The Warriors took care of business Monday night. The business wasn't hard to take care of.
They beat the San Antonio Spurs 116-106. But they didn't beat the real San Antonio Spurs. They beat the San Antonio Spurs Lite.
Tim Duncan didn't play — knee. Tony Parker didn't play — neck. Kawhi Leonard didn't play — knee. Manu Ginobili — he hasn't played in a while. Most of the Spurs' stars didn't play — not motivated.
The Spurs are going to get the second playoff seed in the West, so coach Gregg Popovich settled for rest over exertion against Golden State. He swears he'll play Duncan against the miserable Minnesota Timberwolves Wednesday night.
“Everyone will play because it's not a back to back,” he said before he sent out his junior varsity. “Tonight is what we do. We've done it all year. We've done it for 17 years, done it with Timmy's career from the beginning, well not the very beginning because he was pretty young. Tonight is nothing special or different or unique.”
Right here, I should talk about the game, but I want to give you more pre-game Popovich. He is the best coach in the NBA and he sometimes is a little sour — it's as if he prepped for his pregame news briefing by sucking on a lemon or devouring a jar of Vlasic pickles.
Asked if his team is playing well going into the postseason, Popovich said, “We've been playing better most any other year going into the playoffs than this year.”
One reporter asked if that concerned him. Popovich gave a look which implied, “That is the dumbest question I ever heard.” What he actually said was, “Who cares? The (crappier) the better. Of course, it's a concern. Come on.”
Warriors coach Mark Jackson held his own pregame news briefing. Call it the battle of the pregame news briefings.
Jackson on Popovich not playing his good guys: “We're going to take care of our business, to win these games and to close out the season the right way. I certainly understand some of these other teams (read San Antonio) doing things differently. They've earned the right. . . . We've seen this movie before. It's still the San Antonio Spurs. They still have their great coach and a mentality that night in and night out puts them in position to win ballgames. They play hard and they're prepared.”