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Old 10-13-10, 01:43 PM
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Popovich close to nailing down starting five

Popovich close to nailing down starting five
By Jeff McDonald - Express-News
Web Posted: 10/13/2010 12:00 AM CDT

MEXICO CITY — The starting lineup Spurs coach Gregg Popovich trotted out south of the border Tuesday was the same as the one he's used north of it.
But three games into the preseason, Popovich isn't ready to commit to Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, Richard Jefferson, Tim Duncan and DeJuan Blair as his opening-day starting five.

He's feeling better about it by the day, though.

“I want to give it a look and see how I feel about it,” Popovich said before the Spurs' victory over the Los Angeles Clippers at Palacio de los Deportes. “I might make a different lineup for a couple of games, or I might leave it the same if I like it. It's a little early to say, but I like what I've seen so far.”

The most significant moving part is not likely to be Ginobili, a former NBA Sixth Man of the Year, but Blair, a 6-foot-7 second-year center.

Popovich was hesitant to pair Blair with Duncan at times last season, preferring to play his All-Star power forward with big men who can spread the floor.

Can Duncan and Blair co-exist? Popovich need only look at his 2007 NBA title team, which often paired Fabricio Oberto with Duncan in the frontcourt.

“If Timmy can play with Fab, he can play with DB,” Popovich said. “Those guys are similar, in that neither were really shooters.”
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