Deep Spurs Have Simple Plan: ‘Next!’

SAN ANTONIO – The cast on Tiago Splitter’s left wrist doesn’t mean he had an unexpected and violent meeting with the glass case of a fire extinguisher. It also doesn’t mean that alarm bells will be going off in the Spurs’ locker room if their center can’t be in the lineup for Game 2.

Boris Diaw will continue to start at center. But DeJuan Blair, who started 62 games at center during the regular season, will be the first big man off the bench. Blair entered the game when Splitter was ruled out for the second half of the series opener after getting hurt trying to break a fall. Blair played 10 minutes, scored five points and grabbed two rebounds.

“DeJuan Blair is ready to go,” said San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich. “He did a good job (in Game 1). He sat for a long time, but he came in and got right to it.”

While the 6-foot-11 Splitter gives the Spurs more length on the front line against the bigger, bulkier Jazz, the 6-foot-8 Blair makes up for what he lacks in height with ferocity and hustle.

The fact that the Spurs won’t fret or hardly blink at the absence of Splitter is a product of the deep rotation Popovich has used all season. Never mind that old adage about it being important to go with a shorter rotation in the playoffs.

“Our strength all year has been our depth and the fact that we can play so many guys,” said Tim Duncan. “I don’t think we’re gonna shrink for that. We’re going to use it to our advantage. Pop has a lot of options out there in playing that many guys you can feel out who’s on and who’s off and play from there.”

If there’s a battle cry for these Spurs, it’s a simple one: “Next!”

15 Comments

  1. John says:

    The Spurs don’t have players like Metta World Peace and Rondo.. wonder why they’ve made the playoffs 19 of the last 20 years?

  2. choonzer says:

    As a died-in-the-wool Jazz fan, I have always appreciated the Spurs’ brand of basketball. How any Jazz fan can rail on it is beyond me, since it closely mirrors what the Jazz did for 20 years with Stockton/Malone. It’s hard-nosed, precise, execution-style play which is a joy to watch. What’s more, it’s a well-disciplined team made up of professionals, not overpaid primadonnas or mentally challenged thugs. I will be cheering the young Jazz all the way in this series, but this isn’t their year. Kudos to this Spurs team for its many years of excellence.

  3. Cds1 says:

    As a Jazz fan I know we aren’t going to win this series but i’m glad we made it to the playoffs and am glad we are playing the spurs. The Jazz have a top 3 bench and no superstar and this allows Corbin to watch POP and see how to utilize depth to win. The Jazz have amazing talent start to finish, they are just all young. I’m just glad they are here for the taste of what it’s like to be in the playoffs and be winners.

  4. srff says:

    im an okc fan, but i think that the spurs will beat miami in 6 games in the finals, SA beats OKC in 7 games

  5. Cedric says:

    No big time superstar but the Spurs still get the job done.I want a team that win all the time not LA,OKC,Heat,Boston Spurs Yes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Go Spurs

  6. raul o says:

    Spurs gets the job done without fanfare – all the way to ring no. 5.

  7. Jintan says:

    I’m an OKC fan but I still think that San Antonio is the team with the most chances to win the conference and the NBA championship this year.

    Miami is Reaaally good but Spurs’s fundamentals are way too good.

  8. Eat says:

    I am not a fan of the San Antonio Spurs….

  9. The spurs are just way to good for the jazz

  10. Dave says:

    Just want to add that if anybody beat the Jazz, I’d want it to be the Spurs. I’m pulling for them in the West. Would love to see Duncan and Manu get another ring. Parker played brilliantly in Game 1… surely there is more to come from him in these playoffs.

    • Dalwin says:

      Nice post, 13 years in row 50 + wins in regular season . Somthing like this nobody have done in any profesional sport on averige vining % is 67 % . That is just awesome.

  11. Dave says:

    Well said And1. I’m from Utah and am a Jazz fan, but I highly admire the basketball that Pop coaches and the Spurs play. They play absolutely beautiful basketball. Call it boring or whatever, I don’t need flashy superstars to keep me entertained. It’s all about the fundamentals and playing the game right. Pop’s strategy is going to get them far this year.

  12. And1 says:

    Coach Pop took Corbin to school with his constant personnel subs. That is the Spurs strength.
    In a way, again Pop is pioneering a new trend which is actually old school – Strength in numbers vs. the current philosophy Superstar team w/ weak benches. History might prove that Pop was right all along. Go Spurs go!