Spurs notebook

San Antonio Spurs’ Tony Parker: Hamstring ‘can tear’ at any time

 

bjackson@MiamiHerald.com

Spurs point guard Tony Parker said Saturday that even though his hamstring injury has improved, it “can tear” at any time and he would not be playing for a while if this weren’t the playoffs.

“If it was the regular season, I would be resting like 10 days,” he said. “But now it’s the NBA Finals. The doctors say it will not change anything if I rest two more days. My hamstring can tear at any time now. If it gets a tear, it’s life.”

Still, Parker said the injury “feels good. I feel like I’m getting stronger with it. My goal is to be close to 100 percent by [Sunday].”

Lineup issues

When the Heat started a small lineup in Game 4 — with Mike Miller replacing Udonis Haslem — Spurs coach Gregg Popovich responded by replacing center Tiago Splitter with guard Gary Neal 47 seconds into the game.

But asked if he might take a different approach with his lineup in Game 5, Popovich was dismissive Saturday.

“I’d hate to be trite and say anything is possible,” he said. “Your question demands my triteness.”

Splitter, who opened the game guarding Dwyane Wade, insisted Saturday he feels capable of handling that assignment. But it would be surprising if Popovich puts him in that position again.

Splitter, who’s averaging 22.8 minutes in the playoffs, played just 13 in Game 4 because Popovich countered the Heat’s small lineup by also playing small for most of the game.

“I got blocked three times and those plays were in my head,” Splitter said. “I know I have to play stronger. You can’t blame Pop for my bad game.”

This and that

• Several Spurs players spoke Saturday of the enormity of the task of beating the Heat when each member of the Big Three is playing at the top of his game.

“If they’re going to play like that, it’s going to be hard,” Parker said. “Like us, when we’re making our threes, it hard to guard us.”

Spurs guard Manu Ginobili said if the Heat’s Big Three is performing at such a high level, “you’ve got to be close to perfect to beat them. If they’re having an OK game, we can make a few mistakes and mask it.”

• Forward Tim Duncan said Heat defenders were rotating “kind of perfectly” in Game 4 and knew “exactly what we were going to do. So you have to change things up.”

• Guard Danny Green, who is averaging 16.5 points in the Finals and has shot 19 for 28 on three-pointers, was heartened by a visit Thursday with Roy Williams, his coach at North Carolina.

Williams, who attended Game 4, “is excited for me, proud of me,” Green said. “He said I can come back with a smile on my face.”

Green has been receiving texts from other NBA players about his breakout series, including fellow North Carolina alum Marvin Williams.

• Green is within three of Ray Allen’s mark for most three-pointers in an NBA Finals. “I don’t think I’m worried about it,” Allen said. “It’s not something you shoot for, no pun intended.”

LeBron James was asked if he had Green do rookie chores when Green was his rookie teammate with Cleveland in 2009-10.

“I really didn’t have him do much,” James said. But “[Shaquille O’Neal] made him do everything.”

• Ginobili acknowledged “the team needs me to play much better” but shrugged off Duncan’s comment that he needs to be more “selfish” and stop deferring as much.

“I respond to Pop — not to Mr. Duncan,” Ginobili cracked.

Ginobili, an impending free agent, said he “sometimes” thinks about retirement but expects to play at least one more season, and that he want to remain in San Antonio.

“I’m going to be 36 — everything is day to day,” he said.

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