The Houston Rockets surprised the San Antonio Spurs with a dominating performance Monday night, blowing out San Antonio by 27 points on their home floor. Houston’s offense sparkled In Game 1, as they knocked down 22 three-pointers and moved the ball around for 30 assists. What do the Spurs have to do to prevent being down 0-2?

Smaller lineup for San Antonio

Nothing has been said as of yet, but the Spurs should play a smaller lineup against the run-and-gun Rockets. Houston abused LaMarcus Aldridge by putting him in pick-and-pop situations featuring James Harden and Ryan Anderson.

Aldridge is not accustomed to defending around the perimeter, as he is more comfortable being in the paint.

To keep Aldridge away from the three-point line on defense, the Spurs need to downsize to matchup better. Perhaps inserting Kyle Anderson into the starting lineup would be ideal. Anderson has the versatility and length to cover Ryan Anderson, and the ability to also matchup on Harden if a switch occurs. In this case, Aldridge would play center and stay inside to defend Clint Capela, which may ultimately make the Spurs big man more effective on the offensive end as well because he will conserve his energy.

Kawhi Leonard defending James Harden

The Spurs need to seemingly concentrate more on the defensive end against an explosive offensive team like the Rockets.

In order to contain their offense from the start, they should consider putting Kawhi Leonard on James Harden from the beginning of the contest to disallow Harden from controlling the game with his passing and scoring abilities. It’s all about setting a tone early, and if Leonard covers Harden from the start, the Spurs could quite possibly take control instead by slowing down Houston’s offense.

The pace is too fast for the Spurs

The Spurs looked extremely sloppy in Game 1 because they were unable to play at their own pace. The up-tempo style clearly favored the Rockets, as they spaced the floor and jacked up many three-pointers. This is exactly why the Spurs need to start the game with Leonard on Harden. Harden is Houston’s point guard, and it’s his willingness to push the ball up the court that allowed the Rockets to control the pace.

If Leonard is matched up against Harden, his smothering defense may stop Harden from forcing the pace.

More ball movement from the Spurs

Once the pace is slower, it would allow the Spurs to set up their offense and move the ball around for quality shots. The beautiful ball movement we have witnessed the Spurs use over the years was completely non-existent in the first game because the Rockets forced the Spurs to play up-tempo. San Antonio accumulated 19 team assists, which is uncharacteristic.

Gregg Popovich is an intelligent, savvy coach and should be able to figure out what adjustments he needs to make to get a win. It will be interesting to see if the Rockets can keep up the hot shooting while making the Spurs look old and slow. Game 2 will be televised on TNT at 9:30 pm Eastern Time.