The Thunder kept Serge Ibaka glued to the paint and dared Boris Diaw to beat them from deep. He started off a little cool, and he hit just one of his first four attempts from behind the arc. This is the third of those four and it comes from a nice dish from Manu Ginobili to the wide open Frenchman. Early on Boris did punish the Thunder by working in the post, drawing fouls against Ibaka and Derek Fisher in the first quarter for trips to the free throw line.
"Okay, I've got this, just back him down. I'm way bigger than this little man, and I've got skills." Boris thought as he backed Reggie Jackson down 30 feet from the basket. "Haha! He'll never expect this! Drive big man, drive! There we go, up, c'mooonnn." The ball gently traveled toward the basket, but it caught the front of the iron. "Dang!" The ball hits the backboard and Reggie gets his hand on the ball, but Timmy gets a piece of it, and it bounces right back into Bobo's reach. "Aha! Everything is coming up Boris. Now to just flip it in. Oui."
Here we see Russell Westbrook throw a hard elbow into Tim Duncan and stop playing long enough to bark at the official. This allows Cory Joseph to throw a pass to our man Boris at the right wing for his second triple of the game. Not even those amazing SportsVu cameras will catch that secondary assist from Russ.
With the shot clock winding down the Spurs went to the French big man to bail them out. It's Jackson again, and this time Boris doesn't have enough time to back anyone down, so he just takes it right at Jackson, going around him and finishing with a hop-step floater over Nick Collison.
Do doubt you've seen this one already, but check out Boris' hands. He knows it's coming, lines it up, and knocks it down. This was a big shot and if Boris had missed it I think we all would have held it against him a little bit. Instead, we'll remember this one forever.
Boris gets an easy two points when Duncan passes out of the post to a cutting Kawhi. Derek Fisher steps up to contest Whi, and the young small forward makes a nice pass to Bobo for the bucket.
Many times Boris was just there to make the best of what was presented. The Thunder have trouble communicating and that leads to a wide open Diaw dunk. Nice quick passing from Belinelli and Kawhi Leonard, and of course that bullet from Manu was spectacular.
Diaw vs. Fisher in the post. I'm not sure there's anything I like seeing more. What is Derek Fisher supposed to do in this situation? Diaw backs down Fish with three dribbles before turning over his right shoulder and putting two up for the good guys with a nice hook.
Boris maybe should have taken the open layup that he had, but maybe he thought that Ibaka could get to it. Instead he makes a nice shovel pass to Manu coming down the baseline. Two points is two points.
Check out this sweet pass from Boris to Tony Parker. Diaw drives into the lane which draws Ibaka in to help. Tony sees that and moves to the corner where he is a competent shooter. Diaw sees him, makes a great pass that leads Tony, and the Spurs get three more points.
More Boris Diaw coverage:
Brunno Passos calls Boris the Mismatch Maker and,
In the finals, he will create problems for Heat defenders that will create scoring opportunities for the Spurs..
DewNo calls Boris the coolest, craziest guy.
And so, on one play, he started at the top of the key and sort of lost his dribble: the ball was about 3 feet away from his body. And yet he spun and continued to dribble. And, as he spun, he moved forward towards the rim; forming one oscillation in a sort of ponderous time helix, moving at 20 feet per rotation and one rotation every 5 seconds.
I wrote a couple of articles about the fantastic Frenchman this season. There's a video mix of him to some old school funk in What's gotten into Boris Diaw? And I made a case for him as sixth man of the year. An excerpt from that one,
This is the season of Boris Diaw. It's clear that the Spurs need Tim, Tony, and Kawhi healthy to have a shot, but it's Diaw that is the key. It's been his progression from pass-first big to aggressive offensive weapon that helped Tim keep the team afloat as injuries decimated it. It's his ability to do whatever it is that the Spurs need of him that makes this team better than they were last season. It's the difficulty in scouting him that presents other teams with a question that is impossible to answer. It doesn't matter how much tape the opposing coaches break down of the big man, because Boris doesn't rely on any set plays or pet-moves. He plays jazz-ball, reacting to the action on the court, soloing when it seems the best course of action, or just laying back and making the game easier for his teammates by doing all of the little things at a high level. It is his versatility, basketball IQ and creative genius that make this special player the most important x-factor for the best bench in the league.