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San Antonio Spurs: Let’s give Derrick White meaningful minutes in Game 2

By Rob Wolkenbrod
OAKLAND, CA - APRIL 14: Derrick White #4 of the San Antonio Spurs goes to the basket against the Golden State Warriors in Game One of Round One of the 2018 NBA Playoffs on April 14, 2018 at ORACLE Arena in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - APRIL 14: Derrick White #4 of the San Antonio Spurs goes to the basket against the Golden State Warriors in Game One of Round One of the 2018 NBA Playoffs on April 14, 2018 at ORACLE Arena in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)
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The San Antonio Spurs fell in a lopsided defeat to the Golden State Warriors. Giving Derrick White meaningful minutes in Game 2 can be one of multiple adjustments.

Game 1 of the 2018 NBA playoffs proved brutal for the San Antonio Spurs, who suffered a blowout loss to the Golden State Warriors, 113-92. The score at times seemed worse than a 21-point defeat, since Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson bulldozed their way through the Spurs defense and led to the team shooting 54.3 percent from the field.

The opposition was not the only problem, as the Spurs backcourt struggled to score points and get shots off. Danny Green, Patty Mills and Dejounte Murray combined for 16 field goal attempts as all three played over 20 minutes each; Murray’s 8 points led the group.

Behind them was Tony Parker 2 points on 1-for-8 shooting, finding difficulties against an athletic Warriors backcourt. Manu Ginobili had 9 minutes, but did not play enough to be impactful towards the game’s final score. However, there was Derrick White, the rookie guard that bounced between the G League and NBA this season. He received meaningless minutes, scoring 7 points on 3-for-6 shooting, including one block that would have looked better if in a crucial (or when this was not a blowout) part of the game.

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Derrick White making the most of his playoff debutpic.twitter.com/9ttCecvGt7

— Tom Petrini (@RealTomPetrini) April 14, 2018

So here’s a question: is it time to “unleash” White in Game 2?

Some of Game 1’s production came against the Warriors’ non-starters and all in garbage time, which consumed the fourth quarter. While it may not indicate anything meaningful for the Colorado product, he at least showed energy and rose to the occasion when called upon. He’s an added scoring presence off the bench, as well, to potentially contribute to combatting Golden State’s shooting prowess.

As Cole Zwicker of The Step Back noted, there’s more upside for the Spurs to use White over Murray, Mills, Parker and Bryn Forbes, due to this group’s one-way play.

Derrick White can hoop. In theory might be the Spurs' best non-Manu/DG guard option in this series. The rest of their guards are one-way guys (Murray on D, Mills/Parker/Forbes on O). Hard for Murray to survive on O against a team like this.

— Cole Zwicker (@colezwicker) April 14, 2018

Frankly, it’s a just fresh piece to the puzzle that shakes things up after an uninspiring performance. Anything to change what happened at Oracle Arena and provide a different look to win Game 2.

Of course, it’s not just one player that can take down Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and JaVale McGee, who became the game’s surprise difference-maker. The Spurs need a better performance from LaMarcus Aldridge and his 5-for-12 shooting, along with another backout player to break out on Monday night.

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However, in what’s always a must-win situation — the playoffs — does San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich make the change to infuse a youthful presence? Adjustments may come after a lopsided game, and a Kawhi Leonard arrival will not be one of them. It must come from within, but there’s only so much that can be done with a roster that looked outmatched on not just Saturday afternoon, but the first three matchups against Golden State this season (the fourth game did not have Durant, Green, Thompson and Stephen Curry). So, what will be done?

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