Dejounte Murray officially replaced Tony Parker as the San Antonio Spurs’starting point guard in Sunday night’s 94-86 home loss to the Indiana Pacers.
Tony Parker benched by Spurs news
The second-year Murray, a first-round pick out of Washington, stepped in for 35-year-old Parker, who came off the bench for the 21st time of his 17-year career (postseason included). The last time Parker was benched was in the 2010 playoffs against the Dallas Mavericks.
“I was like, ‘Oh, no problem,'” an upbeat Parker said of his reaction to coach Gregg Popovich’s decision. “Just like Manu [Ginobili], just like Pau [Gasol], that day’s going to come. And if Pop sees something that is good for the team, I’ll try to do my best. I support Pop’s decision, and I’ll try to help [Dejounte Murray] out as best I can, and try to be the best I can in that second unit with Manu [Ginobili] and Patty [Mills].”
After undergoing surgery to repair a torn quadriceps tendon last May, Parker spent seven months working through the rehabilitation process and returned to the lineup Nov. 27 in a victory over the Dallas Mavericks.
In the four previous games before the team’s loss to Indiana on Sunday, Parker had connected on just 9-of-32 attempts for 22 points and 15 assists. The Spurs (30-18, fourth in Western Conference) have already lost star forward Kawhi Leonard, Rudy Gay, (heel bursitis) and Ginobili (thigh contusion). Leonard was shut down from the team’s roster indefinitely last week.
On Sunday, Parker scored 12 points on 5-of-10 shooting to go with five assists. The veteran also sank his 500th career 3-pointer.
Parker is now one of just four NBA players in history with 500 3-pointers or more and 6,500 assists or more. He joins the likes of LeBron James, Gary Payton and John Stockton.
Meanwhile, Popovich said “we’ll see” when asked whether he planned going forward to continue to use Murray as a starter.
Popovich also recently said this about how he handles job stress and a healthy work-life balance:
“It’s a pretty volatile situation most of the time just because people can count if we won or lost, that kind of thing,” he said. “Some people get disturbed, and it’s too much so there’s stress. But for me, personally, you can probably tell from my comments already, basketball is not my life. It’s how I earn my money and how I support my family, but it’s not the most interesting thing in my life. So I guess I’m not a real ‘basketball guy,’ I’m not a lifer and that’s OK. So we win I’m not that excited, we lose I’m never depressed and just move on.”
Spurs shooting guard Danny Green said he learned about Popovich’s decision “right before the game,” although he wasn’t told why.
San Antonio committed 20 turnovers in Sunday’s loss, its second in a row. The Spurs next host Cleveland on Tuesday night.
SAN ANTONIO,TX – MAY 10: Head coach Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs reacts during game against the Oklahoma City in game Five of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center on May 10, 2016 in San Antonio, Texas.