Pregaming: Spurs vs. Warriors Game 2
AT&T CENTER — The San Antonio Spurs come back for Game 2 of the Western Conference Semifinals with a full roster for the first time in a while, which should be a blessing after going two overtimes just two nights ago. That, and some other notes from pregame:
- The biggest news coming from pregame is that Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich announced that Tiago Splitter is fit to play in Game 2 against the Warriors. Splitter will come off the bench and Boris Diaw will start alongside Tim Duncan. When asked about the health status of both Splitter and Duncan, who had battled a flu bug in Game 1, Pop said “They’re good to go.”
- Pop conceded that there are some tough decisions to make regarding how to use Tony Parker defensively. Stephen Curry is a tough cover for anyone in the league and the Spurs will probably want to put Kawhi Leonard on him for more minutes in Game 2 than in Game 1. That makes it tough to decide where to put Parker when Jarrett Jack is out of the game, Klay Thompson or Harrison Barnes, both of whom have several inches on Parker. According to Pop, the Spurs will mix up their defenses and whether or not they double should Parker be posted up by a bigger player.
- Rest and minutes were a hot topic during Warriors head coach Mark Jackson’s pregame press conference. “There’s more than enough time to rest you body,” Jackson said about all the downtime between games for players like Steph Curry and Andrew Bogut to take advantage of. Expect Curry to again play big minutes in Game 2, though getting to 58 is probably unlikely. “[The Spurs] system allows us to play Steph where he’s guarding a guy who’s a spot-up shooter,” Jackson said, probably referring to Danny Green and Gary Neal. Jackson added that they’ll use those specific matchups to allow Curry to take some plays off on the defensive end.
- It was announced on Wednesday that Denver Nuggets head coach George Karl is the NBA’s Coach of the Year. Gregg Popovich, last year’s winner, finished fourth in the voting. “It’s at the house,” Pop replied when asked what he did with the trophy he won last year. “It’s with the rings somewhere, I guess. I don’t see it much.” I’m disappointed, to be honest. I was hoping Pop melted it down and used the metal to make a sword or something, Ron Swanson-style.