We should all be as injured as Tony Parker looked in the first half of Game 4 — he hit 7-of-12 shots for 15 points with 6 assists. He was getting into the lane, spinning, driving and dishing. Injured hamstring? Sure thing buddy.
But in the second half was like a completely different game (much like it had been for Dwyane Wade in the first three games).
The Heat defense brought the double teams to Parker, he says he got tired and his numbers fell off the table — he was 0-of-4 shooting for zero points and three assists. With their table setter slowed the Spurs shot just 37 percent as a team and offense fell off to 93.8 points per 100 possessions (the Heat were at 127 in the second half). The result was Miami running away for the win to tie the series.
What happened to Parker in the second half? Was it the strained hamstring?
“It was kind of weak,” Parker said after the game. “I didn’t know what to expect. So the first three, four minutes I was testing it, and the first half it felt okay…
“It was just fatigue (in the second half). I just missed shots. I had great shots. I missed two teardrops and the lay-up I was right there, couldn’t get my lift. They are doing the same thing on me since the beginning. Very aggressive on pick-and-rolls, stuff like that. I just missed easy shots, and hopefully I’ll get more healthy and I’ll be better by Sunday.”
It wasn’t just his fatigue — it was the hamstring and the Miami defense. After being torched in the first half Heat defenders became more focused on Parker and brought the double-team more quickly in the second half.
“Miami did a great job on him,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said after the game. “They doubled. They got it out of his hands, and other people had to play. But they did a good job defensively on him.”
Parker is now off until Sunday, two full days off to get that hamstring right before a critical Game 5.
It’s going to be huge for me,” Parker said of the longer break. “Obviously definitely got fatigued in the second half. Those two days I’m going to make sure I do a lot of treatment and get to 100 percent. Tonight I was not 100 percent. By Sunday that’s my goal, to be good to go.”
He better be or the Spurs could be going back to Miami in a hole and needing to win two on the road.