240 minutes. That's the number of minutes that can be distributed amongst players on a given team. Sometimes the difference in a game is between 239 and 240. Last night we saw that 15 minutes can change a game. We also saw that 40 minutes might still not be adequate if you (in this case Manu Ginobili) can't penetrate or hit jump shots. It's no secret I disagree with how Pop has coached these first two games in the series. So what's the solution? Well if I knew that I wouldn't be sitting here would I? Who's the smart guy now?
In game 1 he played Mason and Bonner 25 combined minutes while McDyess was only out there for 19. I realize Phoenix plays with a small lineup and Pop is trying to matchup better with their size. The thing Pop doesn't seem to realize is that when you send out players like Mason and Bonner, who are lower than NBDL level right now, you're counteracting your plans. It doesn't do any good to put Mason or Bonner out there to matchup with Richardson and Dudley/Frye when Mason and Bonner can't defend or hit shots. They're black holes in the sense that they are nothingness. They don't help with matchups because they suck on both ends.
McDyess has been playing well since the end of the season but he still sees limited minutes. I'm not sure why he doesn't get most or all of Bonner's minutes at this point. As he demonstrated last night he can hit open mid-range jump shots. In my book, made 2 > missed 3. That's all Bonner is at this point. A missed 3. So what would I like to see? Something like this:
Duncan: 35-40 minutes He played 37 min and 39 min in games 1 and 2 respectively. They need him down low. Especially when he's being guarded by Amundson.
Parker: 35-40 minutes He needs to start. He takes Nash apart every time they play.
Manu: 35-40 minutes The most important thing is to have good rotations that make it so lineups like hill-manu-bogans-bonner-blair never happen again. This is on Pop to fix.
The Big Three should all play the most obviously as they make or break the team. Now onto the support (or lack thereof)
Hill: 25-32 minutes At least one role player has to step up and signs point to it being Hill. He'll have to spell Manu or Parker assuming Pop gets his head out of his ass with rotations.
McDyess: 27-32 minutes He needs to play. It's as simple as that. I'll go over why he's not a defensive liability against Frye/Dudley in a bit
Jefferson: 30-35 minutes He's one of the more hit-or-miss players but he needs to play more simply because there's no one else
Blair: 16-20 minutes He brings intensity and rebounding, something the Spurs were without in game 2. Rookie mistakes will happen but it's better than Bonner doing nothing out there
That's 203-239 minutes taken. So who gets the rest? That's an excellent question and I'm not sure anyone knows the answer. I think it's obvious Bonner can't deliver with big minutes. I'd be fine with expanding the usual 8-man playoff rotation to include all the scrubs. Let them share the time. HOWEVER, never ever ever put them on the court with the second team. For them to either be effective or less damaging they need to be out there with at least one member of the big three. All of them are defensive liabilities. That's why I think Dice should sub out with Duncan as opposed to the usual Blair sub-in as the quarter winds down. If Bonner is out there, Tim or Dice should be as well. Dice isn't a liability against Frye and Dudley because those guys are pussies who only shoot jump shots. KIND OF LIKE DIRK! The same Dirk who was relatively stifled with Dice's defense. I'm confident Dice can defend any of the Frye/Dudley/Amundson threesome. They're a threesome cuz they're gay. Get it? Moving on...
Basically the scrubs should play, but they need to have supervision. Unless play dictates it I wouldn't play any of them more than 5 minutes each. If it was a perfect world all the guys on my minutes list would play max minutes and not suffer any ill affects. That's 239 minutes. That's the difference between winning and losing.