Diaw limits Griffin’s boards, dunks

Clippers forward Blake Griffin jumped over a car to win the dunk contest at the 2011 All-Star Game.

Spurs forward Boris Diaw would be hard-pressed to jump over a bicycle.

Somehow, the relatively earthbound Diaw managed to minimize Griffin’s effect on Game 1 of the Spurs-Clippers Western Conference semifinal.

Griffin needed 17 shots to score 15 points. He had only two offensive rebounds among the nine he grabbed in 28 minutes and 24 seconds.

Diaw, who grabbed a playoff career-high 12 rebounds, did his best to keep Griffin from getting close enough to the basket to dunk.

“Well, it’s not easy, of course,” Diaw said. “Everybody knows him, the way he’s playing. He’s very athletic, so I try to take some stuff away from him. The main thing with him is to try and keep him outside the paint because as soon as he’s in the paint, he can dunk from anywhere. So try to keep him out.”

Griffin is nursing a strained ligament in his left knee, so his edge in athleticism over Diaw has diminished, but he acknowledged Diaw’s bulk made it difficult for him to maneuver in Tuesday’s game.

“He’s a big body and knows how to use it well,” Griffin said. “As far as brute strength, he’s not like the strongest (power forwards), but he uses his body well and uses his weight well.”

Executives sweet: Spurs general manager R.C. Buford finished second and Clippers GM Neil Olshey third in voting by his peers for the annual Executive of the Year Award.

Indiana Pacers president of basketball operations Larry Bird won the award, receiving 12 first-place votes from the 30 basketball executive voters. Buford received eight first-place votes; Olshey got six first-place votes; Chicago GM Gar Forman received two and Oklahoma City GM Sam Presti and Heat president of basketball operations Pat Riley got one first-place vote each.

Bird has made something of a clean sweep of NBA honors, beginning with Rookie of the Year, which he won in 1979-80. He also has been Most Valuable Player and Coach of the Year.

One of the moves that earned Bird the honor was a trade with the Spurs that helped both teams: The draft-night deal that sent guard George Hill to Indiana in exchange for the rights to the 15th pick in the draft, Kawhi Leonard. Both players are starters for two of the eight teams still in the running for this season’s title.

Though the Spurs have the league’s highest winning percentage in the 10 seasons Buford has served as general manager (71.1 percent), he never has won the Executive of the Year Award.

Painful day: Clippers reserve guard Nick Young admitted he was not looking forward to a visit he was to make Wednesday afternoon to a local dentist for a root canal procedure on a tooth he said had been aching for days.

“I’ve had root canal before,” he said. “It’s not fun, but the pain relief is worth it.”


Twitter: @Monroe_SA

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