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The Splitter Dilemma, The Manu Problem

By Jeff Koch on November 15, 2012.

There are many ways to cut the result, but in the end the Spurs just ran out of gas. After being up 12 midway through the fourth, the ball started slipping, the shots came up short, and the passes lost crispness. The Knicks took control of the game and the Spurs were unable to regain any sort of footing.

And here’s where the Splitter dilemma becomes most apparent. Splitter was magnificent in the fourth quarter. We found him often on screen and rolls as he rumbled his way to lay ups and free throws. He was an absolute beast.

He might be our second best big man. Unfortunately, he is not our best big man: Tim Duncan. And even more unfortunately, he has trouble playing effectively with Duncan (for now). So when he has it going like he did tonight, it still means that Duncan is not on the floor. So what does Pop do? Keep riding Splitter at the expense of putting Duncan back in? Or cash in his Splitter chips assuming that Duncan will close out the game strong? It’s an interesting problem for Pop to have.

The Manu problem is of a different ilk entirely: he just looks terrible. We all love him, and trust that he will return to some form of his usual craftiness. But right now, he is a liability. There was a point late in the game when it was obvious that it was slipping away from us, and I surveyed the floor and thought, “I wish Danny Green was playing right now”. The players on the floor at the time were Duncan, Parker, Jackson, Leonard, and Ginobili. And my first thought was: put him in for Ginobili.

And the scary thing is, Pop did.

I don’t know where this is headed, and I hope to God that he finds his old form. But as we all know, there is no championship without a dominant Ginobili.

But for right now, it might be hard to find wins with the current Ginobili.

Author’s note: for the next few weeks I will be traveling and have limited access to games and computers. So my recaps may be brief, late, or non-existent. My passion will be none if those things, and I sincerely hope to stay on top of things.

Thanks for bearing with me.

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