Not that anyone expected him to sit out, but…
Tony Parker went through a full practice with the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday and he will start Game 1 of the NBA Finals Thursday night in San Antonio.
“I think he’ll be fine,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said, as reported by the Associated Press and others.
“Those five days [off] made a difference for me to be ready for Game 1,” Parker said (via Brian Windhorst of ESPN).
Parker rolled his ankle against Dallas in the first round of the playoffs then really sprained it in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals against the Thunder. He aggravated the injury in Game 5, and by Game 6 Popovich was sitting him for the second half.
Heat players said to a man on Wednesday they expected Parker to play and be his vintage, hard-to-guard self.
A doctor working with Parker and the Spurs told a San Antonio radio station that Parker has a bone bruise but it was just a matter of pain management and Parker would be at 95 percent for the series.
The Spurs have very capable backups in Patty Mills and Corey Joseph, plus Manu Ginobili can handle the ball off the pick-and-roll and attack the rim.
But they need Parker to get into the lane, to push the pace in transition, to make smart decisions with the ball — he remains the key cog in their offense. They are not beating the Heat without him near his peak.
Tony Parker expects to last the full series
The Pistons had just 19 assists – to 22 turnovers – in their 93-83 loss to the Nets last night.
Stan Van Gundy was none too pleased.
On offensive problems:
I told them in there – that was the first thing – we’re not playing together at all. I thought it was a very selfish performance, and guys wouldn’t just pass the ball to open men. They wanted to see if they could take one more dribble to get their own shot, so the passing angles were gone. I just thought we forced play after play after play. We’re not willing to move the ball
On Reggie Jackson, who scored seven points on 3-of-10 shooting with six assists and six turnovers, and was coming off Achilles soreness:
He was not good at all. He was forcing everything.
On injuries to point guards – Jackson, Brandon Jennings and Steve Blake – hindering the team’s flow in practice and that carrying over to the game:
We could probably make a lot of excuses for our guys, but we were selfish.
Van Gundy is clearly trying to send a message, and the preseason is the best time to do it.
But it’s somewhat troubling he had to do it after this game.
Eight of the 10 Pistons who played against Brooklyn project to make the regular-season rotation. Joel Anthony played over Aron Baynes, and once healthy, Blake could challenge Spencer Dinwiddie to become back up point guard – at least until Jennings is ready. Otherwise, Detroit – with Jackson, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Marcus Morris, Ersan Ilyasova, Andre Drummond, Jodie Meeks, Stanley Johnson and Anthony Tolliver – looked similar to its opening-night lineup.
Van Gundy is blunt, but he doesn’t tell the media things he hasn’t already directly told his players. They appreciate that.
He’d appreciate them getting this message.
Dwight Howard said he played with a torn MCL and meniscus in the Western Conference finals – pretty shocking news that few knew what to make of.
So, um, did he have offseason surgery?
Calvin Watkins of ESPN:
Howard obviously feels great about his health now, so maybe this was the right course.
We’ll never how Howard would have performed if fully healthy, but he averaged 14.4 points and 14.4 rebounds in 35.1 minutes per game against the Warriors during the conference finals. How bad could the injuries have been?