AT&T Center – For Jacque Vaughn, tonight marks his first time visiting the AT&T Center from the visitors’ locker room as a new head coach, as Vaughn’s Orlando Magic (19-56) prepare to face the San Antonio Spurs (55-19).
In the contest, Tony Parker (sore left ankle), Kawhi Leonard (sore left knee), DeJuan Blair (stomach flu), and Manu Ginobili (strained right hamstring) will not play. While the Magic will sit guard Jameer Nelson (sprained right ankle) as well.
After the Spurs face the Magic, they’ll have to board a plane and head to Oklahoma City to face the Thunder on Thursday, another back-to-back game, which could have the number one seed in the Western Conference at stake.
In his pregame press conference, Popovich said in Thursday’s game the entire lineup could play against the Thunder, minus Ginobili. He also added that if Blair is still ailing, he wouldn’t play either.
“No one would turn it down if given,” said Popovich of winning the number one seed. He did however say that winning the best seed doesn’t earn you the championship.
To paraphrase Coach Pop: At the end of the day, the best team is going to win the championship regardless of where they finish in the standings.
For those of you who have been savoring a competitive Spurs-Thunder rematch, you might get to see one Thursday minus Ginobili.