Here's a look at some under-looked things we'll need to do in Game 6. Obviously, guarding Duncan, not fouling, shooting a good percentage, blah, blah are the "real" keys to the game. These are specifics that would help us accomplish those overarching goals.
- Let Mo Be the Silent Assassin: After Games 1 and 2, one of the Spurs' primary goals was to shut down the hot shooting Peja Stojakovic. Gregg Popovich smartly realized that he wouldn't be giving up much by switching Tony Parker onto CP3, so he moved Bowen onto Predrag. And whamo! Stojakovic's production shot down like a rocket; he averaged just 2.0 three point attempts per game in Games 3, 4, and 5 after averaging 6.8 per during the season. But this strategy lets Mo-Pete creep into the three point game, as he did effectively in the Game 5 win. Look at the season stats: Peterson shot 40% from downtown, just 4% below Peja. He's averaged as many as 5.5 3PA/G in his career. He has the ability to take and make a ton of shots. And with San Antonio continuing to key in on Predrag, Morris Peterson needs to temporarily "be" Peja Stojakovic. Heck, I'll even make a giant Mo head on a stick if necessary.
- Don't Get Down Big: This seems pretty obvious- don't let the other team jump on you quickly and get off to a big lead. But in this series, the relevance of this key is exacerbated for two reasons: the slow pace and the low turnover rates. Simply put, if you get down big, you won't have the necessary possessions to get back in the game. We've seen this happen in every single game so far- one team takes a large lead midway through the third and the other team can't respond. In this series, 15 minutes of time "isn't 15 minutes of team. It's substantially smaller because possessions/minute is so small and the number of extra opportunities off turnovers is virtually nonexistent.
- 3. Make Ginobili Go Right!/(At Least Guard Him...?): I have a strong feeling that Game 6 will see Manu spearhead the Spurs' offense. With the flurry of doubles New Orleans has tossed at Duncan, there's no way Pops lets his season ride on Tony Parker's jumper (I'm assuming we go under screens again). Ginobili has been a turnover machine, and he may flop all over the court, but he's one freakishly talented player. TP has a history of disappearing in the big game (more below) but Ginobili and Duncan have really shone.
Ginobili, like most great NBA'ers, can finish with his off hand, but his left hand is virtually unstoppable when he gets within 5 feet of the hoop. Our closeouts will play a huge role in his performance- if the guys are overzealous and close out too aggressively (see: Bonzi Wells earlier this series), he will go left with ease.