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NBA Playoffs Suns Spurs Game 3: Parker to start

May 7, 2010, 9:06 PM EDT

Head coach Gregg Popovich said in his pregame comments that Tony Parker will start tonight, with George Hill headed to the bench.

Parker presents a much tougher matchup for Steve Nash, whose hesitation dribble also gave Hill trouble. Nash has had difficulty staying with Parker for, oh, five years. Parker’s been shooting from range well, which is a tremendous advantage because the Suns are liable to give him that shot if it comes available.

A Hill-Dragic matchup is also helpful for the Spurs. Dragic checked Parkers successfully in the start of the fourth quarter of Game 2 holding him to 2 turnovers and 0 field goals until Nash’s return with 5:47 remaining. This change demonstrates a marked adjustment by Popovich to try and neutralize the damage Nash has done, which has been considerable. It’s also a dangerous move because Parker’s dealing with multiple injuries, including plantar fasciitis. Wearing him out in the second round is not ideal, but in an 0-2 hole, push has come to shove.

You have to think Parker’s return to the starting lineup along with the home crowd will give the Spurs the edge tonight in Game 3.

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