Throughout the 2010 San Antonio Spurs playoff run, I will be keeping a close eye on Spurs' rookie DeJuan Blair. Basically documenting his first NBA playoff experience. I will be giving my thoughts on his performances in the post-season and seeing how he responds to the pressure. Enjoy!
The playoffs. What a great opportunity for young player to showcase their capabilities on the biggest stage and at the highest level. Scoring champion Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder played in his first playoff game on Sunday and finished with 24 points, and rookie Brandon Jennings of the Milwaukee Bucks scored 34 points in his first post-season appearance. But the only player I was really looking forward to watching play in their first playoff game was Spurs' rookie DeJuan Blair.
However, unlike Jennings and Durant, who both played over 40 minutes in their first playoff game, Blair only played eight minutes, mainly coming in to give Tim Duncan a breather.
Blair's stat line: 7:56, 2-2 from the field, two rebounds (one offensive, one defensive), one assist, one blocked shot and four points.
His block was the only block of the game for the Silver and Black and noticeably his rebounds numbers were lacking. Again, mainly due to the lack of playing time.
He also had a tremendous dunk on Dallas' Dirk Nowitzki; however on the other end, he made a careless foul on Mavericks' Brendan Haywood which gave Haywood the "and 1."
With Tim Duncan playing over 40 minutes a game this postseason, it doesn't look like Blair will get a lot of minutes. Especially since Blair averaged nearly two turnovers a game in the regular season. But the Spurs were out rebounded 37 to 45, and 13 of the Mavericks rebounds were offensive. So let's see if Spurs' coach Popovich decides to give Blair some more minutes and doesn't sit him like he does to most young players for the Spurs.
With additional minutes, Blair will definitely help clean up the glass. Let's not forget, during the last game of the regular season against this same Dallas team, he grabbed 23 rebounds.
Come back after game two to see what Blair does against the Dallas Mavericks as I chronicle his first NBA playoffs in part II of "Earning his Spurs."