Tuesday's satisfying win against the Clips raised a lot of questions, to me, about the rotation and which combinations Pop will use next. Before I hit you with a ton of my own opinions and predictions, you're provided some nice visual box scores of the first three games from Popcornmachine.net. Press down and B to jump.In last night's win over the Clippers we saw Splitter for the first time and Neal for the most time yet - after getting 18 minutes straight to end the NOH game he came in for Manu in the 1st vs. LA. He did well enough to make us wonder if this will be a regular thing for him. Anderson got a promising and balanced 20 minutes, mostly while RJ was resting.
The black bars next to a player's name show when they played and with whom. The black and blue bars above and below the line graph are the runs in the game.
The deep bench was really the force behind the LAC win, or at least the effort to turn the deficit around. When the starters came back in in the second and as a group in the third, they did better and even added to the lead. It was again the bench that made the big push though and turned it into a blowout.
Here the starters and first bench did well, but the lead they built was destroyed by Chris Paul and the Hornet's deep bench rotation. Unlike the bugs the Spurs went with a pivot bench this game - first Duncan and Parker stayed on the court with the 3-man bench, then Manu and Blair subbed them out and played with the same threesome.
Unfortunately the Manu-Blair-bench lineup didn't fare as well, and we were back to scrapping for even headed to the half. For the third the Hornets reversed what happened to start the game, and their starters beat ours by 9 where we went up by 6 the first time. Okafor stayed in the game this time and was effective along with Paul and West.
The comeback attempt was the first madman small-ball lineup of the year - Blair RJ Manu Hill and Neal. A lot of people think Pop went with this group to send a message to Tony and Tim, but I don't. It almost got us back in the lead, and we started doing great as soon as RJ went in (as the four, natch). Below is the opening day win vs. IND.
As you can see we went with more of a deep bench on opening night, four guys and Tony. Pop didn't just go nuts over Anderson, his big minutes in the second half was due to Jefferson foul trouble. Even so he did well in the third and again in his time with the Duncan-Dice-Anderson-Hill-Tony group. This lineup was in for 5 minutes in the fourth and pushed the lead up another 7 points and out of reach for the Pacers.
With only three games to look at, and injuries to the frontcourt playing tricks with the rotation, it's hard to predict what we'll see once everybody's healthy and up to speed. What will the Spurs bench look like? Is Manu still running it, or does he come in and out with the first team now? Does Pop go with a deep rotation or more of a pivot scheme? How do you think things will shake out?