It’s hard to remember that in Game 1 of the Spurs-Thunder series, the Spurs positively blew out the Thunder 124-92. Watching the Thunder hammer San Antonio in Game 6, that didn’t seem possible. But the great (and 40-year-old) Tim Duncan seemed to have misplaced the keys to his time machine. And with the Thunder running and gunning for stretches of unanswered points after a good Spurs start, Coach Popovich looked everywhere for relief. Tony Parker played only 23 minutes. Popovich tried the giant Boban Marjonovic in hopes of stemming the effects of the Thunder’s huge, fiercely aggressive frontcourt featuring Steven Adams, Serge Ibaka and Enes Kanter.
It didn’t work. With the Spurs under assault, Popovich tried lineups that hadn’t played much together at all. Popovich kept trying things. Yet every time Tim Duncan went to the bench and the camera gazed at him in swansong light, he sat next to Boris Diaw. Boris Diaw is the one thing Popovich didn’t try. “DNP (Did Not Play – Coach’s Decision)” sits next to Diaw’s name in the Spurs miserable box score this morning. Why? Diaw missed minutes with an abductor strain late in regular season, but he was getting valuable minutes in the playoffs. He couldn’t get in the game against OKC. Nothing was working for San Antonio, so why would Coach Popovich not try Diaw? Everybody knows better than to question Popovich, but Spurs fans had seen Diaw deliver before. He must have been hurt. In Game 4 Diaw had 11 points in 21 minutes, shooting 5-of-8.