The San Antonio Spurs have long been a three-headed monster. Tim Duncan is the body. Manu Ginobili is the spark plug. And Tony Parker is the engine.
Without the motor, San Antonio is prone to sputtering. The Spurs are such a well-oiled machine, though, that they can get away without having Parker (signed a multiyear contract extension Friday) for a few games or even a half during the 2014 Western Conference Finals.
Tony was benched during the second half in San Antonio’s 112-107 overtime win at the Oklahoma City Thunder. Gregg Popovich felt like Parker (eight points on 3-of-6 shooting) was doing more harm than good with a sore ankle.
Instead of playing Parker during the second half, Pop benched him and substituted Cory Joseph in his place. In the end, Popovich looked like a genius with the Spurs able to close out OKC, despite trailing by seven points at the break.