Spurs use a bit of a smokescreen on the Heat


AT&T CENTER — Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich is a pretty no nonsense type of guy. Most of the time, when he’s asked about a particular player coming to town or system the Spurs are going up against, his answer is usually something along the lines of “if we do what we do, we’ll be fine.”

But with the Miami Heat coming to town, Coach Pop called a bit of an audible. Tony Parker was scheduled to be out 2-4 weeks with a strained soleus muscle. Apparently Tony started feeling better pretty quick. But instead of running him out there and declaring him game-ready, the Spurs made it look like they were taking it slow.

Jeff McDonald of the Express-News mentioned that he chatted with Parker in passing after morning shootaround on Friday and TP told Jeff that he wasn’t supposed to run or shoot or anything like that.

Even during pre-game shootaround a couple of hours before the game, Tony was gingerly jogging around the putting up jump shots for Tiago Splitter to battle a couple of assistant coaches for. It looked like it was going to be a while longer before we were going to see Tony Parker on the floor for the Spurs.

And then Coach Pop held his pre-game press conference where we discovered that not only was Tony Parker going to play against the Heat, he was going to start. It took us a few questions to comprehend what Pop was actually telling us.

Turns out, it looks like the Spurs might have been bluffing all along on Friday, not giving the Heat a chance to prepare for Parker’s presence in the lineup by keeping everyone outside of the team in the dark. According to Manu Ginobili, the team knew Friday morning that Parker was going to play.

“I kind of expected him to play on Sunday [against the Lakers] because I talked to him and he told me he was feeling pretty well, that [his recovery] was going to be quicker than expected,” Manu said. “It was great news when this morning we found out [he was going to play].”

Who knows how much of an advantage keeping the Heat in the dark was? Miami Head Coach Erik Spoelstra didn’t seem to think it made much of a difference in the Spurs’ 125-95 win over the Heat.

“I don’t think it would’ve mattered one way or another,” he said. “They were playing at a completely different speed than us.”

He may be right, but it’s nice to see Coach Pop play a little chess in the regular season every now and then.

  • Eric

    I’ve never commented here before but I had to repost this comment from the entry “Best three point shooter in the world?”

    “With all due respect, I really don’t like being a hater here, but if you’re gonna brag about whose an awesome three point shooter then I want to see more 3′s being made. This is like debating whose the best poop shoveler when in the end you’re still shoveling poop.

    Yes, I know that was negative, but hopefully it lights a fire under some of these guys to step it up and bring their A game for Miami.

    You wanna brag about shooting? Prove it on Friday and you can talk all you want to……”

  • Pop-a-vich

    Checkmate! :)

  • Sriram

    Dampier is a bleeping bleephole! A couple of years ago he did threaten to bring TP down; the league should take stringer action against thugs like him.

    Incredible game tonight…I was hollering on my couch every time the three ball went in.

  • The Beat Counselor

    I said it before and I’ll say it again:

    Who needs a Big 3 when we got a WHOLE TEAM?!

    -Funny how the Heat actually have to lose to the Spurs for the Spurs to get any air time on ESPN. And Mullin still had to be pressured into giving Spurs props…

    -Was TP actually smiling as he went flying into the cameramen on the flagrant 2 by Dampier?

    -What’s up with Duncan saying it was “Game over” while sitting on the bench when we went up by 24 in the 1st qtr? You could read his lips saying it two or three times. Very un-Duncan-esque…

    -Absolutely no Bonner bashing for at least a full 24 hours.

    Lovin it.

  • Colin


    I think they proved it.

  • Colin

    It’s good to see Duncan asserting some confidence. He had Wade, Bosh, and James coming into HIS house!

    The Heat never really got close tonight and the Spurs asserted their dominance by demonstrating why ESPN should keep ignoring them until there aren’t any other teams to talk about.

    I can’t wait until the playoffs.

    I’m anticipating some very tough series and I also think this is one of the Mavs best teams they’ve ever had.

  • mundanemundin

    Happy with the win, but temper celebrations with realization that Heat were on a Segebaba. They might return the favour in a about a week. Any idea why James Anderson was not in uniform?

  • Hobson13

    March 4th, 2011 at 10:28 pm

    “I’m anticipating some very tough series and I also think this is one of the Mavs best teams they’ve ever had.”

