Originally written on Project Spurs  |  Last updated 4/24/13

FOR SPORTS - Spurs' Tony Parker walks off the court after the Western Conference Playoffs First Round Game 1 against the Mavericks Saturday April 18, 2009 at the AT&T Center. The Mavericks won 105-97 Photo via Newscom

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The matchup of the game for Game 2 will be between San Antonio Spurs' Tony Parker and Los Angeles Lakers' Steve Blake. Tony Parker ended Game 1 with 18 points, but it wasn't a vintage Parker-like performance. He looked a step slow and still may be bothered by the ankle injury he suffered weeks ago and Steve Blake took full advantage of that. Parker shot 8-21 from the field that game and was constantly hounded by Blake on the defensive end. Tony's drives were slow and predictable with him showing the ball and getting it knocked away or stolen by Blake. Even Parker's decision making was off in Game 1 and an example of that was Blake coming from behind and blocking a shot with Parker not checking if there was defensive help coming. While Parker was off last game, this matchup will likely decide which team will win. If Blake can hold Parker to a bad shooting night again, the Spurs may be in for a long series since we may not see vintage performances from his other Big 2 partners in Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan. What Parker must do on offense: Tony Parker couldn't shake off Steve Blake easily. While his ankle still may pose a problem for him, we need to remember something that's often forgotten about Steve Blake. He's not much of an offensive player, especially in this new "inside-out" scheme the Lakers are playing in the offensive end. Blake gets to rest a bit on offense when he's becoming a spot up shooter, the exact opposite of Parker. With Parker controlling the offense, he has to get a step in front of Blake somehow and that will also move around the Lakers defense in the process. Parker tried to get back door screens to get free, but the ball wouldn't come to him in time. Tony should call on a double screen in times to get the Lakers' defense scrambling and confused, especially when Manu Ginobili or Kawhi Leonard are passing the ball since they're versatile on the offensive end. Parker will have to get open on his sweet spot around the mid range area to get good looks. It will also help Parker if he tries to get a screen set from his shooting guard, who Steve Nash will likely be guarding. A Parker-Nash switch or anyone but Steve Blake would be a matchup in San Antonio's favor because of the new found confidence Blake has on the defensive end against Parker. What Parker must do on defense: With the Lakers going in the post as their primary way of scoring, Blake will likely be around the 3-point line waiting for a pass from Dwight Howard. Parker is used to guarding someone active off the ball, so this may take patience from Parker to stand around with a shooter. If Blake gets the ball, Parker has to make sure he shoots mid range jumpers. The Spurs can get away with far two point shots, but can do away with 3-point shots and with drives that will cause the San Antonio Spurs to help. If the Spurs help out on Blake, that'll likely leave Dwight Howard open in the paint for a pass or alley oop opportunity. Parker must be aggressive when the team is rebounding on the defensive side. When Parker is on the 3-point line, it'll be easier for him to sprint to his side of the court in transition with the Spurs having big men who can outlet the ball.
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