Spurs notes: Parker will be a defensive target in Game 2
The NBA playoffs are all about adjustments, and while the Spurs won't adjust their defense if Ray Allen and Vladimir Radmanovic don't play...
Seattle Times staff reporter
SAN ANTONIO — The NBA playoffs are all about adjustments, and while the Spurs won't adjust their defense if Ray Allen and Vladimir Radmanovic don't play, they do expect the Sonics to defend point guard Tony Parker differently in Game 2 tonight.
How Parker responds will help determine how quickly this series ends. Will he play the way he did in the first round against Denver, adjusting easily to the Nuggets' increasing barrage of double teams? Or will he fade as the series wears on, like he did last season when the Spurs were ousted by the Lakers?
"I hope he [learned from that series]," Tim Duncan said after the Spurs finished practice yesterday. "Those are things you can't write on paper. Those are experiences that you have to go through to understand what adjustments are about."
Parker maintains that he's fine either way. Should the Sonics double-team him, that will leave Duncan or outside shooters open. Should the Sonics not double him, he hopes to match the game-high 29 points, including the Spurs' first seven points, that he scored on Sunday.
The key, according to Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, is for Parker to stay aggressive.
"With somebody like Tony Parker, he's better when he's trying to be aggressive," Popovich said. "Denver packed it in a little bit, but Tony didn't care. I'd rather have him making mistakes trying to make something happen than just running the show."
Said Parker, responding to a question about Denver's increased double-teaming: "You wait for your turn. It was tough, but they were playing good defense. It shows that they give me a lot of respect."
Nice guy no moreTeammates have taken to calling Duncan "Scarface" because of the cut he suffered in Game 1 that runs below his right eye. They were split on whether the look made the perpetual nice guy more intimidating.
"[The Sonics' post players] are tough guys," Manu Ginobili said. "They're aggressive. They're always hitting, bumping. [Duncan] is not that intimidating. He's got that good-guy look."
Added Bruce Bowen: "It was bad. Thank God he's married."
• The Spurs say they aren't even thinking about playing the Sonics sans Allen. They did not make defensive adjustments in that regard yesterday — even though Allen could miss Game 2 — in part to guard against relaxing if the Sonics are without their best player.
Ginobili went as far as to say the Spurs lost "so many" games during the regular season when opponents were missing all-stars.
"We are what we are," Popovich said. "One of the things coaches hate the most is playing a team that's got somebody out because that team always seems to pick themselves up and other people do superhuman things. Whoever is on the court, that's who we're going to play against."
• Popovich gathered his players after practice, and the theme of his speech was retaining focus for Game 2. The Spurs coach felt like his players lost their focus in the second half of Game 1, particularly in the third quarter.
The Spurs' film session yesterday showed as much. Popovich called the second half "lousy" and showed as many clips from that half — even with a monster lead — as he did from the first half, when the Spurs put that game away.
"He wants to make sure we don't come out flat and don't play like we did in the second half," Parker said. "We're trying to be perfect."
Greg Bishop: 206-464-3191 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Sam and Sara Lucchese create handmade pasta out of their kitchen-garage adjacent to their Ballard home. Here, they illustrate the final steps in making pappardelle pasta.