The San Antonio Spurs face a tough task tonight as they will be without star small forward Kawhi Leonard, who suffered an injury to his ankle in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals on Sunday. What seemed to be an improbable task even with Leonard in the line-up, beating the Golden State Warriors, will be that much tougher tonight as the two teams square off once again.
Everyone has to chip in
Jonathon Simmons will likely get the start tonight and Pop will need a great effort from him on both ends of the court. Simmons will have to play a huge part on defence, as he will more than likely be guarding Kevin Durant when he is on the court. Pop should throw different players at Durant as much as he can, so it is crucial that guys like Kyle Anderson, Manu Ginobili and perhaps even Davis Bertans are ready to step in and produce when called upon.
Patty Mills has the ability to hit the three, but he failed to convert even one on six attempts in game 1. This will need to change if Spurs stand any chance versus a high octane Warriors offense. Danny Green did a bit better by converting two of three threes in game 1, but his defense on Thompson will also need to be top notch. No open shots and contest every jumper.
Off the bench, Dejounte Murray and David Lee have to be difference makers. Murray is a solid defender, but Spurs will need him to get his jump shot going as well to keep the defense honest. Lee has to crash the boards and take it to the hop on the other end. Apart from Durant, the Warriors do not possess a real shot blocker on their roster.
LaMarcus Aldridge has to be the MVP for the Spurs tonight. He will get plenty of touches tonight with both Parker and Leonard out. Shooting a high percentage and taking it to the basket on every possession should be on Aldridge’s mind all game. Draymond Green is a great defender, but he has been known to get in foul trouble quite often which is why Aldridge needs to get into his head early. Aldridge has the ability to post up, shoot or take it to the hop. He will need to mix in a bit of everything tonight to be successful. It is very important that he does not fall in love with the jumper.
I do not give the Spurs a high chance of winning tonight, but with the way this team battles when they are down, you just never know. If Spurs can knock down 15-20 threes and keep the turnovers down, this could become a very interesting game when the 4th quarter rolls around. Spurs need to avoid foul trouble. The team is shorthanded as it is. In the end, I feel that the Warriors will take game 2 by 15 or more points.
Ogi is a graduate of Humber College’s Sport Management program. He is the founder of Blago Blogger Sports.