Defending Dirk in Game 2

by

Matt Bonner of the Spurs defends Dirk Nowitzki of the Mavericks in Game 1

For the San Antonio Spurs, defending Dirk Nowitzki in Game 1 of their Western Conference Quarterfinal Series was damn-near a lost cause. The Dallas Mavericks forward torched the Spurs for 36 points on 12-14 shooting from the field.

How the Spurs choose to defend Nowitzki in Game 2 will go a long way in determining the outcome of the game. And how this series plays out. Win Game 2, and the Spurs go back to San Antonio with a split and the momentum.

But leaving Dallas in an 0-2 hole puts a lot of pressure on this Spurs team. Suddenly, whispers about the Mavs having the Spurs number and the impact of 2006 start getting louder.

So what do the Spurs do to slow down Dirk? It’s obvious there’s no stopping him. He’s an elite offensive player; the Spurs only hope is to make it as hard as possible for him to score and limit his opportunities to set up his teammates.

The battle starts before Dirk even gets the ball.

If he gets the ball in scoring position, which is almost anywhere inside half court for him, then all bets are off. The Spurs already lost that possession and can only hope for the best. Instead, the Spurs need to deny the Mavs forward the ball with reckless abandon.

The Spur guarding Dirk should have no help responsibilities on the defensive end of the floor. For instance, if Antonio McDyess is guarding Nowitzki and Jason Terry beats Tony Parker off the dribble, McDyess stays at home and makes sure that Dirk doesn’t get the ball with a good look at the basket. The other three defenders for the Spurs can figure out what to do about Terry. McDyess needs to stay disciplined and stay at home. The only time Nowitzki’s man should help is if he’s the last line of defense and giving up a layup.

Several times during Game 1, Matt Bonner and McDyess left Dirk to help. Only once did Dirk miss the resulting open jumpshot. If the Spurs can keep one person at home on Dirk at all times, they can spend more time keeping the defensive end of the floor a 4-on-4 game.

There are two sets where the Spurs will have trouble denying Nowitzki the ball. The first scenario is when Dallas sets a screen for Nowitzki on the weak side of the floor, away from the ball. When Dallas did this in Game 1, Dirk went baseline off the screen and received a pass near the mid post. There’s so much space on this play for him to create separation from his man off the screen and get the ball.

Antonio McDyess of the Spurs defends Dirk Nowitzki of the Mavericks in Game 1

San Antonio’s best bet on those plays is for the help defense to communicate to the Spur guarding the ball that he needs to pressure the passer. Getting good pressure on the passer can discourage a pass, result in a deflection or steal, or alter the pass enough to give the Spur guarding Dirk time to recover or take Nowitzki out of position.

As my high school coach used to say, “the best post defense is pressuring the passer.”

The second situation where San Antonio will struggle to deny Dirk the ball is when he is the roll man on a pick-and-roll. The Mavericks like to free Nowitzki up by using him to set picks for the ball handler, usually for Terry or Jason Kidd. When Dirk sets the pick, the man guarding him usually has to help on the ball handler. Depending on what the guard who was picked does, Nowitzki either ends up wide open or with a smaller man guarding him. Both are an advantage for Dallas.

The tactic the Spurs employed in Game 1, and what is probably their best option, was to have a rover watching the German on the pick-and-roll. After the guard came off of Nowitzki’s screen, both the Spur guarding the ball and the man guarding Dirk went with the ball handler. As Dirk rolled to a spot on the perimeter, a Spur defender away from the play rotated over to cover Dirk and discourage a pass to the Mavs forward.

The concerns with defending Dirk on the pick-and-roll this way are rotations. If the other two Spurs defenders away from the play aren’t aware of where the other Mavs are, Dallas will have their choice of open shots. Luckily for San Antonio, Dallas missed many over their open shots in the first half of Game 1. Crisp rotations are key here.

If Bonner or McDyess is defending Nowitzki, his job is simple, hedge the pick and roll hard and then get back to Dirk as quick as possible. If they hedged the pick-and-roll right, the guard’s path to the basket was impeded or blocked altogether. From there, it’s the other Spur’s responsibility to fight through Nowitzki’s pick and get back in the play. Bonner or McDyess’ priority is Nowitzki.

