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Gregg Popovich has started the mind games for the NBA Playoffs early

Apr 14, 2010, 8:31 PM EDT

“Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, and Tim Duncan are totally going to play. 100%. Yup. Going to get some work in. You just wait. No changes to the starting lineup. “

Psych!

The Spurs and Mavericks are likely to meet in the first round starting this weekend, and as such, Gregg Popovich decided to mess with the Mavericks a bit. Instead of just pulling his starters well before the game, like you would figure he would, Popovich listed the Big 3 in the starting lineup. Right up until about five minutes before game time, at which point he scratched them and George Hill, DeJuan Blair, and Roger Mason Jr. joined the starters.

The Spurs could still move up with a win and a Portland loss to Golden State, but, well, you know. Golden State rabble rabble no defense yakety schmakety, couldn’t stop a stiff breeze with the Great Wall of China, yada yada.

So instead the Spurs elected to tweak the Mavs, just a bit, and then concede. It shows confidence on one hand, to be fine with facing the Mavericks who eliminated them last year in the playoffs. But if Popovich’s previous comments are any indication, he’s just happy it’s not LA waiting for him this weekend.

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