Posts Tagged ‘Gregg Popovich’

HAWKS AT PACERS, 7 P.M. ET

TV: TNT

  • Both coaches were holding their cards close to the vest in advance of tonight’s critical Game 2. Indiana’s Frank Vogel hinted Monday he might assign Paul George to defend Jeff Teague, could alter the second unit rotations and would even consider rolling out his little-used zone defense in an effort to keep Roy Hibbert close to the rim. But in his pregame press briefing, his only answer to questions about those possible moves was, “We’ll see,” though he did acknowledge the starting lineup would not change.
  • Atlanta’s Mike Budenholzer was less interested in possible changes by the Pacers than keeping his team performing at a consistent level. “Either way, we just want to continue to play the way we play,” he said. “That’s been our message all year and we’re just more focused on ourselves and making sure we do all the little things, defensively, offensively. That’s what’s most important to us.”
  • Vogel said the Pacers’ points of emphasis for Game 2 would remain unchanged. “Not a whole lot different than we’ve been talking about,” he said. “Teague containment, dealing with (Paul) Millsap’s versatility, ability to pick-and-pop and also post, alertness to (Kyle) Korver and ball movement on the offensive end.”
  • Budenholzer said he called to congratulate his former boss, San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich, on winning the NBA Coach of the Year award. “I’m a little biased,” Budenholzer said. “I think he’s the coach of the year every year so I’m not probably the right person to ask or vote.” Vogel did not receive a single vote for the award despite guiding Indiana to the top spot in the Eastern Conference.
  • Indiana is 2-18 in postseason series when losing Game 1.
  • In three wins over the Pacers (including two in the regular season), Teague has averaged 22.7 points and 16.7 shots. In two Indiana victories, the numbers drop to 8.5 and 8.0.
  • Indiana’s vaunted interior tandem of Roy Hibbert and David West has been outscored 88-39 by Atlanta’s Pero Antic and Paul Millsap in the three games Antic played – all Hawks victories.
  • Hibbert has totaled 17 points on 7-for-37 shooting (.189) in his last five games. In three games against Antic, the Pacers have been outscored by 51 points in Hibbert’s 61 minutes on the floor.
  • Indiana will start its usual lineup of George Hill, Lance Stephenson, George, West and Hibbert. Andrew Bynum and Solomon Hill are inactive.
  • Atlanta counters with Teague, Korver, DeMarre Carroll, Millsap and Pero Antic. Gustavo Ayon, Al Horford and John Jenkins are inactive.

- Conrad Brunner

SPURS AT CAVALIERS, 7 P.M. ET

TV: League Pass

  • Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving (right shoulder sprain) returns to action after sitting out one game. The frontrunner for NBA Rookie of the Year honors was injured Friday when he landed awkwardly after running into a screen by Bucks power forward Ersan Ilyasova. “Kyrie looked good this morning at shootaround, so we’re really excited to have him back,” Cleveland coach Byron Scott said. “I think holding him out of the New York game (Saturday) really helped.” Irving leads all rookies in scoring (18.9) and free throw percentage (.872).
  • Spurs power forward Tim Duncan, shooting guard Manu Ginobili, and point guard Tony Parker all will play. Each veteran has been rested at least once in recent weeks, which San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said he hopes to continue doing as the playoffs grow nearer. “It’s a little bit more difficult to do than in a normal season, but it’s something that we’ve done here for years,” he said. “The (quality) depth that we have right now also is making it somewhat easier.”
  • Cavaliers shooting guard Daniel “Boobie” Gibson (left foot tendon tear) underwent season-ending surgery Monday, but center Anderson Varejao (right wrist fracture) could return to action next week. Varejao has been sidelined for 26 games since being hurt on Feb. 10 against Milwaukee. “The second week of April is the protocol we’re following for Andy to start practicing,” Scott said.
  • The Spurs will start Duncan, Parker, center DeJuan Blair, small forward Kawhi Leonard, and shooting guard Danny Green. Duncan, Parker, Ginobili, and power forward Matt Bonner were members of the San Antonio team that swept the Cavaliers in the 2007 NBA Finals, while Gibson and Varejao are the only Cleveland players still around from that four-game series.
  • Cleveland’s starters are Irving, shooting guard Anthony Parker, small forward Alonzo Gee, power forward Antawn Jamison, and center Tristan Thompson. Gee played in five games with the Spurs in 2010-2011 before landing a permanent job with the Cavaliers. “Alonzo is a wonderful guy with a great personality,” Popovich said. “He just needed an opportunity.”
  • San Antonio shooting guard Cory Joseph is a healthy inactive, while Cleveland power forward Luke Harangody remains on an assignment with the NBA D-League’s Canton Charge.

– Brian Dulik