Spurs Grinding Down At Wrong Time

 

HANG TIME, Texas — Often in life, timing is everything. It’s the same in the NBA, too.

Just when the start of the playoffs — eight days away — is coming into sight, the Spurs are seeing stars. And scars.

The grind of the 82-game regular season just keeps grinding down the team that held onto the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference standings for months.

Boris Diaw underwent surgery for the removal of a lumbar cyst from his spine and is expected to be sidelined for three to four weeks.

The loss of Diaw comes with Manu Ginobili likely sidelined for the start of the playoffs by a strained right hamstring. Tony Parker has also missed three of the past four games with a sore neck and has been laboring through an assortment of other injuries, including a Grade 2 ankle sprain that kept him out for eight games.

Imagine that. Tim Duncan will turn 37 in just two weeks and he’s suddenly looking like the spryest guy on the roster, averaging 30 minutes, 26.5 points and 12 rebounds in April.

The loss of Diaw, at least for the first several weeks of the playoffs, could take a toll on an already undersized Spurs frontline. Can they get all the way to The Finals with a big man trio of Duncan, Tiago Splitter and Matt Bonner?

DeJuan Blair, who for much of the season was used only in mop-up duty, will be back in the rotation and second-year man Kawhi Leonard could be forced to play some minutes at power forward.

All of this comes at a time when the Spurs have fallen a half-game behind Oklahoma City in the race for the No. 1 seed and home-court advantage in the West bracket. But to coach Gregg Popovich that is a secondary issue.

In Parker’s case, he says he wants to develop some kind of rhythm in the last four games before the playoffs begin and is lobbying to start tonight at home against Sacramento. But he’s got to convince his coach, who usually errs on the side of caution with injuries.

“You don’t worry about your playoff seeding because if that makes you play (injured players) when they shouldn’t be playing, you’re going to be screwed come playoff time anyway,” Popovich told the San Antonio Express-News. “Your main concern is to have people be as healthy as possible come playoff time.

“If you’re the best team, the seeding doesn’t really matter. You wouldn’t give up first, second, third or fourth seed and say, ‘Yes, please give me fifth or sixth.’ Nobody would do that, but the best team doesn’t have to have the best record. It has to be healthy.”

6 Comments

  1. betsyfromtexas says:

    Everyone is crying about Kobe and the Fakers’ injuries, but guess what? We’ve dealt with them and are still sitting in the #2 slot (dare we hope for #1?) This TEAM has the players to go all of the way. Pop can outcoach anyone, bar none, in this league. With re-newed focus (Jack? Anyone?), i have total faith in the guys. Praying daily for health for them all, obviously.

  2. Heen Stella says:

    If pop decides to go small ball, Jackson is more likely to play on the four spot. Spurs have Duncan, Splitter, Bonner, Blair and Baynes. Still a decent frontcourt.

    • MJfromOKC says:

      The Spurs are about to be dominated by the Rockets.

    • Reggie Evans is an Alien! says:

      I love the timing of this comment

    • Number 1 NBA Fan says:

      Haven’t you heard, Jackson is no longer a Spur. I honestly think this team has what it takes to go all the way. Been watching them all season and even with the injuries, they’ve been able to weather the storm and stay right in the mix for the number 1 spot in the west. I think any other team, faced with the constant nagging injuries to their key players would have crumbled under the pressure. What makes the spurs in the unrivaled DEPTH. I see them going very far in the playoffs.

  3. Osama says:

    timmy is getting his 5th ring this year