Before Tip-Off: Manu will play, but Green will start vs. Magic


There were numerous reporters lined up around the Orlando Magic (28-15) locker room before head coach Stan Van Gundy addressed the media Wednesday.MG

Coach Van Gundy began his interview with discussing the team at hand, the San Antonio Spurs (27-13).

“A lot of challenges here, they’re a difficult team to guard,” said Van Gundy, “they always are.”

Unfortunately, the eventual question came up to Van Gundy, what were his thoughts on the latest saga with his superstar Dwight Howard?

“I don’t even want to talk about it,” said Van Gundy, “it’s so tiresome.”

“I’ve been dealing with this for three months, there’s nothing fresh to me,” said Van Gundy, he reiterated once more, “I’m tired of it.”

And of course, one reporter tried once more to get Van Gundy to discuss Howard; Van Gundy had to set the table clear.

“I don’t know how many times I can answer you,” Van Gundy told the reporter, ”you don’t seem like a dumb person, but I’m not going to talk about it.”

On the other side of AT&T Center, four reporters, including myself, waited for Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich to address the media.

Coach Popovich calmly told us Manu Ginobili would play tonight, and Danny Green would start at shooting guard.

Coach Popovich also spoke about the opponent at hand, the Magic.

“They’re high up there at both sides (of the ball), obviously Dwight Howard in the middle.”

“Defensively, “ said Popovich, “they’re one of the top (teams) in the league, it’s a big challenge.”

When asked if he thinks about using the infamous “Hack-a-Shaq” maneuver for a player like Howard, Popovich responded, “Sure, you always think about it.”

Lastly, I asked Popovich about how fortunate it’s been for him to coach a team like the Spurs, who’ve never had a media circus on the level of Howard and the Magic following them around.

“We’ve always felt fortunate and grateful that we’ve always been pretty much below the radar,” said Popovich, “but our players kind of like it that way.”