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Both Dejuan Blair and Taj Gibson came out of the 2009 NBA Draft, as Gibson was selected 26th overall by Chicago and Blair was chosen 11 spots later by the Spurs. Both of these players weren't viewed as stars but merely as immediate role players who could help vacate a need for a club.
And now both San Antonio
and Chicago are already getting significant returns on their investment.
The duo contributed to their team's significant and respective victories Wednesday night, and here's how they did it:
Let's start with Blair first.
While Tim Duncan hauled in 27 monstrous rebounds, Blair still managed to collect his fair share. The rookie grabbed nine rebounds in only 16 minutes of action, marking the seventh time in the last eight games in which he's grabbed seven-plus rebounds. He also had a steal, highlighting the 15th time he's recorded a steal when he plays 15 minutes or more this season.
What did the win exactly accomplish, you ask?
The win over the Hawks
gave San Antonio two things: the victory should provide the Spurs with a morale boost and give the team much-needed momentum going forward.
Secondly, it gives the Spurs only their third victory over a team 10 games above .500. However, prior to the Spurs win, by comparison, every other team in the Southwest Division had at least three victories over those select teams with Memphis
leading with four wins and the Hornets
, and Mavericks
all tied at three.
Now that the Spurs have joined their class, perhaps this will be the fire that ignites the team to bound together and play the Spurs of seasons past.
As for Taj Gibson, he has been extremely productive as of late, grabbing a career-high 15 rebounds Wednesday night after grabbing 14 on Saturday, and is averaging 9.3 points, 12 rebounds, and three blocks per game over his last three contests.
More importantly, he helped the Bulls outrebound the Thunder 53-40 and partnered with Joakim Noah to limit all Thunder players 6'10" or taller to a median of three rebounds apiece.
More importantly, it was the Bulls fourth straight win—all on the road—and has undoubtedly coagulated team chemistry and most certainly padded Vinny Del Negro's job security at the moment.