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Earning His Spurs: Part Five

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After an inspiring game four performance, it seemed like DeJuan Blair would get some extra minutes in game five. And he did, playing more minutes in game five then any other game this series.

But he didn’t play 14 minutes and 24 seconds because of his game four performance, he played them because apparently every Spur player forgot to pack their game with them on their trip to Dallas. Blair’s stat line for the game: eight points, eight rebounds, four of them offensive, one assist and a turnover.

Blair checked in for the first time with 3:09 left in the first quarter for Tim Duncan and immediately fouled Jason Terry. After collecting a rebound off a Dirk Nowitzki miss, and then a Tony Parker turnover, he fouled Terry again, sending him back to the line.

But Pop kept Blair in and he started the second quarter. Early, he missed a hook shot, but on the next Spurs possession he got his lone assist on a Tony Parker jump shot. Two Dallas possessions later, he fouled Brendan Haywood who was unable to connect on both free throws.

Less then a minute later, he fouled Haywood again, collecting his fourth foul in less then six minutes. Haywood went one for two from the charity strip and Duncan came in to replace Blair. He had one two defensive rebounds, one assist and four fouls.

In the fourth quarter, with all our key players on the bench, and Pop waiving the white flag, this was an excellent opportunity for Blair to get some valuable playing time. And that’s what he did, making the most of his time on the court, even though there was no real shot of a comeback.

Blair came in at the 8:14 mark in the fourth, replacing Matt Bonner and was aggressive from the get go. He completed a three-point play after a J.J. Barea foul. Then, after a missed Bogans three, he collected his first offensive rebound, kicked it back out, and then collected his second offensive rebound in one possession after another missed Bogans three, but was blocked by Haywood on his way up for the score.

After a hard DeShawn Stevenson foul, Blair went one for two from the line. Blair collected his third offensive rebound of the quarter after a Roger Mason miss, and went up strong, scoring his seventh and eighth point. On the next Spurs possession, Blair missed a layup, but grabbed the offensive rebound, his fourth of the quarter, and went back up but missed the basket.

Blair seems to play better and better as the series continues. He has a knack for crashing the offensive glass and its evident with him collecting four in the final period. But I would like to see Blair get some minutes when it matters to see how he reacts in huge situations.

We know he can ball when the white flag is up, but with the game and series on the line, which Blair would show up?

The four fouls in six minutes Blair, or the four offensive rebounds in one quarter Blair. With the momentum shifted back in favor of Dallas, don’t expect a lot of minutes from Blair in game six, a must win.

 

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