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Spurs can't wait to face Clippers after eight-day break

May 15, 2012|By Matt Stevens
  • San Antonio's Stephen Jackson says the Spurs are ready to stop practicing and start playing again after more than a week off.
San Antonio's Stephen Jackson says the Spurs are ready to stop practicing… (Ronald Martinez / Getty…)

SAN ANTONIO –- After an eight day lull, the Spurs are more than ready to play against someone other than each other.

“We’ve had enough practice,” Spurs guard Stephen Jackson said. “I’m ready to go.”

After Tuesday morning’s shootaround, San Antonio must wait just a few more hours to battle the Clippers in the Western Conference semifinals. The Spurs are so rested, they’re anxious, having earned more than a week off between games thanks to their 4-0 sweep of the Utah Jazz in the first round.

The Clippers, on the other hand, could hardly be more bruised and battered. The team is sorely in need of a few days off after a grueling seven-game series with the Memphis Grizzles.

Blake Griffin is at the top of the injury list, suffering from a strained left knee that limited him in games 6 and 7 against Memphis. Then there’s Chris Paul who has a sprained right hip flexor, Caron Butler’s broken left hand is still mending, Mo Williams has a sore right hand and Reggie Evans has been dealing with back issues.

All of them will play Tuesday, but Spurs guard Manu Ginobili isn’t banking on injuries as a handicap. Ginobili was hoping his team could play Sunday, but when the Grizzlies knocked off the Clippers at Staples Center in Game 6, it forced a deciding Game 7 in Memphis on Sunday, while the Spurs sat and home and watched.

Ginobili said teams like the Clippers that come into a series riding an adrenaline high can sometimes steal a game from a better-rested, unsuspecting opponent.

“At this time of the year, legs are not really the most important thing,” Ginobili said. “You usually find somewhere to get your legs back.”

That’s essentially what happened Sunday in Memphis when Paul said the Clippers “willed” their way to victory. Paul, for one, retook the floor in the fourth quarter after receiving stretching and treatment for his injury while the bench posted an 11-2 run to give the Clippers the lead and the game.

“They kept their composure, they battled, they didn’t get rattled and they found a way to win Game 7 on the road,” Jackson said. “So that says a lot about this team. We’re not underestimating them. We’re not taking them lightly. We know who we’re dealing with.”

Jackson, dismissed any talk of rust. After all, he said, the Spurs have been preparing for eight whole days.

“This is a game everyone should be up and ready to play,” he said.

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