AT&T Center – After missing two playoff games with a sprained right ankle, San Antonio Spurs center Tiago Splitter will play against the Golden State Warriors in game two of the second round of the Western Conference playoffs according to Spurs head Coach Gregg Popovich Wednesday evening.
“They’re good to go,” said Popovich in his pregame press conference of Splitter and Tim Duncan, who had the flu in game one. Duncan, has rid himself of the flu altogether according to Popovich.
Though Splitter is returning to the lineup, Popovich said Boris Diaw, who scored an efficient seven points in game one, will continue to start for San Antonio. On the flipside, Warriors head coach Mark Jackson said he too would start the same starting lineup.
When asked exactly how many minutes Splitter would log in his return, Popovich responded, “17.5” minutes. The “17.5” wasn’t to be taken literally though, as Popovich explained coaches don’t always know how much minutes players can play when returning from an extended injury.
Stephen Curry logged 58 minutes in the Spurs’ double-overtime win over the Warriors, and Coach Jackson said if needed, Curry could play sustained minutes again, though he hopes he doesn’t have to.
“He could,” said Jackson of Curry playing without little rest, “(but) I would not ask him to play 48 minutes running the point and guarding Tony Parker.”
“I really don’t know how much minutes he’ll play tonight,” continued Jackson, “he’ll play a bunch.”
On Kawhi Leonard’s defense of Stephen Curry in the fourth quarter, Jackson attributed some of Leonard’s characteristics, “His size, his length, his athleticism.”
On his own wing defender, Klay Thompson, who contained Parker as much as possible when he was in the game, Jackson compared Leonard’s defense on Curry to Thompson’s defense on Parker, “similar to what Leonard did to Steph,” said Jackson.
Jackson also pointed out that if the opportunity comes up to post Parker with Thompson or Harrison Barnes, the Warriors will not hesitate to exploit the matchup. Coach Popovich on the other hand says the Spurs are prepared for the scenario on defense and will be ready to react tonight.
As for how his team let an 18-point lead fizzle out in game one, Jackson said his team has to make sure the Spurs have to work for every point. “Whatever they get,” said Jackson, “we want them to earn.”
And finally, on Manu Ginobili’s play and the Spurs’ comeback in double-overtime, Jackson ended his pregame press conference with a classic line: “The screaming lady on TNT took the words out of my mouth.”
I have given up on the spurs. I am done watching the playoffs. If the spurs played like this for two straight games AT HOME, there is no winning in Golden State. I'm sorry, if Golden State wins game 2, it's over, spurs are losing this series. If we somehow win this series, there is no way we are beating Memphis or OKC. I'm not even going to put us in the finals. I've tried for so long to support the spurs, but they've let me down in the postseason for the past 6 years. We obviously cannot stop Steph Curry and Klay Thompson and their supernatural shooting. I don't know whether we are too old and slow like most people say, or Golden State is just that good, or a combination of both. Whatever it is, WE CANNOT STOP THEM. Sorry if I come off as a complete pessimist and a debbie downer. I'm done being disappointed. The playoffs are over for me. Heck, if the spurs win the finals, good for them, I'll eat my words and make myself a humble pie and gorge it down without a beverage. But from what is unfolding before my eyes RIGHT NOW, sorry, it just looks like another inevitable spurs season failure where we dominate the regular season but absolutely break down in the postseason. Manu is old, can't do what he did in past championship runs. Tim Duncan, as AMAZING and as superb as he's been playing at this age, can't do it alone. Tony Parker is clearly unhealthy, and our young guys aren't contributing like they did in the regular season for some unknown reason. I honestly feel we need to start the rebuilding process as soon as possible. Sorry for sounding like this, but this is how I FEEL. You can come at me and say, "Oh go ahead and quit on the spurs, no one cares, we don't need your support anyway" I deserve all of it, but I'm just too disappointed and too let down to not say something. Good luck Spurs, hopefully you can prove me wrong. Scratch that, I sincerely hope you guys prove me wrong and make me look like a TOTAL dumbass. But until that happens, I can no longer support.