Originally written on Project Spurs  |  Last updated 11/17/14
Nba_spurs_vs_96b0
San Antonio Spurs' Matt Bonner shoots the three-ball well. Save for an excellent final round from Kyrie Irving in this year's NBA All-Star 3-point shoot out, he would have claimed the crown. Add the fact he connects with both the fans and media, it makes him an excellent, and generally well-liked Spur.  Except Bonner is subjected to an undeniable stigma that is supported by multiple years of data: He can't produce in the playoffs.    Playoff Bonner has played poorly since the 2008-09 postseason, when he began receiving regular minutes in coach Gregg Popovich's exclusive playoff rotation.    His efficiency -- an integral part of his game -- dropped. (Note: Playoff sample sizes aren't that reliable.)   The veteran power forward struggled to adapt to postseason basketball. Opposing defenses, conscious of his perimeter exploits, closed out with more purpose, preventing wide-open perimeter shots that he normally subsists on. Bonner's rudimentary skills were exposed. Eventually, fans expected Bonner to falter in big games. It's a bit too early to wave off four years of poor play but Bonner's Game 1 performance in the 91-79 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers may encourage Popovich to increase his minutes. In 29 minutes, the nine-year veteran sandwich enthusiast chipped in 10 points, five rebounds and one 3-pointer. His plus/minus was (+18) was second on the team behind only a rejuvenated Manu Ginobili.   "Matty's minutes are almost necessary in the position we are now," Popovich said. "He understands what we're doing. He's been in the playoffs before. He spreads the floor. There are a lot of reasons why he's important to us. Hopefully he'll remain healthy."   Entrusting Bonner with regular minutes will require more playoff consistency, however. Tiago Splitter labored through the victory, finishing with two points and four rebounds. His absence against a tough Lakers frontline -- who combined for 36 points and 31 rebounds -- opened up improbable minutes for Bonner.   Instead, Popovich willingly sacrificed rebounding for excellent spacing, perimeter opportunity and favorable matchups. Neither Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard can cover Bonner on the perimeter. Placing a burden of this magnitude on their shoulders, especially when Mike D'Antoni is essentially forced to play the duo the entire game to have any chance at generating a reliable offense, exacerbates the Lakers' defensive miscues.   At this point in his career, Bonner is best utilized against teams with a traditional front-court tandem since he's a natural stretch four with an awkward in-between game.    In this instance, the Lakers appear to be just the perfect matchup for a perennial playoff underachiever. Maybe, just maybe, the old playoff Bonner won't make his annual appearance -- for the time being, at least.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

MLBPA reacts to Kris Bryant's minor league assignment

Gregg Marshall's show canceled, Bama speculation grows

Report: Shaka Smart in discussions with Texas

Report: Rick Barnes expected to land at Tennessee

Demaryius Thomas planning to skip Broncos' workouts

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Rockets GM: We think we can win NBA title despite injuries

Browns GM Ray Farmer suspended over text messages

Aaron Hernandez's fiancee disposed of box after murder

Byron Scott: Opposing players say they want to play for Lakers

Falcons reportedly will lose pick over pumping in crowd noise

Report: Sam Bradford wouldn't sign extension with Browns

WATCH: Stars' Patrik Nemeth catches puck inside visor

10 winners and losers from the past week in the NFL

University of California soccer player found dead

Joe Namath parties with twin 100 year-old women

WATCH: Mike Napoli hits home run as bat shatters

WATCH: Marc Gasol misses shot, rips jersey in disgust

PHOTO: Minor league team to wear Jabba the Hutt jerseys

Lions LB DeAndre Levy takes ride on top of a moving plane

Colts owner addresses Indiana religious freedom bill

John Calipari addresses controversial ND comments

Arizona coach Sean Miller rips critics: 'Go cheer for ASU'

Report: NFL could push extra point back to 15-yard line

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

10 winners and losers from the past week in the NFL

Namath parties with 100 yr-old women

Report: Shaka Smart talking to Texas

Rick Barnes to land at Tennessee?

Browns GM suspended for texts

Hernandez's fiancee disposed of box

Mayweather-Pacquiao: It's sparring tall-tale season

The MLBPA has a problem

Final Four preview: Can every team win?

Full WrestleMania 31 recap and results

Why Texas had to fire Rick Barnes

Craig Sager's leukemia has returned

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.