Series Analysis: San Antonio Spurs (2) vs. Denver Nuggets (7)
Don Casey has nearly 20 years of NBA experience, breaking into the league as a Chicago Bulls assistant coach in 1982. In the late '80s, Casey was the coach of the Los Angeles Clippers for a season and a half. Later, he was the head coach of the New Jersey Nets for a year and a half, including the 1999-2000 season. Casey shares his insights as to what we can expect from the Spurs, what we can expect from the Nuggets and who'll win the series.
By Don Casey (as told to John Hareas)
What to expect from the Spurs
"San Antonio’s defensive concepts are excellent. They rotate when it’s necessary and Parker will defend the ball as strong as anyone so their opponent can’t get into an easy flow. The question is, will they stay with the tempo that they got into the playoffs with? Will the Spurs still push it?
Can San Antonio's defense slow Denver's potent offense?
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"San Antonio has to continue to do more of the same, which is push it well, and get it into the right spots at the right time. Duncan is a key. He’s gotta get his touches and he’s gotta be able to get up and down the floor. They’re still saying that they’re waiting for him to get into his rhythm, but I think the Spurs will go through with their execution.
"Ginobili’s another key on both offense and defense, particularly in getting back to stop the transition offense that Denver can execute. Another question is, how much is Glenn Robinson gonna help? We all know he’s a liability on defense and Pop is very much into defensive schemes, doing little traps on the ball just to change up things and make people rotate out. Robinson has to pick up on that and I don’t think he’ll be ready for it in this series.
"But San Antonio just gets it. Their half-court defense is as strong as anyone’s. They defend the dribble very well, they take care of each other and still get back to their own responsibility. They’re very quiet on the floor. They’re just out there doing their job. A lot of their success hinges on Parker, though. Parker has gotta try to get the easy basket. In the playoffs, the easier the basket, the better. "
What to expect from Denver:
"With Denver, Marcus Camby and Kenyon Martin are legitimate inside players who can cause a lot of problems. They have a very decent bench, as does San Antonio. George Karl has them playing basketball as they should have been playing. They match up well with San Antonio. The seven-game format in the first round will also benefit the Nuggets as a seventh-seed. They’re gonna win a game somewhere and that will give them confidence. "
Casey's series prediction:
"I like San Antonio to win it in a long series."