Be sure to check out the first 13 parts of the series if you missed some of them the first time around.
I've really come to appreciate Tiago Splitter's passing ability. He was great in the playoffs and while he only racked up one and half assists a game in the regular season he became a master of hitting a cutter with well-timed and well-placed passes. Tiago isn't exactly a featured piece of the Spurs offense, but he's a great roll man, sets solid picks, and he sure has a good feel for the game. Here we go.
We'll see a lot of bounce passes out of the post to a cutting Spur in this edition, so don't put too much thought into the order here. They're all good, and while he might not make the spectacularly creative passes that The Manu routinely blesses us with, there is a subtle beauty in his consistent excellence. Here he teams up with Tony Parker as the Clippers are really focused on Tiago going to work in the post (perhaps the need a new scouting report.) Darren Collison takes his eyes off of Tony in the corner for entirely too long and the Frenchman is in the paint before Collison sees what is happening. Splitter feeds Parker with a sly bouncer and there is nothing the Clips can do to keep points off the scoreboard.
Here Tiago receives the ball at the elbow and Marco Belinelli makes for the hoop from the corner while Splitter does two things. He forces Steven Adams to move a step further away from the basket and creates a wider passing angle at the same time. Then it's just another bounce pass between the two Thunder defenders and Marco gets an easy bucket.
Tiago draws a double team down low on the left side of the paint and has Danny Green open in the corner and Manu Ginobili darting through the lane. Tiago goes to Gino with a patient and just about perfect pass that leads to a Manu flush.
Here's the patient Splitter again. He finds Patty Mills making his way through the lane with inside position on Jose Calderon. Patty finishes with a really pretty reverse.
Tiago's doubled in the paint and he hits the trailing Tim Duncan with a reverse-ish sideways bounce pass. The pass is a little behind Duncan but Big Fun manages to make it work and gets a lefty layup to drop.
Tiago's not just a bounce-pass-out-of-the-post kind of guy, he's also an excellent dive-man and a deft touch-passer. Splitter and Mills run a high pick-and-roll, Mills makes a jump pass to Splits, and the big Brazilian immediately slings the rock to Boris Diaw for a simple layup. The Spurs' offense was fun to watch all season with their fluid sharing of the ball.
The Spurs were in a tight one with the Dubs and late in the game Boris and Splitter team up to give the good guys a three-point lead. Boris dishes to Tiago who draws Andrew Bogut and David Lee into the air with a slight fake. With both defenders airborne Tiago shovels a pass to Bobo and the big Frenchman throws down a monster two-hand jam.
Every game in the Portland series was won by the team that scored first. Here's Tony Parker dishing to Tiago Splitter, who encounters resistance in the lane but finds Tim Duncan on the right block for an easy bucket. That's a great pass in a clogged lane and credit to Timmy for moving a couple of steps away from the baseline to give Sparkles an out. Great awareness from the San Antonio bigs.
Tiago makes it look so easy here out of the elbow. Again he shows nice patience and it helps when the guy you're getting the ball to is one of the great finishers in the league. Splitter perfectly places the ball for Tony to do what he does best -- score. Notice that there are four Warriors in the paint when Parker gets the ball. No problem.
Here's Tiago making a great entry pass to big Tim. Dejuan Blair is fronting the legend and Tony swings the ball to Splits at the top of the key and the Brazilian quickly lobs it to Duncan who easily scores.
Stay tuned for the next installment.