Game 1: The Blake-ening

Aron Baynes was immortalized yesterday. He took three(!) Blake Griffin Specials to the face that summed the Spurs performance in game one: Right place, bad execution.

The thing about getting yammed on is that it can really destroy your YouTube legacy. Jaren Jackson, he of the legendary ‘99 Spurs, is most prominently remembered for getting dunked on by Kobe on Christmas Day 1999. There’s also a high-ranking video of Spreewell doing the same.

Now, JJ wasn’t the best Spur ever, but he was one of the first 3-and-D guys we had out there. He played his role well and helped close out the Great Western Forum in the Lakers series.

Such will be Aron Baynes’ fate, which is sad because he played a good basketball game. He defended all three Griffin dunks with the same verve, and that’s to be commended. He’s not Tiago Splitter, whose absence1 was notable. The biggest problem on the front line was Bobo’s poor play. He tossed up that ugly airball from a wide-ass open three that really encapsualted the shooting woes. Those are the shots you want, right?

Well, sort of. The ones we want are in rhythm, off three or four passes and we weren’t getting those. One of the major tributaries of assists is the drive and kick. In theory, the defense collapses on the driver (TP, Manu, usually) and then the ball pings around the perimeter before finding an open shooter. This is by no means the only way the Spurs play, but it is a major one. Without Tony Parker playng at 29-year-old TP levels, there really is no one who can attack the formidable Clipper front line with any success. Boris Diaw did a great job last year against the Thunder, who have a similarly over-talented defender.

Yes, Deandre Jordan is defending the basket like Serge Ibaka 2. The Spurs looked uncomfortable inside, breaking off drives that they would normally (attempt to) finish at the rim and instead opting to dribble out or pass. That kind of thing messes with your rhythm and contributes to 37% shooting nights.

I don’t buy the thinking that the Spurs will magically shoot better on Wednesday. It won’t happen without a little aggressiveness, and aggressive success in getting buckets inside.

Speaking of attacking basketball, much has been made of Chris Paul’s “masterful” performance. He was great but particularly so in mixing attacks at the rim with passes to shooters, and pull up jumpers. He’s fun to watch when he’s not attacking your team. Or punching them in the balls.

Here’s hoping:

  • Boris can stretch the floor enough to get Deandre Jordan outside of Block Shit Into Stands territory.
  • Matt Bonner time? Nah. The Spurs are at a disadvantage athletically, so putting yet another guy who will get jumped over is risky. He has shooting skills, however, and right now no one else can buy a basket.
  • We might need to use our once-per-series Manu game on Wednesday. Something like 26 points, 3/7 from three, 5 assists type of game.

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1. I know he played, but did he really? [↩](#fnref:p116922206952-1)

2. Blake, too [↩](#fnref:p116922206952-2)