The pre-series chatter on the Spurs-Rockets is pretty reductive: the Spurs will try to control the pace while the Rockets will try to run and shoot San Antonio out of the gym. Running in the Rockets world depends on two things — getting possession of the ball and strong guard play to move it upcourt. James Harden is a master of the latter and tenacious guard (and self-proclaimed best defender in the NBA) Patrick Beverley is too. Beverley gave Russell Westbrook problems on defense and gave the Thunder in general problems on offense in the Rockets’ first round series victory.
Against San Antonio Beverley will likely guard Spurs veteran Tony Parker, who upped his game big time against the Grizzlies averaging 16.3 ppg after a season that saw him netting just 10.1 ppg. But it’s not how much trouble Beverly will give Parker as Parker tries to orchestrate the Spurs half court offense that might keep Gregg Popovich and Parker up at night. It’s how Parker is going to handle Beverley at the other end. Beverley averaged 11.6 ppg against the Thunder while guarding Westbrook. How Parker fares in this matchup will be critical to the Spurs’ success.