I have always found Game 2 of any basketball series interesting because of the adjustments made following the beginning of a series. It will be fun to watch the game tonight and see the new game plans for Los Angeles and Minnesota in this pivotal matchup.
Things to watch for:
Offensively: The Sparks were effective in Game 1 handling Minnesota’s man-to-man pressure defense with numerous back-door cuts for easy shots. They also were able to get themselves to the foul line including 15 foul shots between Toliver and Gray from the point guard position. Can they continue to get to the foul line and execute backdoor opportunities in Game 2? If not, they will need to be more productive from the 3-point line which will help loosen things up for Nneka Ogwumike inside.
Defensively: The Sparks did a great job limiting transition points by Minnesota in Game 1. They also forced 15 turnovers and had numerous deflections throughout the game. They frustrated Minnesota’s dangerous bench and held them to 4-of-12 shooting. Will they continue to trap certain guards off of ball screens in Game 2? Can they keep Minnesota out of transition and off the offensive boards as they did in Game 1?
Offensively: The starters shot nearly 57% from the floor, but it took a while to get Maya Moore into the offensive flow. Can they be more effective in transition and limit their turnovers in Game 2? What is the adjustment to LA’s trapping ball screen defense? Will their talented second unit bounce back from a disappointing offensive night?
Defensively: Minnesota normally wears opponents down with their pressure defense, but LA thrived in Game 1 with backdoors and trips to the foul line. Can the Lynx defense be more disruptive without fouling and giving up easy shots? The second unit is smaller…can they defend Gray and other guards when LA starts posting up Minnesota’s back-up guards? Will they be able to turn LA into a jump shooting team?
My last thoughts heading into tonight:
LA has to be careful to not be satisfied with a split in Minnesota. They will have to grind and play just as hard to come away with another road victory.
Minnesota has be careful to not put too much pressure on themselves. Control their emotions and energy early in the game. Stay in the moment and do the little things that got them the number one seed.
I hope everyone enjoys Game 2 of this great finals match-up.