I am not one given to hyperbolic over-exaggeration. EVER! I NEVER EVER DO THAT!!
But I didn't see how the Spurs were going to win this series going in, and after two games, I am obviously even more confident.
Tim Duncan had two very good games already and is going to start wearing down as the series progresses. Historically, he's had off nights and bounced back, but this year -- down 0-2 and playing every other day -- I just don't see how he can string together 4 more solid outings and without him, the Spurs can't win.
Nash is averaging 33 minutes in 8 playoff games. Tim Duncan, 37 per. Duncan has already played 29 more total playoff minutes this year than Nash and that gap grows each game.
The Suns won Game 6 in Portland with Nash having a horrible game. Duncan had a bad game against the Mavs and the Spurs won by holding the Mavs to 89 points (41% shooting) and it still took 29 points from George Hill.
George Hill shot 9 for 11 from beyond 16 feet in that game and only had 5 attempts in 45 minutes inside that range. What are the chances he can get that hot again from range? About the same chance that Goran Dragic will have a 30-point game in this series.
Nash is able to play off the ball in big stretches of the games because Grant Hill and Richardson can take over some of the play-making and the Suns are much more able and willing to isolate some of their guys.
Tony Parker had two fantastic shooting nights in Games 1 and 2. Odds are that won't continue for four more games.
The only guy on the Spurs bench that could possibly get hot and drop 15 points is Bonner, but since he hurt his hand, he's been a consistently bad shooter and when he can't knock down a shot he brings little else.
Ditto Roger Mason, who is playing with a broken finger
Amare has yet to have an explosive game, in part because the Spurs are collapsing more than they historically have and the Suns have made them pay from the three point line. If Pop adjusts to cover the arc more, Amare will have even more freedom.
Regardless of what the Spurs do, Amare's missed a lot of shots he can make and the Suns still haven't fully exploited his match-up advantages in isolation. In the meantime, Amare's defense has been solid and he's got three more rebounds in this series than Tim Duncan. Think about that.
Speaking of rebounding, the Spurs could try hard to grab some offensive boards but they will be exposing themselves to the Suns' transition attack, and that would more than make up for a few more second chance points.
On the defensive glass, they simply don't have the players at the wing positions to rebound with the Suns and that will continue to be the difference.
LB and Dragic haven't delivered yet in this series, but there's no reason to think they won't find a way at some point to get it done, whereaas Keith Bogans and Garrett Temple can't and won't. In fact, all LB and Dragic really need to do is combine to score more points than George Hill. I like them odds.
At some point Robin will come back and eat up the 10 minutes that Jarron Collins is playing. That's got to be an improvement.
The Spurs have not shown they can stop the Suns. In Game 2, the Suns got open looks and missed them (early) but stayed in the game with hustle until the offense arrived. From that point on, the Suns shot over 50% in the second half. Only the Suns can slow themselves.
The Suns shoot exactly the same percentage from three on the road as at home. Jared Dudley hit 51% of his road threes compared to 41% at home. Frye was 40% on the road, 47% at home. Dragic 39% road and home. Richardson 40% home, 30% road. Do we even need to look up Nash? (42% home, 43% road).
The Spurs three most potent perimeter offensive weapons are Parker, Ginobili and Jefferson. To be effective, they all need touches so there's really no way for all three to have good games at the same time. In fact, I would challenge Spurs fans to find me 5 games this season where all three of those guys played well at the same time.
The Suns shot well in Game 1, but that was mostly Nash's brilliance. The rest of the guys struggled and the Suns fouled too much and still won.
The Spurs shot well in Game 2, but fouled too much and lost due to a huge rebounding deficit.
The Spurs Big Three are still amazing, but their supporting cast is no longer tough, savvy vets that will step up in big moments.
With the Spurs' small line-up, they are forced to use plays right into the Suns' hands. That was evident in Game 2 when Pop tried to hide Duncan by having him cover Grant Hill in the fourth quarter. That didn't work so well.
The Suns are +21 in rebounding after two games.
The Spurs have to win four out of the next five games against the Suns.
If the Suns don't win this series in five games, it will be a disappointment. Six or seven games at this point based on what we've seen so far would be frustrating. If the Spurs somehow manage to come back and win this series...I have no idea how to describe that level of catastrophic disgust.
I wouldn't ever expect the Spurs to give up and that actually works in the Suns' favor. Instead of coming out complacent as a team might do with a 2-0 lead, the Suns KNOW they have to keep the pressure on the Spurs and they are itching to prove the pundits wrong.
I am not sure if it will be Game 3 or 4, but the Suns will have one of those great games where everything goes right and the Spurs will have one of those games where Timmy and Tony are off and the Suns will come home up 3-1.