Boris Diaw will start Game 2
There will be no game time decision on this one. According to Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich, Boris Diaw will again start alongside Tim Duncan when the Spurs face the Jazz in Game 2 of their first round series.
Coach Pop told the media following practice on Monday that Diaw will again gets the nod.
“He’s our starter,” Coach Pop said. “We started he and Timmy together down the stretch in the regular season, and so we’re not going to change it much.”
Regarding Tiago Splitter, Pop said that Splitter is doubtful for Game 2 following a sprained left wrist the Spurs big man suffered in the first half of Sunday’s Game 1 (Update: According to the Express-News, it’s a bone bruise).
“They’ve got him in some sort of a cast right now,” Popovich said. “I think it’s something we won’t be able to tell, honestly, until Wednesday.”
What that means, folks, is that we’re going to be seeing significant minutes for the DeJuan Blair-Matt Bonner big man combo off the bench.
The pair played together some in the second half of Game 1, a little over seven minutes total, and the results were fairly in line with what we’ve seen previously from the two. It’s a very, very small sample size, but the Spurs had a 91.9 OffRtg (points scored per 100 possessions) when the two were in the game together according to NBA.com’s stats, and gave up a 103.6 DefRtg.
Although, it could be worse, the usually solid pairing of Bonner and Tiago Splitter gave up a 121.5 DefRtg in its seven minutes together in Game 1.
For reference, the starting combination of Duncan and Diaw played 26 minutes together in Game 1 and posted an OffRtg of 105 and a DefRtg of 89.7, giving the Spurs a NetRtg of +15.3 points per 100 possessions when those two were on the floor together. That’s really good.
The primary concern with playing Bonner and Blair together is rebounding, especially against a team as good on the boards as Utah. In Game 1, the Spurs grabbed just 54.5% of available defensive rebounds when Bonner and Blair were on the floor together.
Many signs may point to the Bonner-Blair tandem as a weakness for the Spurs heading into Game 2. However, Tim Duncan only played 31 minutes in Game 1. With essentially three days of rest since Game 1, and another another three days heading into Game 3, Popovich could increase Duncan’s minutes in an effort to limit the amount of time Bonner and Blair see the floor together. Doing that would both play to the Spurs’ strengths and hide the team’s weaknesses.