After a 27 point home loss in game one to the Houston Rockets, the Spurs came out Wednesday night and managed to even the series at 1-1 with a 25 point win. Back to square one for all the Spurs fans and others out there who overreacted to game one, right? Not so fast. One thing went down in game two that could change the way we look at this series.
Midway through the 4th quarter, Tony Parker went up for a floater and came down clutching his left knee and leg with what is now being classified as a torn quadriceps tendon. Word has broken that Parker will have to undergo season-ending surgery. So what exactly does this mean for the San Antonio Spurs and what does it mean for this series overall?
Parker is now 34 years old. He may not be the same player he was back in 06-07 when he won finals MVP but he is still extremely important to this Spurs team. Although he only averaged 10 points a game in the regular season, he was averaging 16 a game in this postseason. Maybe more important than his scoring output or his assist numbers is his experience and leadership when it comes to postseason play. Parker is basically an extension of Gregg Popovich on the floor. Parker is the floor general for the Spurs, running the offense the way it needs to run to get the ball to Kawhi or Lamarcus Aldridge when needed. There is no doubt that the four time NBA champion is a key piece on this Spurs team.
What comes next for the Spurs without Parker and how far can this team go without its point guard and main ball-handler? We will more than likely see Patty Mills step into the starting role for the rest of the Playoffs. We could also expect to see the ball in the hands of Kawhi Leonard even more, plus the Spurs will now need more from Lamarcus Aldridge who went two for seven in game one with only four points and posted a +/- of -36.
Game one in this current series could be seen as some sort of anomaly considering the Rockets hit 22 three pointers. That will not happen every game – we saw that last night. The Spurs are more talented than Houston, and if Kawhi can shut down Harden even remotely close to the way he did last night, the Spurs should still advance to the conference finals even without Parker. Although, if they meet up with the Warriors as expected, they could be done right there. Without Parker, the Spurs would need a down right ridiculous performance from Kawhi to get past the Warriors. But in a seven game series, anything could happen.
It is unfortunate to see such a great point guard have his postseason cut short due to injury. Prayers up for Tony Parker and a fast and easy recovery. The Spurs just simply do not seem like the Spurs without Parker on the floor.