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Boris Diaw’s defense slowed LeBron down. I know, right?

Jun 17, 2013, 10:56 AM EDT

San Antonio Spurs' Duncan congratulates teammate Diaw during a time out during first quarter play against the Miami Heat in Game 5 of their NBA Finals basketball series in San Antonio Reuters

SAN ANTONIO — The MVPs for the Spurs Game 5 win you know — Manu Ginobili came back like the prodigal son to have a huge game, Danny Green knocked down any shot given inside the San Antonio city limits, and Tony Parker continues to be the guy who should get the Finals MVP award if the Spurs win because he makes it all go for them.

But Boris Diaw’s defense on LeBron James also was key.

Yes, you read that right. Diaw’s defense on LeBron in the second half was key — LeBron shot just 1-of-8 over the big Frenchman.

“Boris is a pretty good defender,” Tony Parker said after the game. “He looks awkward, but he gets the job done. Every time in Europe he guards guys like that, the Kirilenkos, stuff like that, the fours who can’t really move.

“I think it gives a different look for LeBron. Kawhi (Leonard) is doing a great job. The whole team we’re trying to do a good job. I think Boris, we have confidence in him that for a couple of minutes he can do a good job.”

Kawhi Leonard has been doing a good job, but LeBron was attacking for much of the game and Diaw was oddly better suited to deal with that.

Diaw, 6’8” with a body by Whataburger, would stand a few feet off LeBron, put his long arm out to contest a jumper and try to make it hard to drive the lane. LeBron is strong, when he drives he bullies his way to the rim with his shoulder. Diaw’s size lets him absorb that contact in a way Leonard or Gary Neal cannot.

Diaw was on LeBron through the late third quarter and early fourth quarter stretch when the Spurs went on a run to pull away and basically put the game away. LeBron had a free throw in there but little more.

You can’t stop LeBron with one player or one look — Diaw got beat a couple of times but Tiago Splitter and Tim Duncan had time to get over and help (you can’t drive around Diaw quickly).

Nobody stops LeBron but the Spurs have contained him this series, for the most part, by throwing a lot of different looks at him — the long and athletic Leonard, the strong Gary Neal, the big body of Diaw. The Spurs bring the doubles in the post on LeBron and make him a passer as much as they can (they will live with the Mario Chalmers three over the LeBron dunk).

It has worked. Expect more Diaw on LeBron in Game 6, and if it works again the Spurs may be hanging out with Larry O’Brien after the game Tuesday.

  1. elwaysagenius - Jun 17, 2013 at 11:14 AM

    So surprising you spelt his name wrong

  2. dolphindubs - Jun 17, 2013 at 11:18 AM

    @elwaysagenius

    So surprising you spelled “spelled” wrong

    • selowitch - Jun 17, 2013 at 12:01 PM

      Although “spelt” may be an antiquated spelling of “spelled,” it’s perfectly legitimate. Your smugness in correcting elwaysagenius incorrectly is duly noted.

    • azarkhan - Jun 17, 2013 at 12:04 PM

      Both versions are correct. “Spelled” is simply used more often in America.

  3. cantonbound13 - Jun 17, 2013 at 11:24 AM

    Nobody stops LeBron? Check out his career stats in the Finals & you will change that stupid comment. You can always tell when Kurt writes a story or someone else.

    • Kurt Helin - Jun 17, 2013 at 9:38 PM

      Stopped? LeBron has been contained much this series but not stopped. You may need to brush up on the definition of the word stop.

      • cantonbound13 - Jun 18, 2013 at 5:38 AM

        He shoots 43% from the field in his career in the Finals. He is only averaging 22 ppg for his career in the Finals. His career record in the Finals is 8-12. He’s only 8-8 playing along side 2 other all stars! 30% of his career Finals games he failed to score 20 points in a game. In 15 of the 20 Finals games played he failed to shoot 50% from the field. When the person is an alleged super star or “king” I think those stats prove he’s being more than contained.

    • omahakidw - Jun 20, 2013 at 2:04 PM

      Let me see….game 6 LeBron has another “Triple-Double”. Got it now Diaw Splitter, Lenard, all of them did an excellent job with their defense on him. Then tonight they should do an excellent job with that same stragety.

      • cantonbound13 - Jun 20, 2013 at 2:08 PM

        Still didn’t shoot over 50% from the field. Did you see the last 1:20 of the game? 3 bricks, 2 turnovers! He would have been the goat if Allen didn’t hit that 3.

