In his first preseason game, DeJuan Blair showed us his ability to rebound the ball. In his third game, we now know he can put the ball in the basket.
Blair scored 15 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter as the Spurs fought back from an 11 point deficit to beat the Heat 95-93 on Sunday night.
Since Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili stayed back home for this game, the Spurs started Tony Parker, Roger Mason, Michael Finley, Matt Bonner and Ian Mahinmi. The Heat also decided to take precautions with their players and kept Dwyane Wade, Quentin Richardson and Jermaine O’Neal out.
Before it became the DeJuan Blair show, Michael Finley and George Hill kept the Spurs afloat as they struggled through a dry spell in the second quarter. Finley and Hill had 10 points and eight points respectively as the Spur
s went into the lockerroom at halftime down 41-45.
In the third and fourth quarter it was all Blair. Even with the Spurs digging themselves into a deeper hole in the third, Blair hit a few layups and free throws as Michael Beasley and Mario Chalmers got going.
With the Spurs down by 11 to start the fourth quarter, it looked like the Spurs would be picking up their second loss of the preseason. When Blair connected on an alleyoop pass from Malik Hairston with 6:44 remaining in the game, he never looked back. He went on to score every way he could with a jump shot, reverse layup, hook shot and free throw. Then he showed some defensive prowess and picked off a pass from Dorrell Wright and took it the other way for a layup and a three point lead for the Spurs 89-86.
Heat guard Daequan Cook, who had been hot all quarter, made a three pointer to tie the game up with 1:18 remaining, but the Spurs relied on Blair once again to pull them ahead for the eventual win.
Marcus Williams continued to show that he is not ready for this level of basketball at either small forward or point guard. In three minutes of playing time, Williams had three points, one assist and three turnovers.
Ian Mahinmi started and got extended minutes so Pop could evaluate him. He finished with 9 points and three blocked shots in 26 minutes. He also had four fouls, but one of them should have been called on Roger Mason.
George Hill once again looked comfortable and put up 12 points in only 17 minutes, but I’ll be looking for more assists once he starts playing games that count.
Malik Hairston, as always, made every minute count. He scored six points, had five assists and four rebounds in just under 17 minutes on the floor.
While I’m not sure if he’ll earn a roster spot, Curtis Jerrells certainly continues to outplay Marcus Williams. Jerrells had nine points and two steals and shows no fear getting to the basket.