In the event Dallas brings the ball up court and looks to post-up Dirk early on the shot clock, the Spurs must front him. Nowitzki scored a significant portion of his points in Game 1 from the post. Playing behind him and allowing the entry pass is an open invitation for two points. But playing in front of him with backside help not only denies him entry pass, but nearly takes Nowitzki out of the play. Dirk isn’t the type of player who’s going to pin his man under the rim as the ball rotates around the perimeter.

Dirk Nowitzki celebrates a basket and a foul against the Spurs in Game 1

But as much work as the Spurs can do to deny Dirk Nowitzki the ball in Game 2, he’s still going to get it. Plenty. And it’s when that occurs that most of the discussion around how to guard Nowitzki begins.

The farther from the basket the Spurs can force Dirk to get the ball, the more potential for success their defensive possession has. If Nowitzki’s defender can deny him the ball and usher him out to the perimeter to catch the pass, it increases the likelihood that Dirk will get rid of the ball with out forcing a double- or triple-team.

This also makes it more likely that Dirk will be in an isolation situation. When the Mavs isolated their star forward this season, he scored just .92 points per possession and shot 40.5%. Compared to his averages of 1.05 points per possession and 48.2% from the field in all situations, Dirk simply doesn’t do as much damage when isolated one-on-one as he does in other sets. (Note: Thanks to Synergy Sports for the data.)

In the first half of Game 1, San Antonio played Nowitzki one-on-one in most situations. Occasionally, Coach Popovich would send a late double-team to throw off Dirk’s timing, but it was mostly single coverage. And despite the efficiency from Dirk shooting the ball, San Antonio was able to limit other Mavs players’ effectiveness. Except Caron Butler, who had the best game of his season, which I don’t expect him to repeat.

In the fourth quarter, the Spurs furiously double- and triple-teamed Nowitzki with less success. Nowitzki only scored four points in the quarter, but involved the rest of his team by spreading the ball around. Nowitzki had one assists and three Greztky’s – or hockey assists – where Dirk made the pass that lead to the assist. The resulting points were all scored in the stretch of the fourth quarter were Dallas put the game out of reach.

Personally, I don’t like the idea of sending multiple defenders at Dirk because of the areas on the floor he tends to occupy. He spends the majority of his time near the free throw line, the mid-post or on the perimeter. In these spots, there are no boundaries, like the baseline or sideline, to use as extra defenders.

Instead, Dirk can admire the landscape and distribute the ball where he wants it. He is a good passer, tall enough to see over most defenders and he possesses the discipline not to bring the ball down below his chin – unless he’s dribbling at the basket. By playing him one-on-one, the Spurs discourage ball movement from the Mavericks in hopes of preventing Dallas’ complimentary players from getting in rhythm.

So who draws the short straw and has the pleasure of defending Mr. Nowitzki? The majority of that duty went to Antonio McDyess and Matt Bonner in Game 1, and for good reason. McDyess did the most commendable job on Nowitzki, though foul trouble limited his time on Dirk in the second half. Bonner also played well on Dirk, but Bonner’s strength on defense lies in his ability to play a help role and rotate properly (which is why his Adjusted +/- is usually so high).

However, Bonner and McDyess rarely see the floor at the same time, so it’s usually one or the other guarding Dirk. And if the other option is putting Tim Duncan or DeJuan Blair on Dirk, I’d stick with Bonner. Duncan can defend Nowitzki, but the potential of Duncan getting in foul trouble is too high for my liking. I’d rather keep Duncan in a help role, quarterbacking the defense.

And I’d keep Richard Jefferson as far away from guarding Dirk as possible. Jefferson is not physical enough on Nowitzki and at a disadvantage height-wise. You can be one or the other when guarding Dirk, but not both.

On Nowitzki in Game 1, Antonio MyDyess did an excellent job staying in front of Dirk and getting a hand in his face.  Many times, it was McDyess’ left hand too, which is the right way to do it. Nowitzki is a right-handed shooter. However, many defenders are right-handed also. So when a right-handed defender puts his dominant arm up against a right-handed shooter, their reach is usually an inch or two shorter, because they are reaching across the shooter’s body. But left-handed defenders don’t reach across the body and thus appear to have a longer reach. It’s a game of inches, and any little bit counts.

