DeJuan Blair only played a total four minutes and 19 seconds in the Spurs Friday night victory over the Mavericks, but in that short amount of time, Blair displayed exactly why he was the steal of the 2009 draft. He might have finished the game with only two points and five rebounds, but that stat line doesn’t really tell the story of how Blair effected this game.
Of the the five rebounds Blair collected, three were offensive. The Spurs were able to convert his offensive rebounds into second chance points, scoring on two of the three offensive rebounds. Blair was extremely active in the paint, diving for loose balls, and bringing down rebounds with a great deal of intensity. Blair did however miss two easy lay-ups.
Blair has played on big stages before. He helped the Pittsburgh Panthers win the Big-Eat conference tournament in 2008. And in 2009, he had a double-double in the Panthers loss to Villanova in the Elite Eight, which was voted one of the best March Madness games of the decade. (http://www.cbssports.com/collegebasketball/story/12813697/march-madness-games-of-the-decade-villanovapitt-at-no-8) Playing in such huge moments has helped Blair become the confident player we see on the court.
For the second time this series, Tim Duncan played over forty minutes. And don’t expect him to start playing any less. Eventually Duncan could slow down at the end of the series, giving Blair an opportunity to play more. But no matter how tired Timmy might become, when the game is on the line, he will be in the game. So let’s continue to see how many minutes Pop continues to play Duncan. With this match-up being tremendously physical, Blair might have the chance to play more in the next couple games.