With the postseason less than one week away, and the San Antonio Spurs securely holding onto the second seed in the west, San Antonio’s starters can now take it easy.
Over the last few games, the Spurs’ starters have seen significantly reduced playing time. Starting with the 109-103 win against the Utah Jazz on Sunday, Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich chose to sit four players, albeit three of the four were listed as out due to injury. Manu Ginobili, one of the league’s oldest players, was recorded as being out due to rest.
The issue of key NBA players ‘resting’ while apparently healthy has become a controversial subject this season. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver called it a “significant issue” after the Spurs, Cavaliers, and Warriors all rested key players during nationally televised games.
Regardless, Popovich has made certain his team will be well rested and ready for the playoffs.
One of only two regular Spurs starters to play all four games over the last week, Leonard played his usual 30-40 minutes in all but one match. In the 102-95 loss against the Los Angeles Lakers Wednesday night, Leonard played a total of 14 minutes. However, the duration of his play didn’t affect his performance in the least. Leonard contributed 11 points, three assists, two steals, and one block.
Parker was the second regular starter to play all four games in the past week and not unlike Leonard, he played his usual duration three out of four games. Though he’s the eldest starting point guard in the league, Parker performed reasonably well during the last four games.
“Tony’s getting his mojo back, I think,” Popovich told ESPN of Parker following a 21 point, five assist performance against the Jazz. “The last couple of games, he’s starting to get confidence shooting his shot. It looks like he’s getting his speed back, so that was good to see.”
Even in his reduced playing time against the Lakers, Parker scored 14 points and had four assists in 16 minutes.
With only four games remaining and an 11.5 game lead on the 3rd seeded Houston Rockets, the Spurs will undoubtedly continue to coast through the rest of the season avoiding any and all over-exertion and possible injury.