Yes, Game 2 was Manu Ginobili’s night but it’s clear that the Spurs will be needing every bit of Manu’s magic to be able survive this Grizzlies squad and more.
The only thing the Spurs did was to even the series, not take control of it.
On Saturday they will have another chance to do so. Will they deliver? It’s hard to argue against the Spurs especially when Ginobili is playing like the Manu of old.
But you have to wonder how long can Manu keep up with his bag of tricks. In the first two games, the tandem of Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol have outscored Tim Duncan and Antonio McDyess.
Although the Spurs did a great job in containing the Grizzlies bigs in Game 2, it is apparent that Duncan needs more help in the post. This is where Tiago Splitter comes in.
While some people would disagree with this thinking, I believe that Splitter deserves some minutes. If the playoffs is all about matchups and the Spurs’ frontline looked overmatched by the Grizzlies frontcourt, then why isn’t Tiago playing?
His offseason injury clearly affected his development and have yet to earn coach Gregg Popovich’s trust fully.
Or it could be a matter of not enough minutes for the Spurs’ big man rotation. Duncan is averaging 35.5 minutes in two games, McDyess 20 and Blair 17.
If Tiago plays who sits? McDyess? Blair? Bonner?
But you can’t teach height, and I find it hard to imagine that he will not contribute if given the chance. In 60 regular season games, Splitter averaged 4.6 points and 3.3 rebounds while shooting 52.9 percent from the field in just 12 minutes per game.
He also proved that he can be productive when given enough playing time. In six starts, Splitter averaged 8.7 points and 7.0 rebounds while playing 23 minutes per ball game. He also had a double-double (10 points and 14 rebounds) on March 21 against the Golden State Warriors when Tim Duncan went down with an ankle injury.
Tiago Splitter can play that’s for sure. In fact he is great playing the pick and roll with either Ginobili or Tony Parker. Not only that, he is an able defender and with his length, size and mobility, the Spurs’ interior defense could improve.
This reminds me of George Hill’s rookie year when Popovich declared “this playoffs isn’t for him” pointing out that Hill isn’t ready for the playoffs only to end up using his rookie guard towards the end of the 2008-09 first round series against the Dallas Mavericks albeit to a losing cause.
By all means this Spurs are better than last year and I am not saying they might suffer a similar consequence by not playing Splitter this post season, I just believe he can help.
If he plays 10-15 minutes to save McDyess or Duncan’s legs, wouldn’t that be huge if the Spurs goes deep into the playoffs?
Nonetheless, Popovich is one of the best minds in the NBA. I admire and respect him, but that doesn’t mean I’d always agree with the way he does things.
And if he decides to keep Splitter on the bench while the Spurs are able to advance to the next round who am I to question him?
What do you guys think? Is it time to let Splitter play against the Grizzlies? Share your thoughts.