Last Updated: 2017-05-19
With Kawhi Leonard’s status up in the air for Game 3, the San Antonio Spurs have a decision to make. Do they limit the 3-point shot from their repertoire? Or, do they emphasize more 3-point shooting in the coming days? The plan may depend on LaMarcus Aldridge’s performance from the opening tip.
The Spurs shot 33 percent from 3-point range during their first two contests. Currently, they are 15-of-45 from long range. Moreover, the Golden State Warriors are 29-of-67 from downtown. Meaning, the 22 shot difference may grow exponentially if the Spurs focus on interior play.
As you can see, they aren’t relying on the 3-ball, however, they haven’t taken advantage of opportunities either. Furthermore, the Spurs have been let down by their most important shooters. It is one reason why the Spurs are curtailing their attempts from long range.
The Spurs are on pace to shoot 135 3-pointers in six games. They shot 156 3-pointers against the Houston Rockets. However, the Spurs only converted 32 percent of their threes in the second round. Either way, the Spurs don’t seem like a team capable of approaching 40 percent from beyond the arc. That is, unless they certain players carry them.
Patty Mills has struggled with his release and rotation as the starting point guard. He is connecting on 1-of-10 from beyond the arc. Meanwhile, Stephen Curry has already made 13 3-pointers in the series. Therefore, the Golden State Warriors already have a 36-point advantage from the 3-point line. As a result of Mills’ poor shooting, the Spurs’ offense was unable to find a rhythm over the last five quarters.
In addition, Mills is only averaging five points per game. The Spurs hope the struggles cease on their home court. Overall, Mills is shooting 3-of-14 from the field. Keep in mind, Mills averaged 17 points per game in his first two playoff starts. He also shot a respectable 7-of-18 in the final two games against the Houston Rockets. If he’s unable to get clean looks, expect Gregg Popovich to alter the starting lineup slightly.
Danny Green is only 3-of-8 from the 3-point range in the two games. Although Green is shooting over 37 percent, the amount of attempts seem to be the issue. He may be due for one of those explosive offensive games. However, Green won’t get the chance with only six shot attempts. So far, he has 12 total shot attempts.
Meanwhile, Dejounte Murray (18) and Kyle Anderson (16) have combined for 34 shot attempts in two games. The two reserve guards have played fairly well. Still, their best attributes don’t involve long range shooting.
The Wild card for the Spurs continues to be Jonathan Simmons. If we are being honest, Simmons was the only Spurs’ player that came ready to compete in Game 2. He replaced Leonard in the starting lineup and flourished while the rest of the team floundered. Currently, Simmons is shooting 46.2 percent from the field, averaging 17 points per game. He also leads the Spurs with four made 3-pointers.
One player that may change the course of the series is Davis Bertans. He made all three of his 3-point attempts late in Game 2. No matter who is in the lineup for San Antonio, Bertans needs to find minutes in Game 3. He presents size and shooting to a team that needs consistency against the Spurs. In fact, Bertans has 13 points in 17 minutes. What will he be able to provide in meaningful minutes?
The Warriors also have to account for Manu Ginobili. He was 3-of-15 against the Rockets from deep. Ginobili is 1-of-4 in the first two games against the Warriors. Although he has not shot well, Ginobili has the ability to make plays around the hoop. That’s why he is 7-of-13 in overall field goal shooting. In addition, the home crowd can elevate a performance.
More than anything else, the Spurs must stop the turnovers. They have 40 assists and 35 turnovers in two games. To compare, the Warriors had 39 assists in Game 2 alone.
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