Thursday, 7 June 2007

Spurs win Game 1

As was pretty much expected, the Spurs won Game 1 fairly easily, dominating the 3rd quarter in route to an 86-75 win.

But while the Spurs win wasn't surprising, the complete nonfactor of LeBron James was a bit surprising. LeBron was only 4/16 from the field, scoring 14 points, grabbing 7 rebounds, and doling out 4 assists. While he probably won't struggle like this all series, I think this is going to be a major problem for the Cavs.

Game 5 notwithstanding, LeBron still isn't that great of a jump shooter. His offensive game is more predicated on getting to the rim, and he's just not able to do that too effectively against the Spurs, the best help defensive team in the NBA. Even if LeBron gets by the strong on-the-ball defense from Bowen or Ginobili, he'll still have Tim Duncan, Fransisco Oberto, Robert Horry, & Co. at the rim. That's hard.

One more note on the Cavs, and that's to say that Larry Hughes should not be starting, and at no time should be guarding Tony Parker. I'm not big on Hughes anyway, but with him being hobbled a bit Parker can drive by him at will, as he showed. The less Hughes plays, the more Gibson plays, the better. Gibson was outstanding in Game 1.

For the Spurs, it was the same story as usual. Aside from a stretch in the 2nd quarter they were efficient offensively and superb defensively. Tony Parker was the high point scorer and he did play a terrific game, but Tim Duncan was the MVP. The numbers were impressive... 24 points, 13 rebounds, 5 blocks, but as is the case with Duncan the whole game was great. He was great in help defense at the rim, he didn't force things, and is always in the right position. Just a brilliant game from him.

This is how I think the series will go... both teams are strong defensively so the scoring will be low, but the Spurs are just too good and efficient to be beat in a 7 game series. I still believe LeBron will be good enough to get them a win or two, but beyond that, there's too much Tim Duncan and too much Tony Parker.