AT&T Center – Heading into Game 4, San Antonio Spurs' Tony Parker was not admittedly 100 percent. In Game 3, he suffered a left hamstring injury and was a game time decision before Game 4.
Parker did end up playing Game 4 and finished with 15 points, 9 assists, off 7-16 shooting in the loss. Solid numbers but not the numbers Parker usually produces considering he played through the gimpy hamstring.
"It was weak. I didn't know what to expect. So the first three, four minutes I was testing it and the first half it felt okay," said Parker.
"But overall I'm just happy I didn't make it worse. That was the goal, to not try to get hurt, because Pop (Gregg Popovich) was not really happy, meaning I wanted to play and took a little risk. So I'm happy I'm not worse."
A risky move indeed by Parker. Without Parker for an extended amount of time in the Finals, and San Antonio does not have a great shot at title No. 5 for the franchise.
Hamstring injuries (for example tears) are tough to bounce back from and not to take away anything from Cory Joseph, Manu Ginobili or Nando De Colo, but the Spurs do not have a reliable back up point guard for the remainder of the series against the Heat.
Fortunately for Parker, the Spurs and Heat will now have a two-day layoff before Game 5 which came right on time for the French guard to recover and rest up.
"It's going to be huge for me," said Parker after Game 4. "Obviously definitely got fatigued in the second half. Those two days I'm going to make sure I do a lot of treatment and get to 100%. Tonight I was not 100%. By Sunday that's my goal, to be good to go."
Without Parker's ability to head quick to the rim, hit the teardrop shot nor be the steady hand with the ball (Spurs committed 19 turnovers leading to 23 points for Miami), the Spurs will be in dire straits in the remaining three games of the series.
After the Heat's "Big 3" looked every bit the feared trio they were when they were assembled, the Spurs' "Big 3" came up short in Game 4. And with Manu Ginobili looking like a shell of his former self, the Spurs will need Parker at full strength by Game 5.
If not, the possibility of being down 3-2 heading to Miami for the last two games without Parker, will be one risky move the Spurs cannot afford to make.