lanon says:

      why not suspend the refs then?

    • Heat fan says:

      Yea that clearly was a foul on pierce but the ball went out of bounce of pierce should have benn Miami ball but they gave it to the brooklyn Nets remember

  20. adolfo says:

    furthermore lebron had 2 pts in the 1st qtr with a lot of wild layups. He’s the best player in the world, i agree, but He’s not going to do it by himself in mia… If miami would’ve lost those would have been brought up and scrutinized.

  21. Scott says:

    I believe that the change of the game comes down to acting skills anymore. The acting job by James on “getting fouled” by air was the worst thing in the world. This needs to stop and it need to stop now. These players affect what kids do on the court. And we are going to see more and more of this garbage continuing because the NBA is creating this culture in the youth.
    I think do away with the fine, and add a one game suspension without pay for such an horrible action as that displayed by LeBron James. I think it is funny how no one seems to be talking about this.

    • JG says:

      Here’s a hanky for your tears. Man up, Ginobli flops as much as anyone. You should feel lucky Cramp-gate happened, otherwise you’d be down 0-2

      • Lol says:

        Didn’t just happened it was planned . If you mean to tell me that some one with as much money as the spurs have can’t fix an ac before the game I am calling bs . They can afford to hire every single ac company in area. It’s not like it went out during the game . It was out for a couple of days . Spurs practiced in it . It’s unreasonable to ask a team to play in 98% temp if I would have been Miami I would have told then to kiss my and play at the local college stadium that holds almost as many fans

  22. thespectator says:

    spurs better split other wise miami will win in 6

    • David M says:

      Can’t believe what I read about Heat grabbing etc., seriously? — the Spurs are the dirtiest whiniest great team in history. Duncan cheap-pushes nonstop and then kvetches to high heaven. Finally he got T’ed up about it; he could get a T a quarter for the last decade-plus. He’s like Stockton only without the sneaky elegance. Manu should get Ts similarly, just for whining. The worst thing is their halos, which started with the dirtball ministerial Bowen. Hard to believe it all must stem from Pop, but this was a team that turned Horry, of all people, into a thug in 07 or whenever it was, with his bloody mugging of Nash. And Parker previously. What a dirtbag group. I pray the Heat pound them hearty, but fear that won’t happen, cuz the Spurs are also so good.

      • haha says:

        Agree with David M… and…lebron doenst get a lot of fouls called, made on him.

      • Game Time says:

        Duncan is one of my favorite plays, but he honestly was flopping along with James, Wade, Manu and Parker. Bosh is the only star playing straight up ball.