2) Continue to rely on “Tiago Island” and the Land Walrus’ Defense on Dirk
Yes, Tiago Island is now a thing. Not really, but if Tiago Splitter continues to display his defensive prowess like he did against Dirk in Game 1, then maybe we’ll have to start making tee shirts. As ProjectSpurs notes, the Spurs primarily relied on single coverage against Dirk through the first three quarters of Game 1 before throwing some sporadic double teams at him during the fourth quarter.
Splitter and Boris Diaw were used as the primary defenders against Dirk, which worked as close to perfect as possible with Dirk finishing the night shooting a putrid 4-14 from the field while finishing with 11 points (the same amount of points as Brandon Wright, mind you). On the night Dirk finished a paltry 1-5 shooting against Splitter and 3-5 against Diaw.
The fact that the Spurs can throw out either Splitter or Diaw on Nowitzki is a huge plus for the Spurs. Splitter has the length and defensive fortitude to guard Nowitzki out on the wing while Diaw has the “quickness” (or whatever you want to call it) and girth to hold his ground against the self-proclaimed “7 foot schnitzel.”
After the game when talking about defending Dirk, Tiago noted that, “You know just try to be in front of him, did not (need) help much. It’s like um, you just guard him and forget about the rest of the game. That’s what you do when you have to guard him.” While this is not the most coherent English sentence ever, if the Spurs can continue to rely on single coverage against Dirk by utilizing Tiago Island or the Land Walrus, the Spurs should be in good shape not only in Game 2 but also the rest of the series.
Tags: San Antonio Spurs