San Antonio Spurs Defeat Golden State Warriors, Tim Duncan Benched

San Antonio Spurs center Tim Duncan is guaranteed a spot in the NBA Hall of Fame some day. Considering that he’s one of the best in the history of basketball, one would expect there to be some sort of ego. That’s not the case with the Wake Forest Demon Deacons star. Duncan is more than willing to do whatever it takes for his team to win. According to ESPN, the legendary big man accepted a role off the bench against the Golden State Warriors in one of the biggest games of the year on Saturday night.

To NBA fans, the game between the San Antonio Spurs and Golden State Warriors was a must-see event. It featured the top two teams in the National Basketball Association battling it out to see who the best was. To many, it was a preview of what is most likely to be a seven-game series in the Western Conference Finals. To Tim Duncan, however, it was just another game. That’s how Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich has trained his guys to believe for years.

San Antonio Spurs center LaMarcus Aldridge
Rather than putting his five best players on the court to start the game, Gregg Popovich decided to put the five players who would give the advantage to the San Antonio Spurs. Egos were checked at the door, and it ended up bringing a victory over the Golden State Warriors. Popovich saw that the Warriors were forced to go with a smaller lineup because of injuries, so he decided to do the same thing with his team.

Andrew Bogut suffered a toe injury during a game against the Dallas Mavericks on Friday. He wasn’t going to be available on Saturday. Brandon Rush was inserted into the starting lineup at small forward. Harrison Barnes moved from small forward to power forward, while the 6’7″, 230 pound Draymond Green moved from power forward to center. Not wanting Tim Duncan or LaMarcus Aldridge to chase after Barnes on the perimeter, Gregg Popovich inserted Boris Diaw into the lineup in place of Duncan.

San Antonio Spurs forward Boris Diaw
The move worked out pretty well for the San Antonio Spurs. Not only was Boris Diaw able to defend Harrison Barnes on the perimeter pretty well, Gregg Popovich also made Diaw an asset on offense by utilizing him in the low post. As strong of a defender as Barnes is, Diaw was just too savvy in the low blocks. Not only did he use his post moves to put up points, but Diaw was able to initiate the offense for the perimeter players.

With the San Antonio Spurs only needing one big man on the floor, sacrifices were made. David West only played eight minutes, and he was more than fine with that. The 6’9″, 250 pound forward has spent years in the NBA, and he was more than willing to join the Spurs for the chance to compete for a championship. Tim Duncan only received eight minutes as well, and he was fine with getting the rest because San Antonio walked away with the much-needed victory.

San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich
The top two stars for the Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs dictated the outcome of the game. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson missed 27 out of 38 shots taken, including 17 out of 19 from the three point line. Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge, on the other hand, combined for 44 points and 17 rebounds. If that happens in the NBA Playoffs, then there’s no guarantees that the Warriors beat the Spurs in a seven-game series.

With the victory, the San Antonio Spurs push the Golden State Warriors a little bit further from matching the Chicago Bulls. It also makes their next game something that NBA fans cannot miss.

[Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images]