    I agree. IMO, the Mavs are almost on equal footing with the Lakers. If you take out that 2-7 stint when Dirk was hurt, they would be maybe 1-2 games back instead of 5. Anyway, the Spurs just played off the hook tonight. There’s nothing but positives to take away from this game.

    The Beat Counselor
    March 4th, 2011 at 10:22 pm

    “And Mullin still had to be pressured into giving Spurs props…”

    Yeah, I noticed that. Even when he showed the Spurs love, he had to mention the Mavs and Lakers. I liked Mullin as a player, but why is he on TV? He can’t even string 3 coherent sentences together.

  • etomai

    @The Beat Counselor

    I saw Timmy repeating “game over” as a way to congratulate and encourage his teammates after their stunning outburst in the 1st. It’s exactly the kind of thing you’d say to someone who just made shot after shot, to pump them up. It’s not like he was trash talking the Heat players or talking to the cameras.

  • The Beat Counselor

    “I liked Mullin as a player, but why is he on TV? He can’t even string 3 coherent sentences together.”


    Pretty sure that Anderson & Quinn didn’t dress so that Jeffers and Novak could get some burn, since we’re running with 14 on our roster right now and we can only dress 12.

    @Colin & Hobson13
    Yes, Mavs definitely got a squad this year.

    Nice call-back dude.

  • http://48minutesofhell.com midwestfan

    Me to, everytime we hit a three I would go ”AYYYE”. It was a great game to watch. MANU set the tone right of bat with that lay up 5 sec into the game. I was more impressed with our defense than our offensive onslaught tonight. The way we were able to prevent wade and james from getting to the cup for the most part

  • Bankshot21

    Watching the slow motion replay of TP flying in the air was absolutely hilarious. He had made Ericka Dampier look silly the previous couple of trips down the court. Anything less than a suspension will be a crime. Loved TD’s exclamation of “Game Over”.

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  • Tric

    SEcond GAme of a BAck to BAck

    PtR slang

  • Jacques



  • Eduard

    I’ve been a spurs fan for the last three of their rings, was beginning to lose faith, last two seasons, and more importantly, with TP probably leaving, and age and all that… but WTF? I get up at 5 am to watch them now… (live in India) and this morning’s fourth quarter was almost boring… :) Love what I’m seeing, we’ll definitely top the regular season but honestly, do we have the grit, and muscle to win the finals, past all these BIG STRONG Howard, James, Bryant-Gasol time teams? IMO physicality is something we’ll miss sorely, any chance of us having more than what’s been on display till now in the season? and from where? Tigao seems to be pickled for reopening next season… TD is safe, but he’s getting pushed around defensively too… Blair is a little too short, if nothing else… the Perimeter is fine, Manu, Jefferson, et al will handle but inside? do we have any options? what is Novak like down there? Haven’t heard much of him… please do reply, someone more informed than me… these thoughts cause me to wake up earlier than 5 am sometimes, which is damn pissing off!

  • Rowrbazzle

    See, this is one of the things that bugs me about the NFL. They’re so militant about the injured list (presumably b/c so many people are gambling on the games), which doesn’t really allow for this kind of gamesmanship. Very clever by the Spurs.

  • Nikolas

    Yeah i actually had the chance to go to the game it was amazing. I was most impressed with DeJuan Blair’s play against Chris Bosh, he was 2 steps quicker and was really bossing him around out there. Way to go Spurs!!!

  • icekopi

    good gamesmanship!

    the other side effect of parker’s injury is that it seemed to make george hill more focused and ready when he is needed to step up..

  • grego

    @mundanemundin – With Novak and now Jeffers signed, they have 14 players on the roster.

    They had to leave one player undressed. Anderson was that man. I can understand dressing Jeffers, but I’m not sure how Novak gets time over Anderson though.

  • Ryan

    @Eric and Colin

    I want to say thanks for resposting that. That was a comment I had made right after they had beaten Cleveland and it was something that I was afraid would affect this team in a negative way…

    Maybe they read the comment and it really did light a fire underneath them? But all I can genuinely say is after last night.. you can talk all you want to, and brag about whatever you want. This team earned it, and I’ll be the first to admit to putting my foot in my mouth about doubting they ever were…

    All I want though is for this team to stay humble.. view every win as something good, and every loss as a chance to get better… don’t ever be satisfied. Win however you can, but learn from those wins, because in the end, it doesn’t matter what records are broken, how many points you score, double-doubles or any of that nonsense… it’s about whose hoisting the trophy over their heads.