To me, the reason we lost is actually pretty simple. We had two players that had offensive impact in the second half. The rest of the team wasn’t just kinda bad--they were miserable. Nobody came through.
PG/Reggie: 14-23 FG, 4-9 3P, 10-10 FT, 42 points
Rest of Team: 6-18 FG, 2-9 3P, 2-2 FT, 16 points
PG/Reggie: 6-11 FG, 3-6 3P, 3-3 FT, 18 points
Rest of Team: 2-11 FG, 1-7 3P, 2-2 FT, 7 points
I agree that we were in a position to win—and 9 times out of 10, Kawhi alone would give enough to get us over the hump. Last night was the one time he didn’t. And neither did anyone else. I don’t think anything Lue did kept us in the game as much as Reggie Jackson and PG did—and in the end, it was just PG. It was a 101-101 game with 6 minutes to go. PG scored 8 in those final six minutes. Reggie got a bucket—he was 1-2. Mook, PatBev and Kawhi were 0-5. It is what it is.
I’m not sure Mann would/should be taking minutes from Bev--but I think we could find a way for him to get more court time. And, yeah, I'd like us to try some different defensive sets. Utah’s lineup has a bunch of starters that Mann could/should be able to defend better than someone larger. I mean, they’ve obviously got Gobert—but, leaving Mitchell out of it, they’re playing Clarkson, O’Neale, and Bogan a combined 70 minutes a game. Fact is that Utah, other than Gobert is a smallish team—small enough so that a guy like Mann could switch off and defend a lot of players that are getting major minutes. I kind of question our whole idea of trying to be “bigger” at the forward and guard positions than Utah, which we’re clearly doing. “Right size” players like Batum and Mann can help us more than they have.
Anyway, I *do* think Mann has the potential to be more of an offensive plus than both Bev and Morris. The biggest area of growth in Mann this year, as far as I could see, was in offensive ability. In the last half of the year, Mann was both an above average offensive player and a guy who had the ability to go off if defenses left him alone. It’s a risk to give him 15 minutes a playoff game to find out—but what have we got to lose? PatBev and Mook are shooting under 25% combined—and 9% from three. They’ve played 97 minutes and scored 20 points. I mean, the bar is awfully low. To me, it looks like the questions are:
--Which is more likely, PatBev and/or Mook having a good offensive game, or Mann having as good or better game on that end?
--Does Mann give us better matchup possibilities on D?