“There is no stop until the board is secured.”
That was Gregg Popovich after Tuesday's Game 5 victory over the Golden State Warriors. It was the first time in the series and only second time in the playoffs they've won the rebounding battle. This series has been particularly rough the San Antonio Spurs have allowed the Warriors to grab over 51 rebounds per game, including 13.4 offensive boards per game.
Make no mistake, the Spurs have done a really good on defense this series, especially on Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, but they're a -31 on the boards for the series. A good example of the Spurs' rebounding woes came in Game 4's overtime loss, when the Warriors grabbed 19 offensive rebounds and converted those in to 16 second chance points.
Game 5, the Spurs seemed to figure out the rebounding, finishing a +2 on the boards (though the Warriors still got 16 second chance points). I think a lot of this has to do with the fact that the Spurs went with two bigs more than usual.
Tiago Splitter's six rebounds were good, but the fact that he played a series high 25 minutes. Six rebounds may not sound like a lot but having an extra big in there helps keeps Carl Landry off the glass. It also means less Harrison Barnes playing power forward. He had zero offensive rebounds in Game Five after averaging 3.3 in the first four games of the series.
With the series shifting to Oakland, it'll be interesting to see if the Spurs can execute the defensive game plan they had in Game 5, and will be very interesting to see if Coach Pop continues to go big, even if their offense suffers a little, though it looked just fine Tuesday night.