The Spurs, looking to improve to 5-0 at home, hope one of their superstars will be back when they face the Oklahoma City Thunder.
San Antonio (4-3) played without Duncan and Parker on Wednesday, but still managed to beat Dallas 92-83. Popovich said one will likely return Saturday, although he didn’t hint as to who it would be.
Both missed the first two games of this three-game homestand, but San Antonio hasn’t missed a beat.
“I remember walking out in the second half and we were starting four guys that are new for this team,” he said. “To have a little success, to give some new guys some extra minutes in the season, is good.”
Popovich has rotated his frontcourt starters in Duncan’s absence, using Michael Finley(notes) and Theo Ratliff(notes) in Monday’s win over Toronto and Antonio McDyess(notes) and rookie DeJuan Blair(notes) on Wednesday. Blair leads all rookies with a 7.3 rebounding average.
Perhaps the most surprising development for San Antonio has been the emergence of Keith Bogans(notes), who signed with the team Sept. 25 and started the last three games. He scored 13 points Wednesday and has developed into a defensive stopper, replacing the retired Bruce Bowen(notes).
“My job is defense, first and foremost - when a shot is there I will take it,” Bogans said. “I’m always ready to go whether I start or not. Without Tim and Tony, there is a big chance for others to play.”
Bogans could have his hands full Saturday if he matches up with fellow Washington, D.C.-area native Kevin Durant(notes), who is averaging 27.0 points per game for Oklahoma City (4-4). That’s the same average Durant had against the Spurs last season as the teams split four meetings.
Durant scored 30 points and hit the winning jumper with 38 seconds to go in an 83-79 road victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday. He added 10 boards for his third double-double.
“It feels good to know that my team has the confidence in me to take those,” Durant said. “The last game and a couple of games before that I didn’t hit them, but tonight they fell for me.”
Point guard Russell Westbrook(notes) suffered an ankle injury that he played through Wednesday, but it doesn’t appear he will miss any action. Westbrook averaged 18.2 points in his first six games before scoring a total of 11 the last two.
The Thunder beat the Clippers despite posting their second-lowest point total of the season.
“It was just toughness. We didn’t score a lot of points, and I don’t think we shot good from the field,” guard Kevin Ollie(notes) said. “Our starting point guard was out there limping a little bit, so we just gutted out and we did it on the defensive end, which we’ve been doing a lot in our games this season.”