In the unlikeliest development of the NBA Finals, Boris Diaw shut down LeBron James in San Antonio’s huge Game 5 win last night.
The stats don’t lie:
- LeBron shot 1-for-8 for 4 points when he was being guarded by Diaw, according to ESPN Stats & Info
- He shot 7-for-14 for 21 points when he was being guarded by anyone else
Everything we know about basketball tells us that this is a one-game anomaly.
For some reason LeBron settled for jumpers when Diaw was in front of him. The average distance for those 8 shots against Diaw was 14 feet, per Stats & Info. If Diaw is guarding him in Game 6, it stands to reason that LeBron will attack the rim the way he did in Game 4.
While Diaw does a lot of things exceptionally well (passing, for one), he has always been viewed as a below-average defender.
So yeah, it might be smart to sell high on Boris.
But regardless of whether it’s sustainable, it’s an undeniable fact that Boris Diaw contained LeBron James in an NBA Finals game … which is insane.
Diaw has been been the butt of a lot of jokes in recent years. He’s a freakishly skilled, 6’8″ Frenchman who actually came into the league as a point guard. But he’s chunkier than your average NBA player, and that has earned him a bad rap in the NBA world.
Diaw was an afterthought in the NBA Finals before last night. He only appeared in three of the five games, and only averaged 10 minutes in those appearances.
But after LeBron torched the smaller Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green in Game 4, Gregg Popovich turned to the big-boned Diaw to try and make things more difficult for LeBron in the paint.
Diaw, amazingly, stepped up to the challenge. He played 27 minutes — the most time he’s seen in a playoff game this year — and he was brilliant.
He’s now a meaningful part of this series (he’s #33):
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