McDyess also excelled at staying on the floor against Nowitzki. Along with Rasheed Wallace, Dirk has one of the highest release points in the league on his jump shot. Very few players can actually block his shot, and I doubt many Spurs can do it. So when he throws a pump fake at a defender and they bite, it opens up a world of hurt for the rest of the defense. The defender guarding Dirk needs to stay on the floor and put a hand in his face, preferably their left.

Can Dirk torch this gameplan just as easily as he torched the one the Spurs used on him in Game 1? Sure, he’s a great offensive player, and that’s what they do. But there were holes in the way the Spurs defended Nowitzki in the first game of this series and some changes need to be made, and others reinforced, against one of the toughest covers and mismatches in the league.

Have fun with that.

  • Bigballs

    Spurs v Mavs – Game 2

    It is what it is. All eyes on Pop. This series is Pop’s to win or lose. He verbally states and often insinuates that it is all about the Spur system, not REAL talent, not the players.

    So lets see it! Lets see the Spur system. Lets see Pop’s coaching, philosophy, D strategy, rotations and methodology win Games 2 and the series.

  • DieHardSpur

    Spurs by 4.

    Mavs get an early lead and hold it most of the game… but spurs by 4 in crunch time!

    Damn I hope I am right!

  • Chillfan

    Id like to see Duncan on Dirk in the critical minutes of the fourth. He’s the only one strong enough to keep Dirk far from the basket.

    Bonner can’t defend Dirk alone, he does not know how to be physical, either. Stop the stupid “and ones.”

    Much less Mason. He missed those same shots last year. Id honestly rather see Temple.

    Look for jet to go off this game. Plan to Guard him.

  • http://48minutesofhell.com Andrew A. McNeill

    @Chillfan

    I disagree on Bonner. He’s definitely physical enough to guard Dirk. He had some tough calls go against him in Game 1, calls that can’t be expected to go against him every game. Dice is the best option to guard Dirk, but I like Bonner on Nowitzki when Dice is out of the game.

  • ChrisJ

    I don’t mind if Dirk goes for 36, 40, or 50 pts as long as we keep him off the line. If Dirk only goes 6 for 6 from the line in Game 1 we win by 2. That means Bonner/McDyess has to just stay in front of him and just hold their ground. Treat Dirk like we did Amare – we gave him all those points but limited everyone else. We cannot send double and triple teams, our rotations are just not crisp enough to get back and not give up a layup. Single him up all night, limit everyone else and we’ll be fine.

  • http://48minutesofhell.com Jesse Blanchard

    The thing with Dirk, he’s a great offensive player. Now, on most nights those same shots he took in Game 1 will translate into something like 8-14 from the field and 4-5 from the free throw line, or roughly 20 points–give or take a bucket or two. Those are things the Spurs can live with so long as they limit his free throws.

    Going 12-14 on the shots he took, that’s a deviation from the norm and it’s just as likely he goes 5-14 in that situation.

    And the thing that makes him so great is he’s a seven footer who can shoot and see over the top of the defense. As Andrew pointed out, the spots in which he catches the ball make it impossible to double because it opens up the entire offense. And just as easily as he can shoot over the double team, he can pass as well.

    If Dirk was a turnover prone player, there might be some merit to constantly sending double teams. But he isn’t. It’s one of his strengths, creating so many shots without turning it over.

  • Area Spurs Fan

    I feel the success of fronting Dirk will depend largely on what direction the whistle blows tonight. Noringski is an Academy-Award winning actress and “sells calls” like no one’s business. I can easily foresee ball denial turning into another free-throw clinic for Dirk.

    Even if that happens, Pop should stick to his game-plan; single-coverage for Dirk the entire night.

    Lastly, if Richard Jefferson doesn’t show up for this series, the Spurs won’t win. Circus turnovers aside, the Spurs got steady play from their Big 3. But we needed that “Fourth Spur” to counter the effort of Noringski, Marion, Butler and Kidd. If George Hill isn’t 100%, we need that effort from Richard Jefferson or this will be a very brief playoff run.

  • Play Ian

    As if Pop would ever do this, but I’d like to see him try Ian on Dirk. Can’t imagine the results would be any worse than game 1. Perhaps Ian’s length would both Dirk.

    I’m also praying RMJ doesn’t see a minute of time on the offensive end. Use his fouls if we need the hack-a-Dampier, but otherwise he should not be on the floor. Shoulda dropped him when he asked to be traded.

  • Chris K.

