“We’re Trying to Win This Thing”
The full magnitude of the Spurs potential power was on display in Friday night’s convincing win over the Mavericks. As Sean Elliott kept saying again and again, this team is just super deep and amazingly versatile at every position on the floor. Pretty much every player can contribute meaningfully on both ends of the court (even Matt Bonner, who makes up for a lack of athleticism on defense with innate system knowledge) and play and guard multiple positions. There really are no more weak line-ups, stretches where we have to get our best players rest and just hope we can stay even or not fall too far behind. Leonard begets Green begets Jackson. Ginobili begets Neal begets Green. Parker begets Ginobili begets Neal. Duncan begets Splitter begets Diaw. Blair begets Bonner begets Diaw. Take your pick. Mix and match. All combinations have the potential to work.
And the best part? Our full power actually wasn’t on display. Tony Parker didn’t even play. Oh my.
Hands down, this is the best defense I can remember the team ever playing on Dirk. No small feat, as he may be the most unguardable player in the league over the last decade or so. Diaw, fresh off a plane, was exceptional on him, forcing him into bad shots, biting on fakes and still recovering in time for a full contest. He looked good on both ends, and showed the potential of his all-around game and what he can do when motivated.
Jackson and Leonard also played exceptional D on Dirk. Even Bonner and Blair took their turns and acquitted themselves well.
This was the first game of a back-to-back-to-back. It will be interesting to see how Pop plays this. By some accounts, Splitter and Ginobili aren’t even making the trip to New Orleans for the middle game. (The stretch ends back at home against Philadelphia on Sunday.) My guess is Tony will play tomorrow and Sunday; Ginobili will sit out tomorrow and play Sunday; and Duncan will play tomorrow and probably sit out Sunday. One of the big three will miss each of one of the games. I’d imagine we’ll see some other players get some rest, and lots of playing time for Diaw and Jackson.
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