Wayne Vore
@wayneTBF

It’s game one of the playoffs this afternoon (just barely noon) and we have gathered some of the finest Spurs fans to give their two cents on what to expect from our Spurs against the Jazz. It’s the same group we had for our playoff preview which you should definitely check out.

Q1: What area of the game do you think will be a bellwether for this series?

Wayne Vore
@WayneTBF
3-pt shooting. If we shoot well from distance, we’ll clobber them in this series. If we don’t shoot well and they do, then this series will go longer than it should.
Bart Herridge
@BartTBF
Rebounding, although it’s tempting to say 3-pt %, since the Jazz don’t defend treys all that well. But if the Spurs can control the defensive boards and limit 2nd chance points, they should win this series handily.
Eric Blase
@BlaseEW
Rebounding. We can’t let Jefferson and Millsap get offensive rebounds and extra possessions. I’m confident we can outshoot them.
Tim Varner
@Varner48MoH
Turnovers. The Spurs’ only real weakness, to my mind, is that their two backup point guards are not point guards. Every team in the playoffs will pressure and trap Neal and Mills as they bring the ball up the court. I think this will have the effect of increasing Tony Parker’s minutes and using Ginobili to advance the ball. But if Utah does this well, they could create points for themselves and interrupt the Spurs’ offensive rhythm.
Tim C
@TimC_PtR
I’ll go with FTA’s. Utah is, of course, a team that fouls a lot. But the Spurs tend to get sucked into it and commit a lot of fouls as well against these guys. If they can avoid that, they should have a huge advantage from the stripe.
Mark V
@sbdavis_PtR
The ability to generate open looks. In the playoffs where the games slow down and defenses hustle and rotate better to contest shooters, open looks will be tough to come by. I’m not sure if the Spurs can get the same wide open shots they consistently generated during the regular season, so it’ll be interesting if they can keep that up.
Ana
@ABLeyton
Jeff
@saspursdynasty
With the Jazz in particular, I would look at rebounding (particularly defensive rebounding percentage, meaning that we’re holding them to just one shot attempt per possession) and FTA. As has been the case for many years, the Spurs typically foul less than any other NBA team, and the Jazz tend to foul the most (a trend carried over from Sloan to Corbin, it seems). I expect this trend to continue, and I expect the Spurs to get a significant edge in FT points.
Dan
@saspursdynasty
Rebounding. If the Spurs outrebound the Jazz, they win. If the Jazz outperform the Spurs on the glass, they have a chance, but won’t necessarily win.

Q2: Who are your starting five for the Spurs? Will it change during the series?

Wayne Vore
@WayneTBF
Tony, Danny, Kawhi, Tim, and Diaw. Boris was awesome in those two games against the Jazz in April. He gave Millsap all kinds of problems. He denied the post, forced him into tough jumpers, and kept him off the glass. Neutralizing Millsap is huge.
Bart Herridge
@BartTBF
I think Pop “dances with who brung him”: Parker, Green, Leonard, Duncan, Blair. Blair’s 6-minute stint in the 1st quarter may be his longest stretch of the game, though.
Eric Blase
@BlaseEW
Duncan, Parker, Kawhi, Green, and Diaw in order of confidence they will start game 1. No.
Tim Varner
@Varner48MoH
The Spurs will start Parker, Green, Leonard, Duncan, and Splitter. I don’t think it will change. Bonner is the first big off the bench.
Tim C
@TimC_PtR
Tony, Danny, Kawhi, Boris, and Timmy. That unit can defend, as well as give Tony his most effective offensive help(shooters plus Timmy for the PnR). If Kawhi starts having problems, Jack or Manu might get moved into the starting lineup to help out.
Mark V
@sbdavis_PtR
I expect Pop to pull out the same Parker-Green-Leonard-Blair-Duncan group, because I feel he’s not as threatened with the Jazz bigs as he does vs LA and Memphis. I think though that Boris Diaw instead of Blair will allow the team to get off a fast start.
Ana
@ABLeyton
Jeff
@saspursdynasty
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it…yet. (Well, maybe there is one fix.) Our championship runs always seem to coincide with Ginobili on the bench, and I think he still holds the bench together, despite he overwhelming talent we have coming off of it. Parker, Green, Leonard, Duncan, Diaw. I really like what I’ve seen from Diaw in his brief time on the team and his even briefer time in the starting line-up. He gives us a bit more size and defense than we get from Blair, without sacrificing any offense. (Hell, he might even give us better offense). I’ve alway thought of Blair as an energy rebounder/garbage man off the bench, and I think that’s where he ends up these playoffs.
Dan
@saspursdynasty
Tim, Tony, Kawhi, Danny and Boris. That could change if Kawhi or Danny don’t rise to the challenge of playing in the playoff spotlight.

Q3: The Spurs bench was a huge strength for them in the regular season, how many points per game do you think they will average in this series?

Wayne Vore
@WayneTBF
I’m going with 44. 16 per game from Manu, 6 from Bonner, 6 from Jack, 8 Gary Neal, and 8 from Splitter.
Bart Herridge
@BartTBF
Given that the Spurs have been scoring in the 100s with relative ease, I’m going to say 45.
Eric Blase
@BlaseEW
50-60 points. I think we dominate this matchup and Kawhi and Diaw bring the starters scoring down so I feel my estimate might be a little conservative.
Tim Varner
@Varner48MoH
Right around 45 points per game, if you include Manu with the bench. The Spurs should average somewhere between 100 and 105 points per game.
Tim C
@TimC_PtR
I’ll go with 45. They should still blow the doors off of Utah, but they’ll have less minutes to work with.
Mark V
@sbdavis_PtR
Honestly, I’ll be disappointed if they don’t get somewhere between 40-50 points per game. It could be more, but I’ll keep it conservative.
Ana
@ABLeyton
Jeff
@saspursdynasty
At at least 3 positions, our ‘back-up’ might actually be relied upon more than the starter. Plus, some of our best pure scoring is on the bench. I’d expect the number to be somewhere between 35-50 ppg from the bench.
Dan
@saspursdynasty
40-50 points per game.

