Ailing Parker Slides In Second Half

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SAN ANTONIO – Tony Parker was like a windup toy that no one knew how long he could keep going because of an ailing right hamstring that threatened to take him out of Game 4 all together.

It turns out Parker had one mesmerizing, tit-for-tat half against LeBron James in him. After that he was spent, the moment at the end of the third quarter depicting his forgettable second half as he lay flat on his back, gassed, incredulous as to how he missed a five-foot floater in the lane that he knows he can make blindfolded.

After a whirling dervish of a first half that must have had the Miami Heat thinking this whole hamstring business was a well-crafted rouse with Parker matching James’ 15 points in a 49-49 halftime tie, Parker went scoreless in the second half — 0-for-4 from the floor — without a single trip to the free-throw line. The Spurs offense faded with him.

Tony Parker's Game 4 shot chart

Tony Parker’s Game 4 shot chart

James finished with a game-high 33 points and Dwyane Wade busted out his best performance of the playoffs with 32 points, six assists and six steals to run away from the Spurs and tie this riveting NBA Finals series at 2-2. The best news for Parker, he said as he eagerly awaits two off days of rest and treatment before Sunday’s crucial Game 5, was eluding the wrath of his coach Gregg Popovich by avoiding further damage to his hamstring.

Parker, who decided he could play after the morning shootaround despite the Grade I strain that was revealed by an MRI on Wednesday, said his plan was to be honest. If he didn’t feel good after the first quarter, he’d tell Pop and shut it down.

“It was kind of weak,” said Parker, who finished with 15 points on 7-for-16 shooting and nine assists in 32 minutes. “I didn’t know what to expect, so the first three, four minutes I was testing it and the first half it felt OK. The second half I think I got fatigued a little bit.”

Which is understandable considering the heavy-loaded defense Miami keeps honed on him. Meanwhile, Wade, James and Chris Bosh put together their first Big Three performance of the series, with each going for 20-plus points and defensively blitzing San Antonio with 10 steals and five blocked shots among them. Parker had three of the Spurs’ 19 turnovers for 23 Heat points.

“Miami did a great job on him,” Popovich said. “They doubled. They got it out of his hands and other people had to play. But they did a good job defensively on him.”

What should now be concerning for San Antonio is the durability of Parker’s hamstring come Sunday’s crucial Game 5. He is scoreless in the second half of each of the last two games, when he initially felt discomfort in the hamstring in Game 3 (although he was not needed much as his teammates rained 3s in a blowout) and as petered out in Game 4.

“It was just fatigue. I just missed shots,” Parker said. “I had great shots. I missed two tear drops and the lay-up. I was right there. I couldn’t get my lift. Hopefully, I’ll get more healthy and I’ll be better by Sunday.”

The Spurs’ championship hopes depend on it. They’re getting nothing out of the slumping Manu Ginobili, who had just five points on 1-for-5 shooting for his third consecutive game scoring in single digits, and they can’t expect to bomb away for 16 3-pointers as they did in Game 3 behind Gary Neal and Danny Green.

Those two stayed hot in Game 4, hitting six of the Spurs’ eight 3s on 16 attempts, but that’s a far cry from the NBA Finals record set two nights earlier that blew the game open in the second half.

Ginobili missed all three of his 3-point attempts and is now 10-for-29 from the floor in the last three games and 1-for-11 from beyond the arc. He was credited with just one turnover, but he’s been sloppy with the basketball throughout the series and even the most die-hard Spurs fans seem to be losing patience with their favorite 35-year-old Argentinian.

“We definitely need Manu,” Parker said. “We need to help him to try to get his confidence going. But I have a lot of confidence in Manu. I’m sure he’s going to break out of that slump.”

The bigger question is how much confidence — and better yet, endurance — will Parker have in his hamstring come Sunday. On a night where Miami’s Big Three emerged with an epic performance, the Spurs’ Big Three was reduced to one sputtering shooting guard and a point guard dragging a bad wheel.

“Those two days [off] I’m going to make sure I do a lot of treatment and get to 100 percent,” Parker said. “Tonight I was not 100 percent. By Sunday, that’s my goal, to be good to go.”

To wind him up and keep going and going and going.

25 Comments

  1. AKA says:

    PARKER CHOKED

  2. reynol pers says:

    I am not going to write this is over yet but if the Miami Heat play like they played in game 4 there is no way the Spurs or any team can beat them. They are too athletic in there defense and to fast for this team to keep up with them. The way Miami goes at defense is the key to the games being won. The defense activates there offense. Pop needs to come up with a prayer in church to come out a winner in these finals. There is nothing they can do too slow this team down ask the thunder they are just to strong. This is coming form a Lakers fan.

