SAN ANTONIO -- Tony Parker, bothered by an ankle injury that sidelined him for the second half of the Spurs’ closeout win in the Western Conference finals, expects to play in the opener of the NBA Finals on Thursday, and coach Gregg Popovich said “he’s going to be fine.”
But Parker admitted Wednesday he feels “a little bit” concerned about how he will feel over the course of the series.
“I’ve been playing for four years nonstop, since 2010, no vacation,” he said. “I did everything I can treatment wise and hope I can be 100 percent.”
Parker sprained the ankle in Game 4 of the Spurs’ first-round series against Dallas, then reinjured it in Game 4 of the conference finals.
He played in the first half of Game 6 against the Thunder on Saturday, but his mobility was limited with cuts, and Popovich would not allow him to play in the second half.
If Parker is reinjured, Popovich could turn to Patty Mills, Corey Joseph or shooting guard Manu Ginobili, who ran the offense for the final 13 minutes of Saturday’s game.
• No Spur was more disappointed in his 2013 Finals performance than Ginobili, who committed eight turnovers in the Game 6 loss at Miami and four more in the Game 7 defeat.
“It was a bad experience,” Ginobili said Wednesday. “It stays in your head for a while.”
Tim Duncan couldn’t believe that the Heat made an issue of his comment that the Spurs intend to win the Finals this year.
“I don’t know what I said that was so bad,” he said. “Everybody keeps talking about it. I said I wanted to win the Finals. We’re back here now, and I wanted to win.
“If they need to find fuel in that, so be it.”
Duncan also was mystified by LeBron James’ remark that the Spurs don’t like the Heat.
“I don’t know what he was talking about,” Duncan said. “But if he needs to find fuel in that, so be it.
“I don’t have a problem with them individually or as a team. I respect what they’ve done. Unfortunately for them, we’re here trying to win.”
• Duncan, 38, shrugged off Charles Barkley’s comment suggesting he might retire if the Spurs win the championship.
“I don’t know when I’m going to retire; I don’t know what the factors are going to be,” he said.
Popovich cracked that Duncan probably will end his career in “the third quarter of some game on the road some year, and he’ll feel like he’s not as significant and he’ll walk into the locker room.”
Spurs guard Danny Green said at the start of training camp, Popovich showed the team clips of their Game 6 and 7 losses in the Finals.
“He wanted to make a point about mistakes we made,” Green said. “We’ve seen it a couple times throughout the season.”
THIS AND THAT
Ginobili, on the Spurs’ ability to keep winning as their roster ages: “Since 2007, I’ve been hearing: ‘This might be the best chance and the window is closing.’ We’re still here.”
• The Spurs have won each of their five Finals openers, by 10.4 points on average.
• There have been 12 Finals in NBA history that featured a rematch of the previous year’s championship series.
The team that lost the first has won the second in five of the past six rematches. But overall, the team defending its title has won six of the 12, including the most recent rematch in 1997, when the Bulls beat Utah for a second year in a row.