The San Antonio Spurs took a commanding 3-0 lead over the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference quarterfinals with a dominant 120-89 win in Friday's Game 3. But with an injury to Tiago Splitter knocking their starting center out of the game, and likely out of Sunday's Game 4, the Spurs have ample reason to make sure this series ends before the weekend does.
"Focus and health is what we need," Tim Duncan told reporters in his post-game press conference. "We need to close this series out, get healthy, get some rest."
Focus would not seem to be an issue right now, given that the Spurs have won all three games in this series by double figures, but health has been at a premium for the Spurs all year. Splitter missed just one game in the regular season, and his extended absence would force Duncan and DeJuan Blair to play bigger roles up front. That could spell trouble in a longer series: Duncan's minutes have been expertly managed for maximum efficency to this point, but he's 37 years old, and every extra minute for him is a chance for an injury that could wreck the Spurs' run.
It's not just Splitter who could use some rest, either. Manu Ginóbili's still recovering from a hamstring injury, and Tony Parker took an elbow to the head late in the first half on Friday, and both got some welcome respite in the fourth quarter, as the Spurs subbed in reserves with the game well in hand.
If the Spurs sweep the Lakers, and the Denver Nuggets and Golden State Warriors take their series to seven games, San Antonio could have more than a week off before Western Conference Semifinals series.
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