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1999 NBA Playoffs

Rest vs. Rust

Spurs are masters of the waiting game

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Posted: Tuesday June 08, 1999 10:42 PM

  A little R&R: Having swept their last two series, David Robinson and the Spurs are getting used to having some time to relax. AP

SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- David Robinson isn't worried about having more than a week off before the NBA Finals. He's getting used to these layoffs.

"We're just going to take a couple of days and get our minds right, get our bodies right and get ready to go," he said.

The San Antonio Spurs won their first trip to the championship round by sweeping the Portland Trail Blazers in the Western Conference finals with a 94-80 victory Sunday.

Now San Antonio awaits the outcome of the Eastern Conference finals, with Indiana and New York tied 2-2. The NBA Finals begin June 16 at the Alamodome.

The Spurs spent an extra night in Portland because their plane had mechanical trouble. When they arrived home Monday aboard their charter, a crowd of 3,500 fans greeted them.

"They've been part of the Spurs family for 26 years," coach Gregg Popovich said. "It's just a thrill to be able to give this to them. I couldn't be happier for them."

The Spurs came to San Antonio from Dallas as part of the ABA before the 1973-74 season. It's the only major league sports team in town.

Usually not one for playoff pomp, Popovich couldn't help but delight over the airport party.

"When you get all these people out here, if you don't feel that in your veins you're pretty much a dead person," he said.

Popovich didn't schedule practices for Monday or Tuesday. Workouts resume Wednesday.

"The gym's locked," Popovich said. "We don't want to see them on the court. We just want them to mentally and physically just restore themselves a little bit."

Rust does not seem to be a big concern for the Spurs, especially for veterans like Robinson who are glad to have some time off.

"It's played well for us so far," said Robinson, pointing out the Spurs had a few days off between each playoff series this year.

The Spurs have swept their last two rounds 4-0 and have won 10 straight playoff games.

"After the first round we had a nice little rest then we came back pretty fresh. Five days, after the second round. But I think we'll do the same this time," Robinson said. "We'll be ready to go."

The time off also gives point guard Avery Johnson's left knee a chance to heal. He bruised it late in the first half of Sunday's game after he slipped on a wet spot. But Johnson came back to play most of the second half.

Popovich said there is nothing structurally wrong and the bruise will ease. After arriving from Portland, Johnson sounded ready to go.

"We have to practice even harder," he said. "We've still got one more goal."

 
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