“LeBron is not just us stopping him. He’s kind of stopped himself out there and we’re getting a little lucky.”
– Danny Green
Through 3 games of the NBA Finals it looks like the Spurs have once again (2007 NBA Finals) taken a page out of Chuck Dalys Jordan Rules defensive playbook in playing arguably one of the greatest basketball players towards his tendencies not necessarily his statistics. The Mavericks did the same exact thing in the 2011 NBA Finals knowing that LeBron preferred to do things the “Pat Riley Way” which according to Marc Cuban “Is the same thing everytime” which means very little adjustments offensively.
One common theme I hear whenever a player doesn’t play well is that they are nervous or lacks heart/confidence and therefore no credit is due to the opposing team. Well folks now we’re hearing this shit again as was the case in the 2011 NBA Finals. The Mavericks defended LeBron James the same way the Spurs are. Playing to his tendencies instead of playing it based on statistics run counter intuitive to modern NBA wisdom. For the 2012-13 season he was regarded as a great shooter from 10-15 foot range. However the Spurs have devised a plan that forces James to be more hesitant than normal effectively increasing his decision making ten fold. The Spurs know that he’s a distributor first and foremost so by clogging the lanes and triple teaming every drive its become difficult for him and have thus taken away James’ strength and advantage. But that in no way excuses his poor shooting. What I would like to see is a more traditional offense such as the Triangle or simply anything Popovich uses which utilizes ball movement and puts the player in the best position to be successful rather than around the world all movement and isolation. Of course the Riley way worked last year against the Thunder but their scheme against LeBron was terrible basically non-existent. The Thunder beat the Spurs last year so it would seem that the Heat would beat the Spurs this year but I guess Ant’s Law of Transitivity is once again flawed.
Truthfully the Spurs have outplayed the Heat in all 3 games. If it wasn’t for that third quarter substitution made by Pop taking out Danny
Bird Miller Kerr Green the Spurs would be up 3-0. The Heat have a 30% chance of winning. The Spurs have called check in 2 games but can James and the Heat counter?