  4. explosionsauce - Jun 17, 2013 at 11:32 AM

    Lebron is a good player but he doesn’t show greatness when it counts. He quite simply put doesn’t look dominant and it appears Wade wants the ring more than he does. D Wade has stepped up his game, all lebron has stepped up is his proclamations about being a leader and it falling on his shoulders. A little less talk, a little more action. He doesn’t look like the best player in the finals, let alone the world.

    • cantonbound13 - Jun 17, 2013 at 11:42 AM

      He’s the NBAs version of A-Rod. Solid regular season numbers but chokes in the post season. He has 1 ring but needed to team up with established all stars to get it. There also is the PED use similarity but that will be proven in time.

      • azarkhan - Jun 17, 2013 at 12:44 PM

        LeBron James is such a choker he choked his way to a championship last year. In his first year with the Heat, he led them to the Finals, where they lost to a better Mavericks team. In what may be his greatest accomplishment, James took a Cleveland team all the way to the finals with players like Boobie Gibson and Žydrūnas Ilgauskas (why not just have a turtle play center?–just as slow but cheaper).

        He’s averaging 21.6 PPG with a 50% shooting percentage against the Spurs (by contrast, Tony Parker is averaging 16.2 PPG in the Finals), while dishing out 6.8 assists and grabbing 10.8 rebounds per game. Plus he’s a 250 pound player who defends everyone on the floor, from point guard to center.

        Yeah, he really sucks. LOL.

      • cwilson6843 - Jun 17, 2013 at 6:09 PM

        Hey now melo teamed up with stoudemire tyson Chandler and jr smith. What have they accomplished? Not even a ECF appearance. Just multiple early exits out the playoffs while the heat been to 3 straight finals since signing together. So don’t talk like that cantonbound. Your team is the biggest joke

      • hickoryhigh - Jun 17, 2013 at 10:13 PM

        @azarkhan

        “Our business in life is not to get ahead of others, but to get ahead of ourselves – to break our own records, to outstrip our yesterday by our today.”
        – Stewart B. Johnson

        LeBron averaged 26.8 on 56.5% shooting during the regular season. So by those measures, he is failing. It doesn’t matter what he does compared to others, it matters what he does compared to what he is capable of.

        And, he doesn’t defend 1-5, especially not in this series. He has gotten abused.

        Great player? Yes. Dominant when it counts? Uh, not so much!

      • omahakidw - Jun 20, 2013 at 2:10 PM

        Your utilizing PES`s (Performance Enhancing Stupidity) period !

    • hickoryhigh - Jun 17, 2013 at 11:50 AM

      That’s not fair, he didn’t JUST step up comments about being a leader, he’s also stepped up comments about his confidence. And as you know, when people have a lot of confidence, they need to prove they have confidence, by telling you how much confidence they have. So when he says he has a lot of confidence, he’s not saying that his confidence is any different than his previous level of confidence, just confirming that he has huge confidence. He’s confident of that.

      • bougin89 - Jun 18, 2013 at 10:58 AM

        Hey Hickoryhigh, just wanted to add to your comment from above:

        “And, he doesn’t defend 1-5, especially not in this series.”

        Couldn’t agree more. I’ve been saying this for a long time now. He doesn’t guard true big men. Also he’s an awesome off ball/helpside defender(I think he’s the best off ball defender in the league) but he’s not a shut down one on one type of defender. If so, why not have him shadow Danny Green or consistently guard Tony Parker? The argument that Lebron guards 1-5 is just not accurate.

    • leeeroooyjeeenkiiins - Jun 17, 2013 at 12:06 PM

      I’m sorry, are we watching the same series? I think you must be watching reruns of when they played the Mavs or something. Because Wade was COMPLETELY invisible during games 1-3, as well as nearly the entire Pacers series. He plays hard when he wants to, and just because he played great in the last 2 doesn’t mean we can simply ignore his play as a whole in these playoffs, which has been lazy and embarrassing the majority of the time. And please don’t bother with the injury excuse either, because after watching games 4 and 5 that’s clearly not a man playing on a bad knee.

      LeBron, on the other hand, has not stepped up, but it’s not for a lack of effort. He simply doesn’t have a good jump shot. It’s solid, sure, but not good enough that he can consistently burn teams with it. The Spurs have recognized this and have learned how to limit him the majority of the time. Quite simply, this is why he will never be on Jordan’s level unless he can learn to shred teams that play off of him. Jordan had no weak point in his game, LeBron still does.

