How Dangerous Are the Spurs?
The San Antonio Spurs are currently up 2-0 against the Memphis Grizzlies, while Game 3 is tonight. The Spurs have looked impressive so far as they have won each game convincingly (both by double digits). Many expected the Spurs to beat the Grizzlies, but many did not expect them to do it in this fashion.
The Spurs are considered the second best team out west, but many feel that they don’t even have a real shot at knocking off the Golden State Warriors. The Spurs, however, are changing people’s minds a bit as their dominance has definitely put everyone on notice. It’s not that they are winning, but it’s how they are winning. Let me explain.
The Spurs are aggressive
During the regular season, the Spurs got to the free throw line moderately. They shot about 22 free throws per game, but shot about 24 three pointers per game (according to basketball reference). They are more of a jump shooting team, but they have been very physical and aggressive against the Grizzlies. In Game 1, the Spurs shot 25 free throws which is right around their average, but in Game 2 they shot 32 free throws.
Kawhi Leonard (who I will get into in a minute) shot 19 free throws, four more than the Grizzlies (which led to arguably the greatest rant of all-time by the Grizzlies head coach). The Spurs are playing physical and with more aggression. If they keep this up they can change a lot people’s minds, because physicality is one of Golden State’s weaknesses. An aggressive Spurs team can go all the way, especially if this Kawhi continues to play at this level.
Kawhi Leonard is balling
Speaking of Kawhi, the man is having a great playoffs so far. I am about to run off some stats to you and keep in mind that even though Tony Allen is injured, the Grizzlies are still a good defensive team. In Game 1, Kawhi Leonard scored 32 points on 11 for 14 shooting, which is 78.6 percent. In Game 2, he scored 37 points on 9 for 14 shooting, which is 64.3 percent. So in both games combined Leonard has only missed eight shots and is shooting over 70 percent from the field.
Now as the Spurs advance, Leonard will play against better wing defenders, but his aggressiveness and efficiency cannot be ignored. This is probably the best he’s ever been and he will definitely be a problem for any team the Spurs face. Many people consider Kawhi to be a system player, but he’s definitely turning people’s head as he is turning into an elite player. Kawhi Leonard is a problem and will go the Spurs will go as far as he takes them.
Now this may not be the strongest example due to the Grizzlies not being a high scoring team, but their defense is noteworthy nonetheless. They held the Grizzlies to 39 percent shooting in Game 1 and 37 percent in Game 2 with the Grizzlies scoring 82 points in both games. The Spurs are one of the better defensive teams and if they can keep up the defensive intensity as the playoffs go along; they may very well head to the NBA Finals.
If the Spurs maintain their defense, play aggressive and Kawhi Leonard continues to have efficient high scoring games, the Spurs will be the favorites to win it all.
Game 3 is tonight and I, for one, is interested in seeing if the Spurs can continue their dominance on the road.