Earning his Spurs: Part 6


If there was ever a must win, game six was it. And thankfully, the Spurs came through with an incredible victory. With so much on the line for game six, it was obvious that Popovich would give Blair limited minutes, and with Tim Duncan playing 43 minutes, that’s exactly what happened. Blair played five minutes in game six, finishing four points and no rebounds. He was two for three from the field.

Blair entered that game at the 3:42 mark in the first quarter for Duncan. Right away he was aggressive, attacking the basket and making a right handed hook shot over the taller Dirk Nowitzki. On the next Dallas possession, J.J. Berea missed a lay-up and Hill grabbed the rebound and started running. Leading the fast break was none other then Blair. However, Hill dished it to Parker for the lay-in, but Blair would have been their to clean up the trash.

Blair and Parker worked the pick and roll nicley throughout the game. Parker fed Blair the ball off a beautiful pick and roll but Blair missed the easy lay-in and fouled Nowtizki on the rebound. Duncan then came in for Blair with 56 seconds left in the first.

With 5:16 left in the second, Blair would come in to give Duncan a rest. Parker and Blair worked the pick and roll to perfection leading to a Blair dunk and Nowitzki on the new DeJuan Blair poster. Blair was then replaced by Richard Jefferson. He didn’t play a minute in the second half, except for that last 16 seconds when Pop put him in to secure rebounds.

For a rookie in his first playoff series and playing limited time, Blair did a great job. He was instinet energy off the bench and helped spark the Spurs in key moments, while giving Duncan valuable minutes on the bench. For the series, he averaged 4.2 points and 4.3 rebounds in nine minutes per game. He only played a total of 54 minutes through the entire series, but he still collected 14 offensive rebounds, which is only four less the Brendan Haywood, who played 139 minutes. He collected twice as many offensive rebounds as Nowitzki who only had seven in the 233 minutes he played.

Now, the young rookie out of Pitt will be up against the high flying offense of the Phoenix Suns. Blair has played well in the three meetings this year against the Suns. In three games against Phoenix this season, Blair is averaging 10.6 points and seven rebounds while shooting 51 percent from the floor in 15 minutes per contest.

With one playoff series under his belt and the butterflies gone, Blair looks to have a great series against the Suns. It’ll be interesting to see if he gets more minutes the round. But no matter how many minutes Blair plays, we know he will do his best every second he is on the court.