PLAYBOOK – One play without Parker or Duncan shows how tough Spurs are to defend

One play sums up how difficult it is to guard the San Antonio Spurs. The most remarkable part of this play is Tony Parker and Tim Duncan aren’t on the floor.

Coach of the Year Greg Popovich is a stickler for spacing and you will see the impact it has on this play.

On the floor for the Spurs are Neal, Ginobili, Leonard, Bonner and Splitter.

The Jazz stop the initial play and with :14 on the shot clock Manu comes to get the ball and starts a new set with a high pick and roll working left to right with Splitter.

The Jazz guard it perfectly. Hayward gets over the pick and Kanter reads that and returns to Splitter. Notice how the floor spacing leaves the entire middle wide open if Manu had been able to split the pick or get to the middle.

Now Manu calmly reverses and Splitter re-sets the pick and going right to left. The floor spacing by the Spurs is still perfect.

Again the Jazz defend this very well with Kanter shading and Hayward staying tethered to his man. Splitter dives down the middle bringing Tinsley a step toward the middle and Favors now shades toward the middle anticipating the pass to Splitter.

Amazingly, Manu throws the pass to Neal, because he knows exactly where he will be. Tinsley closes out. Check out Favors he is now guarding both Splitter in the post and Bonner in the left corner for a three. Kanter has started to work his way back. Kanter may have hesitated for a split second and the Spurs will get that everytime.

Neal penetrates after Tinsley closes out. Tinsley ran him off the three point line as you would hope. Kanter on his way back helps cut off the penetration. Check out Favors again, he has started to head over to Bonner having been burned by the three earlier in the game. Not sure but maybe Carroll could go to Bonner but that leaves a wide open three for Leonard. Think about this, I am not sure anyone has made a mistake at this point and the Jazz are dead with Neal in the paint, Splitter at the rim and two three pointers waiting for open looks.

Neal gives it to Splitter and you know what happens next. Slam Dunk. Where was the mistake? Or is this why coaches say if we execute we will be ok.