NBA Playoffs, Clippers-Spurs Game 2: The 5 Key Matchups

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DeAndre Jordan vs Tim Duncan

February 18, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; San Antonio Spurs power forward Tim Duncan (21) moves to the basket against Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan (6) during the second half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Jordan was better than most of us expected he would be in game one. Not because he isn’t a great defender, but because we expected the Spurs would simply do more. That includes Tim Duncan going just 4-of-10 from the field and recording only 11 points.

Timmy is still the Godfather of NBA big men, though. Everyone respects him and he’s already regarded as the best power forward of all time.

At least until Blake can dunk on a 15 foot hoop and win eight championships.

And Duncan will make an impact in this series, it just needs to be different to game one.

The best way in which the Spurs can limit the defensive impact of Jordan is by luring him away from the basket. Not only will that stop him rejecting Timmy’s layup attempts and Manu Ginobili’s floaters so damn easily, but it will also give them a chance at grabbing more rebounds over Griffin and the Clippers’ smaller wing players.

My fellow editor here at Fully Clips, Trisity Miller, wrote about the importance of bringing Jordan away from the basket (which you can read here), as it will be essential for San Antonio’s chances to have success in the paint. In addition to targeting Jordan’s defensive assignment with pick-and-rolls to bring him away from the basket, Duncan and Boris Diaw can both be used to stretch the floor.

As Duncan proves whenever he plays the Clippers, Jordan will have to stay within two feet of him, even when he’s playing from the perimeter. Duncan’s 35.6 percent shooting from between 16 feet and the three-point line may not be incredibly efficient, but it’s still enough to keep Jordan out of the paint.

By sacrificing some time down-low, Duncan keeping his distance from the rim will draw Jordan out of his comfort zone, and give the Spurs a better chance to get some easy shots inside. If they do that, it will go a long way in helping San Antonio boost their field goal percentage from the 36.6 it was in game one.