Josh Newman, SNYNets.com
With the San Antonio Spurs in town to face the Nets on Sunday evening at Barclays Center, head coach Gregg Popovich called Tim Duncan (sore left knee) and Manu Ginobili (tightness, left hamstring) as ‘doubtful’ at the team’s shootaround at Baruch College on Sunday morning.
If Duncan cannot go, it stands to reason the Spurs’ starting five would consist of Tony Parker, Danny Green, Tiago Splitter, Boris Diaw and Kawhi Leonard.
Officially, both Duncan and Ginobili are listed as day-to-day, but based on recent history with personnel decisions made by Popovich, ‘doubtful’ is probably the correct term for Sunday and maybe even the Spurs’ two other games before the All-Star break at the Chicago Bulls on Monday and at the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday.
On Nov. 29, Popovich infamously sent Duncan, Ginobili, Green and Parker home at the end of a six-game road trip for the sole purpose of resting. The Spurs played the Miami Heat that night, a game it nearly stole before falling, 105-100.
Popovich is generally considered the Dean of NBA head coaches in this, his 17th season at the helm of the Spurs with NBA titles to his credit. With that said, the long term goals typically outweigh those of right now. Duncan is 36 years old and Ginobili is 35. With the opportunity to sit two key pieces of the puzzle for a while beyond Sunday, Popovich may take it.
Duncan has missed a total of five games with the sore left knee, including Wednesday’s 104-94 win at the Minnesota Timberwolves. Ginobili has missed the last three games with the left hamstring tightness.
On the Nets’ side, Jerry Stackhouse and Tornike Shengelia are both probable tonight, while C.J. Watson (sick) is a game-time decision. A rookie forward from the Republic of Georgia, Shengelia has not been available since suffering a concussion while on assignment with the D-League’s Springfield Armor on Jan. 26.
Josh Newman is SNYNets.com’s Field Reporter. Follow him on Twitter for up to the minute news and banter on all things related to the Brooklyn Nets and the NBA