Although I was quite frustrated with the loss, it was a pretty good game honestly. We obviously lost some momentum when Xavier went out, but that was more due to Coach Pop having an extended time for drawing out a play and combating the 15 point deficit than Xavier himself. The Spurs are a resilient team that most often come back when they're down.
Some things to note:
1) Team defense: It's been looking pretty good, at least when we play at home. Although the Spurs did have an off night, the Lakers did too, so you can't give the Spurs much leverage on that. Individually, Farmar, Johnson, Xavier, Williams and Hill have been decent defenders and are probably our best defensive lineup.
2) Free throw shooting: We missed some crucial free throws that would have provided enough momentum to close out the game. Xavier missed two that would have given us a two point lead that we could expand on. Hill missed one in the fourth. Gasol missed one that would have tied it up, and after that the Spurs went on a run and never looked back.
3) Give Hill more minutes: Everyone noticed how we got back into the game once Hill was in. His proclivity to grab those offensive rebounds is priceless. I wish Dantoni would have played him distributed minutes throughout, especially when the Spurs were slowly erasing our 15 point lead.
4) Gasol's midrange: Normally I'd say get his ass in the post, but Gasol looked better shooting the midrange shots. I think part of the reason Gasol didn't play much in the post is since Tiago is a great one-on-one defender in the post. Regardless, Gasol needs to be more assertive, especially when he'll be playing Howard. Mix it up to make the offense unpredictable. Sometimes go in the post and score, or position yourself in the post and pass, or hit a midrange shot when open, etc.
5) Nash's health: This is really worrying me. Nash refrained from basketball activities during the Summer to give his aging body more rest. He said he was feeling 100% healthy. Then two games or so into the preseason, he keeps getting all kinds of injuries. Ankle, neck, etc.
He wasn't finding his shot in the preseason and has looked even worse in the season. He was 1-8 yesterday when most of those shots were open jumpers and layups. I'll give him more time before I judge, but all these injuries and offensive setbacks when you rested during the Summer, the 4th quarter of Game 1, and the entire Game 2...I don't know, guys.
At this point, I'm just hoping we get the Nash of last year minus the ankle and hamstring issues.