Predicting what Gregg Popovich will do next is a fool’s errand. You’d have better odds on that oversized Wheel of Fortune in the front of a Vegas casino they try to sucker the tourists into playing.
Popovich has rested a lot of key players lately, but he suited everyone up Monday night for a potential first-round playoff preview against Utah (which the Spurs won on a Kawhi Leonard jumper). That got Tony Parker thinking: Maybe Popovich will play everyone Thursday night when the Spurs take on the Warriors in Oracle Arena. Here’s what the French point guard told ESPN.
“I think we’ll play,” Parker said. “Utah, I thought he was going to rest everybody. But we played Utah, so I don’t see any reason we’re not playing Golden State.”
That goes against the conventional wisdom that Popovich would rest key players — if not all the key players — Thursday night in Oracle. The teams then face off again Sunday in San Antonio.
In theory, if the Spurs win both those head-to-head matchups and the Warriors lose one of their other two games — both against the depleted Grizzles — the Spurs could tie the Warriors at 70 wins and get the top seed on a tiebreaker. But I find it hard to believe Popovich is betting on that.
My guess is Popovich will rest players — maybe not all, but some — in these two games. First, let the Warriors continue to tire themselves out going for 73 wins. Second, get your older core players more rest. Finally, leave the last taste in the Warriors’ mouths of these two teams in a serious game as the one the Spurs won in San Antonio last month.
But I wouldn’t bet a penny on my predictions of what Popovich will do.