The San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat are set to square off for Game 4 of the NBA Finals on Thursday night, and Tony Parker’s status remains in question. An MRI revealed earlier this week that Parker suffered a Grade 1 hamstring strain during Game 3, and he has been listed as day-to-day.
Fortunately for the Spurs, they have a 2-1 series lead over Miami. Because of that, a reporter made the mistake of asking Gregg Popovich if he might “mail in” Game 4 in order to rest Parker so he can come back later in the series.
“I’ve just got to tell you, that phrase ‘mail in Game 4 …” Popovich snapped, via Pro Basketball Talk. “It confuses my whole brain. I don’t think I can think past that comment. I would like to help you, but I don’t know how to help you. You can come back to our coach’s office and hit us up. We’ll be talking about all these sorts of things. Any ideas are welcome. I have no idea until I know how healthy he is tomorrow.”
The reporter was not suggesting that the Spurs should tank Game 4 and focus on Game 5. His point was likely that Popovich may be more inclined to play an injured Parker if the situation were reversed and his team was trailing 2-1, rather than risk Parker hurting his hamstring further.
As we have been reminded throughout the playoffs with interviews like this, Pop can be very difficult to talk to when the stakes are high. Anytime you downplay the importance of a playoff game in some way, the Spurs coach is not going to be pleased.Google+