The first two games of the Western Conference Finals featured a parade to the rim for the Spurs, thanks to a size advantage inside against a Thunder team that was without its rim protector in Serge Ibaka.
Ibaka returned for Games 3 and 4, however, and his presence immediately put a stop to what the Spurs had been doing so successfully.
After getting beaten handily in Oklahoma City the past two games, and with a final chance at home to reclaim control of the series before it’s too late, Gregg Popovich is making a change in his lineup to try to reverse the recent trend.
Matt Bonner is getting the start and Tiago Splitter will come off the bench, according to multiple reports.
Bonner averaged less than six minutes per game through the first three in this series, but played well in extended garbage time in Game 4, scoring eight points in 16 minutes as part of a group that cut into a lead that had reached as many as 27 points.
What Bonner should do is provide more spacing for the Spurs offensively, and theoretically draw Ibaka out of the paint defensively if in fact that’s the way Oklahoma City decides to match up.
Either way, it’s an interesting decision by Popovich, and one that’s understandably a little bit desperate given all that’s at stake. Bonner hasn’t started a single game for the Spurs this season, and averaged just 11.3 minutes per contest in 61 regular season appearances.
Alan Anderson had surgery last May on his left ankle to remove some bone spurs. This wasn’t seen as anything major, so the Washington Wizards signed him to a deal and are counting on him to bring some versatility and depth to their wings.
However, that same ankle has bothered him since the opening of training camp and on Tuesday the Wizards announced that he had undergone another surgery to “remove a small bony fragment in his left ankle.”
There is no timetable for his return.
The Wizards liked Anderson because of his shooting and versatility — he can play the two, three or four depending on the lineup. The Wizards are counting on a combination of Otto Porter, Jared Dudley, and Anderson to fill the void left by Paul Pierce.
But they are going to have to wait a little while for Anderson to join the party.
Kevin Garnett is as good a trash talker as there is in the NBA right now. He’s one of the games’ legendary talkers.
And he welcomed Bulls rookie Bobby Portis to the NBA in his own special way during Saturday’s Chicago/Minnesota preseason game. From Vincent Goodwill of CSNChicago.com.
Beautiful use of the Honey Nut Cheerios reference.
Hoiberg was a teammate of KG’s back in Minnesota from 2003-2005. Hoiberg did nothing but praise Garnett after the game. He’s probably good with KG pushing Portis.
Watch out for Portis this season, he’s going to show he shouldn’t have fallen so far down the board.