Should San Antonio Spurs Replace Tim Duncan In Game 5?
By Michael Rehome
Over his last three playoff games against Oklahoma City, San Antonio Spurs Tim Duncan has fallen off tremendously on the offensive side of the ball. Is it time for the Spurs to start Boris Diaw or David West in his place?
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Just one year ago, Duncan was playing lights out in the playoffs. He looked reenergized as he averaged just under 18 points a game. What a difference a year makes. This post-season, especially during the series with the Thunder, Duncan has been extinct from games.
In his recent performance, 12-minutes, Duncan did not attempt a single shot in the Spurs 111-97 loss in game four–which tied the series at two apiece. It definitely was a game for Duncan to forget about. He went scoreless and committed four fouls.
This may have been his worst performance of the series thus far, given his last two games prior are really close. In his last three games in the series, Duncan has four points…..four. In game three he attempted eight shots and made one, while in game four he took four shots and made one.
Now that the series is tied and game five is back in San Antonio, is now the time for Gregg Popovich to make a change and have Duncan come off the bench? Two players that have been putting in some good production off of the bench this series are Boris Diaw and David West.
Apr 30, 2016; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs center Boris Diaw (33) shoots the ball as Oklahoma City Thunder power forward Nick Collison (4) defends in game one of the second round of the NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
Diaw and West combined for 19 points on 9-of-18 shooting from the floor. Both players were put in late game situations in game four while Duncan was seen sitting on the bench. Diaw would probably be the better choice to start in place of Duncan. Between he and West, he has more of an advantage of creating his shots more than West could. Diaw also can bring the defense out on the perimeter if he is hitting the mid-range to 3-pt shots.
Spurs have their back against a wall. With Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge carrying the scoring load for the team, they did not get much production from Danny Green (0-for-3) either, who was held scoreless.
There is no doubt that Duncan is a key player in the Spurs’ run in the playoffs, but right now, the Thunder are taking full advantage of him when he is out on the floor. The Thunder big men, Steven Adams and Enes Kanter, are making the game miserable for Duncan if he is pitted against one of them.
Diaw and West can provide the strength and physical play against the Thunder bigs. It is hard to sit an think that Duncan’s career is coming to an end. With his recent play lately, it is fading and that is hard to see.
The time to make a change in the lineup needs to happen in game 5. Duncan is a future Hall of Famer, there is no doubt in that. He too would be the first to step aside and do what he can to put this team in position to win. If it means to sit, he will do so. In fact, he did during a game against the Golden State Warriors earlier in the year.
What do you think Spurs fans. Should Popovich make a change in starting Diaw or West? Let us know in the comment section below.