Commonly appreciated for being 6'10" and one of the best three point shooters in the NBA, Bonner's making his money against the Los Angeles Lakers not just from the work he's doing above the arc, but also the work he's putting in down low against Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol.
He played sparingly for most of the regular season, but with Boris Diaw out and Stephen Jackson cut, the Spurs were left with no other choice but to give Bonner an increased roll in the first round. It was a dicey proposition heading in to the series, but after two games, Bonner has held his ground against Howard and Gasol. After game 2, Head coach Gregg Popovich praised Bonner's work on defense against Howard.
"Matty's a tough-minded individual. He's a heck of a competitor and a great team guy. He'll do whatever we ask him to do. I think his family worries about him and the things we ask him to do out there," Popovich said. "He did everything he could. Obviously, he's outmatched physically, but he never stopped working. That's for sure. He was a big part of what we did tonight."
That Bonner's a terrible defender is one of those assumptions that's not entirely true anymore. He's still not good against guys especially in space, especially super duper athletes like Blake Griffin, but he's become a very good post defender in the last few years. So he still might get dunked on every now and then, but he's less likely to give up really good positioning in the post than you'd think.
The other half of Bonner's play that's been a surprise is Bonner's scoring. Through his first two games, Coach B is averaging 10 points on 64 percent shooting and 75 percent shooting from 3. So he's been able to turn what should've been a mismatch for the Lakers into an advantage for the Spurs. However, these numbers fly in the face of everything we've some from Bonner in playoff's past. As Andrew McNeill of 48 Minutes of Hell pointed out, Bonner's hot start may be due to the fact that he hasn't faced a team that's been super aggressive in running him off the three point line.
What Bonner does next round doesn't matter now, what matters is he and Coach Pop have figured about how to make him a concern for the Los Angeles Lakers instead of the other way around.