    Like Jesse said, 12-14 is unusual and he almost certainly will not do that again. I thought the Spurs defense on Nowitzki was fine in Game 1. Really, the double and triple teaming was what broke the game open for Dallas, with Kidd and Terry getting open threes.

    I’m surprised Andrew didn’t mention George Hill as a potential to get a couple minutes on Nowitzki. I’d prefer Hill to Bonner, that’s for sure. Just rotating Bonner and McDyess makes for an easily predictable night for Nowitzki, rotating George Hill in there mixes things up and forces Nowitzki to think differently and act differently, it might break up any momentum he’s developing.

    Also, to break momentum, how about an occasional hard foul? Nothing dirty, but when a guy is just going off on you, you’ve got to get physical with him and give him something to think about. The Spurs never did that in Game 1.

    I hate when the Spurs just let guys continually do what they want, cruise in for layups and dunks without doing anything. Put somebody’s ass on the floor once in awhile and they won’t be having as good of a game. We’re in this to win, not make friends. Let’s show some toughness and take this series. Oh, and give the ball to Manu more.

  • McMurry Professor

    I like what Chris J said about treating Dirk like Amare. Amare would torch the Spurs for 40 a game, yet the Spurs would still win the series because we’d shut the rest of the suns down.

    Dirk is going to do his damage. How about we try and prevent Jason Kidd from putting up another near triple-double. Its like someone out there used a game genie to unlock ’96 Jason Kidd or something this season. Lock down on Kidd and the rest of Dirk’s supporting cast and we should come out on top regardless of how well Dirk shoots.

  • Tyler

    Great analysis.

    Looking ahead to tonight, if we can make Dirk work for his shots without fouling, we’ll be in good shape. When we foul as much as we did in game 1, it not only puts Dallas in the bonus quicker, but it takes away our aggresiveness on defense.

    McDyess will be critical. If he can stay out of foul trouble, he should play more minutes. That not only puts our best defender on Dirk, but it also helps out on the boards, which we really needed in game 1.

    I don’t really like the idea of TD on Dirk. For one, it risks putting TD in foul trouble as stated above. Two, Dirk will take TD out on the perimeter, which makes it that much harder for the Spurs to rebound the ball, which we already had trouble doing in game 1.

    I’m also not keen on having Hill cover Dirk. Hill, while a pretty good defender, won’t come close to contesting Dirk’s shot. And while Hill had some success on Durant this year, Dirk is a much more physical player. He’ll most likely try to take Hill into the post, which I don’t forsee ending well.

    I’d stick with McDyess, Bonner, Jefferson, and Blair in that order (and it’s really a toss up between RJ and Blair).

  • NL

    Of all the Spurs games I’ve watched on tv this season, Bonner gets no love from the refs. Anyone else agree?

    I feel like it’s the opposite of super-star status. Big, white and dopey-looking status – I’m a big Bonner fan – he does need to do more than he did in game 1, but I think he’ll be important to our run this year, if we make one.

    Less turnovers. Less fouls (as mentioned in the previous post). I think we’ll be in good shape.

  • Dr. Who

    Great article. This is where Pop earns his money. I’ve been pretty critical of Pop during the regular season. Defense is his forte’. This is his game to shine. When it comes to X’s and O’s I like our chances with Pop vs. Carlisle (who wouldn’t). The article did show that it’s a difficult personnel match up for us. It is for most teams but the Spurs are better suited to shut down an elite guard not an elite 7 footer. I’ve been preaching about not guarding him so much 1 on 1 and seeing Bonner stuggle out there was painful to watch. No knock on Bonner, he played about as well as you could ask him to; but he is Bonner a stretch 4 who gets no respect from the refs. That being said, things got out of hand when we threw multiple looks at Dork. That’s what we did last year and we lost the series in 5 even with TP putting up 46. I like ChrisJ’s comment about Amare. The issue with Dirk is that he has a better scoring supporting cast than Amare. However… if we mix in the 1 on 1 with a few different looks but keep the rest of the Mav clowns in check, we should have a great shot. That’s Pop’s job to figure out. Hopefully he comes through. I think this is a do or die game for us. Let’s hope our gameplan is solid and we have someone else step up besides our big 3. I’m going to sacrifice a live chicken to the ankle Gods and hopefully Hairston’s and Hill’s will be healed up come tip off.

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  • http://mysa.com RO

    Whats this I hear abour George Hill being freaked out according to McDyess?