      But let’s not sit here and act like Wade has somehow stepped up and put the team on his back because he finally decided to give full effort for 2 games. So sick of this guy constantly getting a free pass from both the fans and the media, it’s ridiculous.

      • cantonbound13 - Jun 18, 2013 at 5:42 AM

        @ Wilson: you’re comparing an Injured Stodumire, an inconsistan JR Smith, and Tyson no offensive game Chandler to Wade & Bosh, 2 all star starters? You are a moron!

    • omahakidw - Jun 20, 2013 at 2:07 PM

      I agree with your assessment with regard to LeBron`s play. However, when he decides to play he dominates. Just doesn’t have the “killer instinct” Jordan, and Kobe have regarding scoring

  5. brugis23 - Jun 17, 2013 at 11:34 AM

    @genius
    You’ve been owned like I haven’t seen in decades. That was a masterpiece!

  6. losanginsight - Jun 17, 2013 at 12:07 PM

    Hopefully this puts an end to the “lebron can guard every position”talk. She can’t guard T Parker or Duncan. So that’s a PG and a C/PF,depending on what you consider Duncan to be.

  7. lmoneyfresh - Jun 17, 2013 at 12:34 PM

    In Lebron’s defense, it does take a really long time to get around Diaw.

  8. phx1311 - Jun 17, 2013 at 1:41 PM

    a body by whataburger……lmao

  9. bougin89 - Jun 17, 2013 at 2:44 PM

    “I was surprised Diaw wasn’t on the All NBA 1st team defense this year. He’s a lockdown defender.” -said no one

    • omahakidw - Jun 20, 2013 at 2:16 PM

      Really, no one has played this kind of defense since Jordan. His job in game 6 was extraordinary ! LeBron had a forgettable game. Just can`t understand why their is a game 7.

  10. jerrysshadescleaner - Jun 17, 2013 at 2:45 PM

    Big mac did awesome in gm 5, dude special sauced all over lebron

  11. drago2012 - Jun 17, 2013 at 5:12 PM

    Maybe Boris Diaw thought Lebroon was the burger!!!!

  12. gmsingh123 - Jun 17, 2013 at 5:46 PM

    Body by whataburger–even funnier when you realize he made Lebron look like a turdburger.

  13. brotherlove2012 - Jun 17, 2013 at 5:50 PM

    @elwaysagenius
    A grammar nazi got his ass handed back to him … Priceless! LMFAO!!!

  14. jbeagles23 - Jun 17, 2013 at 7:15 PM

    Lebron goes off for over thirty and a triple double game 6 and you’ll all say its because of officiating. Keep hating on the king and hell keep collecting hardware

    • apmn - Jun 17, 2013 at 7:23 PM

      He’s not the king today. He just got shutdown by Boris Diaw. Maybe he will earn that title back tomorrow night, but for now, he ain’t the king.

  15. jbeagles23 - Jun 17, 2013 at 8:06 PM

    I seen excactly one good defensive possession by diaw. These writers put out 6 articles a day and have nothing to talk about so they make stuff up. Ginoblli played like crap for 4 games. No one on the heat shut him down. He just didn’t play well as James did t lastnight

    • cwilson6843 - Jun 17, 2013 at 8:21 PM

      Exactly everyone is quick ro point out lebrons mistakes as if he’s not human. But then they’re all blind to everyone else’s flaws. Like when LeBron and wade said they were fatigued game 1, everyone called it an excuse. Parker says he was fatigued in game 4 and nobody has anything to say. At the end of the day LeBron has more talent in his pinky than all of you waiting and praying for him to fail. Stop hatin and enjoy the best finals you’ve seen in a long time

    • apmn - Jun 18, 2013 at 12:52 PM

      “LeBron shot just 1-of-8 over the big Frenchman.”

      What is your definition of shut down?

      Also, Ginobili has never been called “King”, so he is allowed to have crappy games.

  16. jbeagles23 - Jun 18, 2013 at 8:00 AM

    No cantonbound you’re a moron. When amare was comming back this year you guaranteed the Knicks would be in the finals. We All remember your talk months ago when the Knicks were relevant for that week or so. Melo putting up 36 shots to get 30 points lol. Pretty sure the Knicks need a pg/she/sf/pf/c this offseason because with that squad thy have now they’ll never get out of the first round again

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