Paul Silas, the former Charlotte Bobcats coach who worked so hard as a player, once told me that if he had Boris Diaw's talent he'd be in the Hall of Fame.
Diaw (shown on the right in the photo), who played for Silas in Charlotte, offers slick inside moves, handles the ball, shoots all right and is an outstanding passer. When he plays hard, he can be outstanding. But he isn't driven the way some people are.
Diaw, however, added a quality to his game against Miami Sunday. He became a shutdown defender. He was often matched against LeBron James. According to ESPN, Diaw held james to one field goal in nine field goal attempts. LeBron was one of eight.
I never understood Diaw but I like him. He was always gracious and courteous, and his game evolved.
He was a high-flyer when he came to the NBA from France. He doesn't fly anymore. He looks more like a 6-8 nose tackle than a nimble forward. But he provides a nice alternative for the Spurs.
And, unlike fellow former Bobcat and Spur Stephen Jackson, he doesn't complain about the absence of playing time.
I picked Miami before the NBA Finals and I'll stick with the Heat. As is their custom, the Heat probably will come out roaring after their loss and push the series to game seven in Miami.
But San Antonio's poise is remarkable, as is their ability to surprise. Manu Ginobili has looked like a guy who used to be good. Then, for the first time all season, he started Sunday. And for the first time since 2008, he scored 24 points and added 10 assists.
For perspective, In 2008 LeBron James played for Cleveland.
Can Miami really overcome Ginobili, Tony Parker, Tim Duncan, Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard and Shutdown Boris Diaw in consecutive games?