  • SpurredOn

    Completely agree that no one guarding Dirk should leave him to help. I’d add that I won’t want anyone guarding Kidd or Terry on the 3pt line to leave them to help on Dirk. Take away ball movement, 3pt shots and make it the Dirk show. If he scores 45 but his teammates score 45, Spurs win.

    I’m actually in favor of RJ spending some time on Dirk. Yes he’s shorter and a bit lighter. But Dirk doesn’t want to spend all game banging in the post and I think RJ would do better if he was given a defensive assignment of high priority on which to focus. So much pressure is put on him to score, I’m more concerned with defense. He’ll get his 10-15 points by playing with high energy on defense and helping to create a fast-break.

  • http://seriesandtv.com Pulpo

    Great analysis as usual.
    Although a good way of defending Dirk is forcing him to play a little more defense. We need to attack him on the other side of the court so he´s not only saving his energy for the offense.

  • ThatBigGuy

    Ok, so how about we bug Dirk as much as we can, but focus on shutting down everyone else? Dirk can’t score 100.

  • Dustin

    I must disagree with the thought that Caron Butler had his best game of the season. Yes he scored six more than his average, but all of his other numbers were in-line with his season averages and he had more TO’s and less assists than his average.

    As for Dirk, he may not shoot 12-14 again, but expect him to from 28-30 each game of this series. Also expect for Terry to score closer to his season average of 16.6.

    If that happens then it is night-night Spurs.

  • Jim Henderson

    Dirk is a nightmare to contain. That’s no surprise. I think we did fine on him in game one, but we fouled way too much (whether all the calls were good or not), and he was unusually HOT. I would not change our coverage too much, other than to just mix it up on him.

    McDyess had some foul trouble, but he finished the game with four fouls, after 23 minutes. At that rate, he could of gotten in a good 8-10 more minutes on Dirk before he would have fouled out because Dice was out of the game with still 2:30 to go (still with 4 fouls). The main problem is we have a 36 year old, with severe knee injuries in his past, as our best one-on-one defender against Dirk. There’s no way he’s going to be able to chase Dirk around on the perimeter, and still get inside to rebound for 30-40 minutes per game.

    The key is to get Dirk out of rhythm, as much as possible. I would try to get him to work more on the defensive end by playing Blair more, and even insert Mahinmi in certain situations. If Bonner’s only going to take 2 three-pointers for every 20 minutes (as he did in game one), I would alternate both Mahinmi and Blair WITH Duncan in short bursts when Dirk is on the floor. This would require Dirk to get banged around in the post on the defensive end. He would invariably get stuck guarding one of two aggressive & adept scorers in the paint. If it’s not TD guarding Dirk in these situations, just instruct Ian or Blair to guard him the best they can by getting a hand up, but DO NOT REACH for a foul, or commit to Dirk’s pump fakes. YOU’RE NOT GOING TO BLOCK HIS SHOT! Just try to stay in front of him, get a hand up, and pray. THAT’S IT! If Dirk’s hot, he’s going to light you up whether you’re all over him or not.

    Also, I like the idea of denying Dirk the ball, and fronting him as far away from the basket as possible. The problem is, this is very difficult to do. We simply don’t have the perimeter “defenders”, nor the great “team” defense of our glory years to be able to successfully accomplish this to our advantage.

    Finally, figuring out how to best guard Dirk is actually the least of our worries. Look at Dirk’s game in game one, look at the mistakes on our side, look at the “no shows” from key players, and look at the score. Even with Dirk shooting 85% (which will not happen again), we could have beaten them in game one by taking care of our own issues.

    So, lets just:

    (1) Hope RJ decides to play!
    (2) Hope Hill is ready to GO!
    (3) Take care of the ball!
    (4) CONTROL THE TEMPO!
    (5) Do NOT play MASON!
    (6) If Bonner plays, he MUST get AT LEAST TWO good three point attempts every TEN minutes!
    (7) We need more scoring/rebounding in the paint. Give Blair, and/or Mahinmi more minutes, particularly if Bonner’s not HOT!
    (8) Pick up the intensity on “D”, and CRASH the OFFENSIVE & DEFENSIVE GLASS!
    (9) DO NOT be paranoid about judiciously playing our young guys (Temple, Hairston, Blair, Ian)!

