Earning His Spurs: Part 7


DeJuan Blair has officially played his first playoff game in the intense rivalry that is Spurs-Suns, and despite a couple defensive breakdowns, he played a decent game. Blair finished the game with two points, two rebounds, one block and one steal in almost 11 minutes of play.

Blair entered the game at the 1:25 mark for Tim Duncan and immediately he fouled Steve Nash who was able to finish at the rim and complete the and one. On the next Spurs possession, Blair displayed the type of energy he brings of the bench. After a Tony Parker missed lay-up, Blair fought for an offensive rebound but was unable to secure it. But he didn’t give up on the play and ran the length of the court, grabbing his first rebound off a missed Nash transition three.

Popovich started Blair in the second quarter. Blair made a great hustle play and collected an offensive rebound off a Parker miss, but Blair couldn’t get the ball out in time and the shot clock expired. Two Phoenix possessions later, Leandro Barbosa completely undressed Blair, blowing by him and finishing with an easy lay-up. However, Blair made up for his defensive laps on the next Suns possession when he stole a Goran Dragic pass. Blair would score his only basket on the next Spurs possession with a running one handed shot in the pant. Duncan replaced Blair with 7:30 left in the second.

With 1:25 left in the third, Blair came in for Duncan, and Amare Stoudemire made sure to show the young rookie what the Spurs-Suns rivalry is all about. Stoudemire threw down a monstrous dunk on Blair. You can buy the poster at rookiesgettingposterized.com. But Amare wasn’t done schooling the rookie. Both of them started the fourth, and right away Stoudemire did a beautiful spin move and ball fake, channeling ’94 Hakeem Olajuwon, and finished with an easy jump shot, as Blair looked on from the other side of the paint.

In game one, Blair got crossed, put on a poster, and shaked out of his shoes, but there’s no need to worry. This is what the Suns do. They wear you down with their offense moves and their transition game. Blair will be fine. After watching some game one film, as well as some classic Hakeem Olajuwon tapes, he’ll come back in game two ready to get his revenge on Stoudemire.