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Spurs to start Boris Diaw, bench Tiago Splitter for Game 3 against Heat

Boris DiawBoris Diaw will be called on to defend LeBron James for portions of Game 3. (Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images)

MIAMI -- The Spurs will replace center Tiago Splitter in the starting lineup with forward Boris Diaw for Game 3 of the NBA Finals against the Heat on Tuesday.

Diaw will join Tony Parker, Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard and Tim Duncan in what will be San Antonio's third starting lineup of the postseason.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich previously replaced Splitter with forward Matt Bonner for Games 5 and 6 of the Western Conference finals against the Thunder. He has used his traditional starting lineup -- Parker, Green, Leonard, Duncan and Splitter -- the rest of the postseason.

Miami will continue to start Mario Chalmers, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Rashard Lewis and Chris Bosh for Game 3.

Replacing Splitter with Diaw gives the Spurs a better matchup against the Heat's small-ball, spread-oriented lineup. Splitter, a traditional center, struggled in Game 2, while Lewis, a stretch forward, has proved to be a key X-factor in the series.

The Point Forward broke down San Antonio's lineup quandary in detail earlier Tuesday.

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LeBRON CRAMPS: James blows off Gatorade cracks | No need for concern?

FINALS X-FACTORS: Parker’s injured ankle, Battier, Ginobili and more

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