In the eyes of Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich, he already figured out what his team has to do in Game 2 if San Antonio hopes to beat the Clippers in the best-of-seven Western Conference series that Los Angeles leads 1-0.
“We have to shoot free throws better,” Popovich said after his team shot 53.8% (14-for-26) from the free-throw line.
“We have to shoot from three better,” he said after his team shot 30.3% (10-for-33) from three-point range.
“We can’t turn it over as much,” he said after his team turned the ball over 15 times.
“We have to get back in transition better,” Popovich said after the Clippers scored 23 fast-break points.
“Does that help?” Popovich asked sarcastically.
Well, he could have added shoot better from the field after the Spurs made just 36.6% of their shots.
But it probably would also help if the Spurs could find a way to get point guard Tony Parker free from the Clippers’ stingy defense.
All season long, the Clippers have “blitzed” or “hedged” hard on the top point guards in the NBA, meaning they trap the point guard and force him to give up the basketball.
When the Clipper made Parker give up the ball, it meant he didn’t get into the lane for his own shot or create for his teammates.
Parker finished with 10 points and just one assist.
The Spurs had 25 assists as a team, but it’s not good when the quarterback, Parker, has so few.
The Clippers, on the other hand, really can’t afford to play all five reserves at the same time when they meet the Spurs on Wednesday night at Staples Center.
There was a stretch in the second quarter when Clippers Coach Doc Rivers had subs Hedo Turkoglu, Austin Rivers, Jamal Crawford, Glen Davis and Spencer Hawes all in the game to start the second quarter.
It didn’t work.
That group let a 12-point lead slip away, putting the Clippers in a two-point hole at one juncture in the second.
Rivers probably will be better suited leaving at least one of his starters in the game with his reserves.