    • 34yr fan says:

      ….well ….If that is true, then playing that way for one out of 4 games is not gonna cut it…..you see ??

    • realist2013 says:

      The Heat’s big 3 finally played like it. Now consistancy is another subject they’ve always been suspect. They had all the points shy of allens 16. Two Titans going at it. Some crazy turnovers and My boy Manu looks like someone paid him to throw his game heh. Hopefully he picks it up like I know he can. I’d like to see more drives to the basket from Green and feed tim in that post. Up and down series all around. Spurs will take game 5 and 6 although the network seems to be posting a gane 7 as if its all planned lol.

  3. theholyspectator says:

    manu will be aggressive in game 5. its startin to get too deep into the series where he hasnt been effective..i expect him to breakout in game 5, then again if big 3 come out to play, its over for spurs

  4. Mr J says:

    I have a problem with the NBA Finals dragging on as it is. Why not play it like the Superbowl, where the true champion is decided in one final match, not seven. I know NBA wants to make money, but if NFL was able to do, why can’t the NBA.

  5. MC says:

    Well the next game is a must win for the Spurs. Spurs need to play at a slower pace at times, take a page out of Indiana’s book. Miami can’t beat the Spurs if they cut out their turnovers. Tiago Splitter is soft like melted butter, and Ginobili has been turning the ball over way too much. Spurs has to protect the ball and pound it inside to Duncan more over to set up the Snipers like Green and Neal.
    It’s easier said than done, but slow the tempo down, and we got the heat right where we want them. Let’s Go Spurs!!

    • marmar says:

      you must be hired as a coach instead of J,KIDD LOL. heat will get the pivotal game 5 and end your spurs run.

    • 34yr fan says:

      Yes, Miami played a complete game and the Spurs played a half….gotta hand it to the Heat though…..great defensive game as well ….. a lot of key blocks and steals….Sunday’s game is gonna be a great one to watch as the Spurs have all of the pressure now that they will have to go back to Miami and try to take one(or maybe two) at their house….GO_SPURS_GO ! ! ! ! ( ! )

  6. latigo rapper says:

    but he’s been sloppy with the basketball throughout the series and even the most die-hard Spurs fans seem to be losing patience with their favorite 35-year-old Argentinian……… I AGREE WITH THIS. I’m a die hard spurs fan (even made a song for them in youtube entitled “Go Spurs Go (San Antonio Spurs Rap Song 2013)..but I think Manu needs to really stop being sloppy and play with a sense of urgency.

  7. nba fan says:

    I AM MANU FAN BUT SADLY TO SAY HE NEEDS TO RETIRE AFTER THIS SEASON, FROM GAME 1-4 ,HE DID NOT CONTRIBUTE, AND HE WAS NO A FACTOR AT ALL

  8. J says:

    its prob nothin big just a nagging injury
    heat in 6!!!

  9. yas says:

    The big 3 need of spurs need to step up for the next game. THe funny thing about this series is it’s a tic for tac battle. Aside from the first game all the games have been so oddly loopsided, kinda ruins the entertaining aspect of thrill you get of close games!

  10. TSK TSK TSK says:

    Manu destroyed the gameplay..too much dribbling n poor deciscion making on the offensive end..He’s been inconsistent eversince d playoffs began..on the otherhand, Parker tried to do it all by himself in the second half thou Green n Neal have been shooting their 3s…

  11. Karlo Garcia says:

    These next 2 days off will benifit TP9.

    • Toro says:

      so Wade will

    • B-Ball4Life says:

      Yeah it definately will but it doesn’t matter if he’s at 100% as long as the Heat are playing near that level the Spurs are screwed. The real BIg Three will strike again!!! Let’s go Heat

      • allen iverson says:

        the REAL BIG THREE?? who’s the fake? are there any original big 3?? if there is .. then i think its on Wilt’s era ,, and heck ! your telling us that the Real big three is james wade and bosh while tp9 td and manu has been a big 3 before heat 3 were created … so whos the real big three now?

      • spurs 4 life says:

        That’s right Allen… the only big 3 I know of in the NBA are the Spurs… Duncan, Parker, and Ginobili… there are no other 3 in NBA!!!! Get that Heat!!!!

      • atafj says:

        there have always been really good trios of players like this in the nba, no one said the heats were the original. stop reading into things that aren’t there just because you want to get mad and make a point