NBA Roundtable

Playoff Previews: Phoenix vs San Antonio

In 2010 NBA Playoffs on May 1, 2010 at 1:41 pm

Main Lineups

Starting Lineup

  • C — Jarron Collins vs Tim Duncan
  • PF — Amare Stoudemire vs Antonio McDyess
  • SF — Grant Hill vs Richard Jefferson
  • SG — Jason Richardson vs Manu Ginobili
  • PG — Steve Nash vs George Hill

When Frye checks in

  • C — Amare Stoudemire vs Tim Duncan
  • PF — Channing Frye vs Antonio McDyess
  • SF — Grant Hill vs Richard Jefferson
  • SG — Jason Richardson vs Manu Ginobili
  • PG — Steve Nash vs George Hill

Tony Parker checks in

  • C — Amare Stoudemire vs Tim Duncan
  • PF — Channing Frye vs Antonio McDyess or Richard Jefferson
  • SF — Grant Hill vs Manu Ginobili
  • SG — Jason Richardson vs George Hill
  • PG — Steve Nash vs Tony Parker

Other Notes

  • Jared Dudley will be Hill’s main backup. He will be very effective against Richard Jefferson or Keith Bogans but lacks the quickness required to stay in front of Manu Ginobili. So, San Antonio have a matchup advantage with Ginobili in the game but at a slight disadvantage otherwise.
  • Leandro Barbosa will be Richardson’s key backup. He provides streaky shooting + scoring ability. Playing Barbosa makes it easier for San Antonio to play George Hill at the two guard position alongside Tony Parker. This is good for San Antonio.
  • Goran Dragic will have to defend Tony Parker with Parker in his new 6th man role
  • Louis Amundson will be needed to counteract DeJuan Blair’s interior toughness and rebounding ability. Ordinarily, Blair is too effective for Amundson to nullify him … but Amundson is better in transition, so if Phoenix can get their running game going, Amundson will get or help to create enough easy baskets to play Blair to a standstill.
  • I absolutely despise Popovich playing Richard Jefferson at power forward … but not in this series … Frye is not good enough to punish Jefferson defensively with his superior size or on the backboards due to his sub-par rebounding. Jefferson is an effective matchup vs Frye at power forward.
  • Bonner is also an interesting matchup against Frye. It gives San Antonio no advantage but it creates the same dynamic as Frye gives the Suns.
  • San Antonio will want to keep McDyess on Amare as much as possible when Collins in the game … to keep Duncan fresh offensively + for when he has to guard the younger more athletic Amare Stoudemire later in the contest.

Pick and Roll Defense

Phoenix are a poor defensive team, the worst in the playoffs. They do not defend the pick and roll, not at the point of attack or with help defense (far worse at) which means San Antonio’s guards (Ginobili, Parker, Hill) will be able to get into the paint at will and create a huge amount of damage once they get there due to Phoenix’s inadequate interior defense.

Which in turn means that San Antonio’s best perimeter scorers will all be very effective offensively (both as scorers + playmakers) against the Suns defense … which means San Antonio’s offense will be very effective against the Suns.

Duncan vs Amare

This matchup should be fairly even given Timmy’s decline.

Amare cannot defend Duncan in the post and Duncan cannot defend Amare in pick and rolls. That said, I think Duncan can do a slightly better job against Amare’s face up game than Amare can do against Duncan’s low post game.

Tim Duncan will have a difficult time providing help defense when matched up against Amare and Frye due to Phoenix’s spacing + Duncan’s declining athleticism. Only when Amare is directly beside the rim will Duncan be able to have a big impact with his team defense.

Steve Nash + Phoenix’s Offense

The Suns have an excellent offense and they should be very effective against the Spurs because of San Antonio’s lack of athleticism + mobility amongst their big men. This means that Phoenix will be able to get a lot of dribble penetration (especially in pick and rolls) and will be able to do a lot of damage once they get there.


The difference between the two sides is that San Antonio simply has more weapons whereas Phoenix are overly reliant on Nash. The Spurs have more players that they can turn to create shots for themselves or others. That offensive versatility will win San Antonio the series.

I think the Spurs win this series in five or six, probably six, games.

  1. Thanks for details between these two match up.

    Surely a lot of emotions and sparks will fly during this series. I’m sure, when talk about motivation, the Suns will be eager to put their jinx against the Spurs once and for all behind them.

    I still remember the 2008 series how intense it was. Everyone was raving about the Suns will finally get one over them but it was all over in five games, as a result Mike D’Antoni resigning from his job as head coach.

    But somehow rather, Spurs just know how to win!

  2. An update on Robin Lopez’ injury

    Meanwhile, center Robin Lopez has increased his participation in practice as he works his way back from a back injury (bulging disk). Gentry said he is not going to put any pressure on the 7-footer to return.

    “It’s going to be totally up to him,” Gentry said. “If he feels great and he’s ready to go that will be fine. If he’s not, we’re not putting him out there. I can tell you that right now.”

    Lopez said he’s optimistic he could play at some point in the series, where his size would be an obvious help against Tim Duncan.

    “It’s up to the leg, it’s up to the nerve,” Lopez said.

    He’s not ready to play yet, though.

    “If I played today,” Lopez joked, “I think Duncan might get that quadruple double he was aiming for a few years’ back.”

    That would be good news for the Suns (upgrade over Collins) but it won’t be enough to change the outcome of the series.

  3. It is now the forth game and the verdict is in question,
    I thought it would be a close series, and it may still be one. But it has proven so far that the Suns have more wepons than the Spurs.
    Especially their bench that has been playing trific all season.
    It will be a trific game tonight with the Spurs against the wall.
    Spurs by 4

  4. I am stunned and delighted by the Suns performance.

    They were truly fantastic and good value for their victory over the Spurs.

    Alvin Gentry

    I thought Alvin Gentry had an excellent series. His heavy use of small ball lineups created havoc for the Spurs and he showed great confidence in that Frye + Hill big man combination against Tim Duncan … and then had the Suns go right at Duncan and take advantage of his defensive weaknesses. Beautiful basketball.

    The Suns Bench

    Gentry has done an excellent job all season building that bench. They were the real difference maker between the two sides in the series. The starters played one another to a standstill but the Suns reserves gave them separation.

    Other Thoughts

    Athletic 4 + Backup 3

    The Spurs desperately need to acquire an athletic power forward (like Ty Thomas) to play alongside Tim Duncan. They will remain overly vulnerable against teams like the Suns until they add serious quickness and athleticism to their front line.

    The Spurs also need a true backup small forward or two. You cannot enter the season with only one small forward on your roster (Richard Jefferson — an even he is a below average rebounder).

    The Spurs lost this series because of a poor fitting supporting cast that had serious holes in it … holes which were evident from the start of the season.

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