Parker, “I told you Manu was going to play good.”
San Antonio Spurs Tony Parker spoke to the media after Sunday night’s win over the Miami Heat in game five of the NBA Final.
SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS: Game Five
Miami Heat – 104
San Antonio Spurs – 114
TONY PARKER: I told you Manu was going to play good. You didn’t believe me.
Q. I have to ask you about how you felt physically during the game, having the 24 points‑‑ or 26, whatever it was. Then I have to ask you, it looked like you were hobbling a little bit as you were walking in.
TONY PARKER: Just tired. Just tired. It was a physical game. Great game. I was just trying to pace myself better, if I can say that, during the game. And I’ll be out of gas like I did in Game 4, where in the second half I didn’t have enough juice and my hamstring was kind of fatigued. In this game I was trying to take my time and it helped. Because Manu was great. He had a good start. So I didn’t have to be super aggressive in the first half.
Q. What kind of an emotional lift did everybody get from Manu starting the game, and then hitting that first shot?
TONY PARKER: I think that first shot was huge, because that was not even a play for him; it was a play for me. And he kept it, and it was like a broken play, and he hits that three.
I think the whole team, it helps everybody, because we know Manu is a big part of what we do. And we needed a game like that from him.
Q. Tony, you, Tim, Manu have all had your moments here in the series. How about Danny Green? He seems like every game he comes up with big shots for you.
TONY PARKER: Yeah, Danny has been playing great. He’s making shots. I can’t believe he’s still open at this moment of this series. They are still trapping me and doubling Timmy, and Danny is wide open. He’s shooting the ball well. If you are going to leave Danny wide open, he’s going to make threes.
Q. Tony, how important is it now that you change the mindset, you defended your home court, you’re forcing them to have to go home to win two to win the series?
TONY PARKER: We understand Game 6 is huge. Obviously you want to finish in the first opportunity you get. We understand that Miami is going to come out with a lot of energy and they’re going to play better at home. They’re going to shoot the ball better. Their crowd is going to be behind them.
I think for us as a team you need to finish as soon as you can. We did that against the Lakers and Golden State and Memphis. So hopefully we can do the same thing.
Q. Tony, you played with Manu for a long time now. What were your thoughts on his performance, especially in light of all the criticism he took after Game 4?
TONY PARKER: You know, everybody was behind him. I defended him the whole time. I was feeling a big game for Manu. I’ve been playing with him for a long time. I said this morning it’s a great opportunity for Manu. I was happy when Pop put him in the starting five, because you can get a rhythm. And the fact that they’re playing defense so high on me and Timmy, I felt that Manu would be easier to gain for him. Because every time he comes off the bench and the whole focus, they play defense on him because I’m out and Timmy is out.
So when he’s playing with us and they’re still going to trap me and still going to pay attention to Timmy, Manu is going to get opportunities. And tonight he was great.
Q. He took my question. Just what did Manu do differently in this game? Did it seem like he was more aggressive in the starting lineup?
TONY PARKER: Yeah. He was more aggressive. And at the same time he got more opportunities. He was aggressive. I think that first shot was huge for him. From there he was aggressive the whole game, making good decisions, move the ball great, got ten assists. He was great all night long.
Q. On a personal level did it bother you a bit the criticism he was getting the last few days?
TONY PARKER: Yeah, of course. Of course. Because for everything he did for the franchise, I thought it was a little bit too harsh. We understand it’s a business.
He came out big tonight. I was very happy for him.
Q. Tony, you know Boris’ game better than anyone. Can you talk about what he does defensively against a player like LeBron and what kind of confidence you have in his ability to defend.
TONY PARKER: Boris is a pretty good defender. He looks awkward, but he gets the job done. Every time in Europe he guards guys like that, the Kirilenkos, stuff like that, the fours who can’t really move.
I think it gives a different look for LeBron. Kawhi is doing a great job. The whole team we’re trying to do a good job. I think Boris, we have confidence in him that for a couple of minutes he can do a good job.
Q. Tony, you touched on it, but how does a team leave a player like Danny Green, who is so red hot and has been almost from the jump wide open this late in the series?
TONY PARKER: You can’t stop everything. Same thing for us. We can’t stop everything. We try to slow down LeBron and try to slow down D‑Wade and other guys are going to play good. If they’re going to still trapping me and make sure I don’t get off or Timmy, I want to say, keep shooting, Danny. He’s doing great so far.
Q. How would you describe their reaction to him making all those shots during the game?
TONY PARKER: I just focus on us. I’m happy for Danny. He’s playing great basketball.
Source: ASAP SportsParker, "I told you Manu was going to play good." by Sports Talk Florida