PHOENIX — Speaking before tonight’s matchup with the San Antonio Spurs, Suns coach Alvin Gentry said there is still no timetable for center Robin Lopez’s return to the court.
“We’re holding out hope,” Gentry said. “We’re trying to just prepare as if he’s not going to be here. And if he comes back then it’s a bonus.”
Asked further if that meant Robin would miss the playoffs, Gentry said he could not speculate because he simply did not know.
“We’re preparing as if we’re going to play with the team we have now,” Gentry said.
Tonight’s game with the Spurs will likely be an indicator of what the Suns can do against teams with a good big man. With Lopez out, Gentry said the Suns might have to put more double teams on Tim Duncan.
Lopez’s absence from the remainder of the regular season doesn’t come as much of a surprise, but his missing the playoffs would be a great detriment to the Suns’ hopes of a deep playoff run.
Gentry said Lopez will be reevaluated in the next five to seven days.
Trying to stop Manu
Gentry lauded the recent play of Spurs guard Manu Ginobli, saying that he and Amare are probably two of the hottest players in the NBA right now. Gentry said he thinks Ginobli saw a need to step up when Tony Parker missed time with a broken hand.
“I think Ginobli felt like he needed to pick up his offense and be a little more aggressive,” Gentry said. “He’s been unbelievable.”
Gentry said Jason Richardson would get defensive duties on Ginobli in tonight’s game.
“We’ll try to do the best we can and try to see if we can contain him,” Gentry said.
Parker working his way back
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said before the game that Tony Parker would start the game on the bench and D-League call up Garrett Temple would again start at point guard.
Temple played 27 minutes last night against Sacramento, scoring 15 points on 5-of-8 shooting. Parker played 17 minutes off the bench, totaling eight points, three rebounds and two assists.
Griffin back to Iowa
The Suns again sent rookie Taylor Griffin to the NBA Developmental League to get time with the Iowa Energy in the D-League playoffs.
The stint will be Griffin’s third in Iowa this season. In 12 prior games he averaged 9.6 ppg and 6.2 rpg.