Q4: How many minutes per game will Pop play the Big 3?

Wayne Vore
@WayneTBF
Tony will be at 36, Tim at 34, and Manu at 30.
Bart Herridge
@BartTBF
As few as possible. I don’t think he automatically increases the minutes yet just because it’s the playoffs. My bet is Tim is at 28-30, Manu is at 25-28, and Tony is at 32-36.
Eric Blase
@BlaseEW
Again, I think we dominate the Jazz. Duncan 30 mpg, Tony 32 mpg, and Manu 26 mpg max for each player.
Tim Varner
@Varner48MoH
Together or total? I’m not sure, but here’s what’s important: the Big 3 played together this season at historic lows. Parker, Ginobili, and Duncan’s individual and collective minutes will increase this series, and that isn’t good for any of their opponents. I expect the Spurs to decimate the Jazz, and if that happens a fun story line will be whether Popovich seeks to limit their minutes in the first round (yes, I just said that).
Tim C
@TimC_PtR
I’d say around 30 for Timmy and Manu, and 35 for Tony.
Mark V
@sbdavis_PtR
Parker should get a 4-6 minute bump up his playing time, and Manu and Tim somewhere in the region of 3-5 minutes. I’ll be worried if Pop plays them, especially Duncan, 40 minutes, because it’s highly likely it will affect his performance in succeeding games.
Ana
@ABLeyton
Jeff
@saspursdynasty
During the season, Parker and Duncan averaged around 28 and Manu was at 25, I believe. I expect all three to average into the 30s, with the possibility of getting up to the 35-38 minute range if the game needs it.
Dan
@saspursdynasty
I’d say the over/under is 90. I’m hoping the number is closer to 80, though, because the Spurs need to play 20-25 games to win the title and
every additional minute the Big 3 play makes winning it all just a bit more difficult, and injuries more likely.

Q5: Which Jazz player do you fear the most? Which Jazz player has to play out of his mind for them to win?

Wayne Vore
@WayneTBF
Devin Harris. He’s their only perimeter playmaker and if he catches fire from 3-pt then he’s a bear to cover. I don’t think he’ll do it, but if he does it will extend the series.
Bart Herridge
@BartTBF
I’m convinced that Paul Millsap is the key to this series. If he is rebounding like he can and making deep jumpers, matching up with this team is very difficult. If on the other hand, he’s in foul trouble consistently, the Spurs will walk.
Eric Blase
@BlaseEW
It’s Al Jefferson to both. Al Jefferson would have to go to an unbelievable level of paint dominance. Devin Harris slowing Parker down might be an even harder task though…
Tim Varner
@Varner48MoH
I don’t fear any single player, but their recent foray into giant ball (starting Favors, Jefferson, and Millsap together) was a huge win. I’m curious to see how the Spurs fare against that lineup. This gives Duncan and Leonard the most interesting defensive assignments (Favors, Millsap) and at least provides an intriguing story to follow in the first couple of games.
Tim C
@TimC_PtR
The answer is one and the same: Derrick Favors. The kind has some serious skills and serious size. It’s going to be hard for our bench bigs to deal with him, on both ends of the court.
Mark V
@sbdavis_PtR
Paul Millsap. The three-big lineup featuring Jefferson-Favors at 1-2 and Millsap at the 3 has been statistically Utah’s most effective lineup vs SA in the regular season. Millsap has shown he can score in bunches and has a face-up game better than Big Al’s. The diversity of his game will be a challenge.
Ana
@ABLeyton
Jeff
@saspursdynasty
The Jazz player I fear the most is Devin Harris. He has a decent track record against Parker, both offensively and defensively. And in the later games of this season, he showed that when he’s engaged and aggressive, he can profoundly affect the Jazz offense in a good way. If he gets hot, he could swing a game or two. The player that needs to play out of his mind for them to win is Al Jefferson. This is his first playoff appearance, and it will be interesting to see how he responds. He has a varied and refined post game, and if he gets locked in, he can be a nightmare for the Spurs.
Dan
@saspursdynasty
Paul Milsap. Al Jefferson.

Q6: In how many games will the Spurs win the series?

Wayne Vore
@WayneTBF
Spurs in four. I just think we have too much talent and too much experience for them. We also have a lot of depth so if any particular player is off, we have somebody to fill in for him.
Bart Herridge
@BartTBF
I’m calling it a sweep. The smart answer is 5 games and picking Utah to win game 3 in SLC. But I think this team is too focused right now. Also, if it looks like LAC-MEM is going long, there will be more motivation to wrap this up in 4 and have some down time.
Eric Blase
@BlaseEW
Four. We’re on a mission and the Spurs are going to approach these games with the appropriate mindset to control these games. The first round is very favorable rest-wise too so when game2 or 3 gets close, Pop won’t hesitate to let the starters play extra to put it away. Can I use the word dominate again?
Tim Varner
@Varner48MoH
Four.
Tim C
@TimC_PtR
Four. I’m serious, this series should not be contested at all.
Mark V
@sbdavis_PtR
The Jazz never really posed a threat to the Spurs in their regular season matches. I’ll give Utah 1 game at Salt Lake, but the Spurs’ offense and laser-like focus will be too much to handle. Spurs in five.
Ana
@ABLeyton
Jeff
@saspursdynasty
Spurs are too hungry, remember last year too well, and are too locked-in: Spurs in 5.
Dan
@saspursdynasty
The Jazz will win one at home, so Spurs in five.

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