    Correcting these issues is MUCH MORE IMPORTANT than coming up with fancy defensive schemes to stop Dirk, which by the way, is a fool’s errand anyway!

  • rj

    wow, jim!

    you are actually calling for play time for mahinmi. is this a good or bad sign? i do like the idea of throwing multiple defenders at him at different times.

    and how about garret temple playing some d on terry or butler?

    NO MASON!!!!

  • Blentzen

    Do Mavs fans read this blog? Lots of great advice on here. Hope someone from the Spurs organizztion reads this and passes it on to Pop. @Mavs fans: IT DON’T MEAN A THING IF YOU DON’T HAVE THAT RING! DOOWOP DOOWOP DOOWOP DOOWOP!
    I STILL BELIEVE!!!!! 2010 THE YEAR OF THE SPURS!!!!! GO SPURS GO!!!!!

  • jeff

    I don’t give a lick if Dirk scores 65. You gotta stop everyone else.

    Also, the Spurs need to force Dirk to play defense. I think the answer is Mahnimni, but what do I know? I’m just a guy who slipped on some ice 200,000 thousand years ago and was brought back to life by your scientists.

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  • Bushka

    MANU FNG GINOBLI

  • Bushka

    IS THE ANSWER

  • Jim Henderson

    Great adjustments by Pop, execution by the players, and a 4th gun steps up: GO RJ!!

    From yesterdays post; a CHECK LIST – TO A WIN IN GAME TWO:

    Finally, figuring out how to best guard Dirk is actually the least of our worries. Look at Dirk’s game in game one, look at the mistakes on our side, look at the “no shows” from key players, and look at the score. Even with Dirk shooting 85% (which will not happen again), we could have beaten them in game one by taking care of our own issues.

    So, lets just:

    (1) Hope RJ decides to play! – CHECK

    Game One – 4 points
    Game Two – 19 points!

    (2) Hope Hill is ready to GO! – BETTER

    Game One – Zero points
    Game Two – 7 points

    (3) Take care of the ball! – CHECK

    Game One – 17
    Game Two – 8

    (4) CONTROL THE TEMPO! – CHECK

    Game One – Mavs – 100
    Game Two – Mavs – 88

    (5) Do NOT play MASON! – BETTER

    Game One – 9 minutes
    Game Two – 5 minutes (2 at end of game, up 14)

    (6) If Bonner plays, he MUST get AT LEAST TWO good three point attempts every TEN minutes! – CHECK

    Game One – TWO 3-point shots, 19 minutes
    Game Two – FIVE 3-point shots, 20 minutes

    (7) We need more scoring/rebounding in the paint. Give Blair, and/or Mahinmi more minutes, particularly if Bonner’s not HOT! – BETTER

    Game One – Blair 7 minutes
    Game Two – Blair 11 minutes
    Bonner shot 40% from 3-point land, TD monster on boards.

    (8) Pick up the intensity on “D”, and CRASH the OFFENSIVE & DEFENSIVE GLASS! – CHECK

    Game One – Mavs – 13/45, Spurs – 8/37
    Game Two – Mavs – 14/42, Spurs – 16/51

    (9) DO NOT be paranoid about judiciously playing our young guys (Temple, Hairston, Blair, Ian)! – NOT APPLICABLE

    With RJ stepping up BIG, not needed, tonight!

    Correcting these issues is MUCH MORE IMPORTANT than coming up with fancy defensive schemes to stop Dirk, which by the way, is a fool’s errand anyway!

  • Bushka

    Very very well put jim. People were throwing the baby out with the bathwater after loosing game 1 to the 2nd seed in the west with Dirk shooting nearly 100% from the floor and line.

    Very cool

  • Karen

    Completely agree that no one guarding Dirk should leave him to help. I’d add that I won’t want anyone guarding Kidd or Terry on the 3pt line to leave them to help on Dirk. Take away ball movement, 3pt shots and make it the Dirk show. If he scores 45 but his teammates score 45, Spurs win.

    I’m actually in favor of RJ spending some time on Dirk. Yes he’s shorter and a bit lighter. But Dirk doesn’t want to spend all game banging in the post and I think RJ would do better if he was given a defensive assignment of high priority on which to focus. So much pressure is put on him to score, I’m more concerned with defense. He’ll get his 10-15 points by playing with high energy on defense and helping to create a fast-break.

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