The Margin: Vlade Splitter or Tiago Divac?
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We’re doing The Margin for each of the playoff games during the Spurs-Mavs first round series, and for those readers not familiar with this format, let me get you up to speed. Stolen blatantly from our friend Rob Mahoney, The Margin is a bullet point for each point in the difference in the final score.
- During the fourth quarter, Chris Webber said “Tiago Stockton out there the way he’s playing.” I would counter Webb’s point by saying he looked like Webb’s old teammate Vlade Divac. One of the best parts of the Tim Duncan/Tiago Splitter pairing is either of them has the ability to work out of the high post. Tonight, Splitter showed off his best offensive ability. The guy can really pass. Per Basketball Reference, Splitter averaged 2.5 assists per 36 minutes this season. While it’s not exactly Bill Walton numbers, it shows a willingness to move the ball and find the open man. It’s easily his best offensive attribute and he’s been able to use all series long against Dallas’ mediocre defense.
- I’m not sure what it would do to the Spurs defensively, but would anyone have a problem with Manu Ginobili and Vince Carter in San Antonio’s backcourt? I’m definitely saying this as a prisoner of the moment, because of his play tonight, by the way. The Manu-Marco tandem has been a lot of fun, but Vince has quietly been really good for the Mavericks the last two seasons. He’s been able to turn himself into a valuable role player. He was a 40 percent three-point shooter this season and he’s still a solid post player. Plus he’s friends with Tim Duncan, so adjusting to the Spurs way wouldn’t be a problem. I’m just thinking out loud, but a year or two of Vince Carter as a Spur would be fun.
- It was really good to see aggressive Tony Parker. He was way better in the first quarter than following frames, but he stayed aggressive throughout the game, especially in the fourth quarter when Dallas tried like Hell to mount a come back. When he stays aggressive, the Spurs tend to be successful.
- Have we talked about Manu Ginobili’s shoe game?! Ever since exploding his shoe earlier this season, Ginobili has switched to these Nike LeBron 11’s and they’re spectacular. H/T to Courtside Kicks for this picture earlier in the season.
- Fifth point might be the most important point. Five turnovers this game. Ever since the Game 2 disaster the Spurs have gotten the turnovers under control. Games 3 and 4 they’ve had 14 turnovers each, which is right at their season average. Tonight they were incredibly disciplined on offense (aside from early in the shot clock three-point attempts) and it helped prevent the Mavs from making a comeback, even when Dirk Nowitzki was hitting shots left and right.
- Three players’ wives or fiance in this series have given birth during the series. Manu Ginobili, Shawn Marion and now Tony Parker. That has to be some sort of record.