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Monday, April 19, 2010
Hill benched, but says sore ankle was fine

By Jeff Caplan

DALLAS -- George Hill said his sore right ankle was fine in Sundays's Game 1, but clearly San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich disagreed.

After Hill played a scoreless 15 minutes in the first half, Popovich had seen enough barely three minutes into the second half. He sat Hill, a game-time decision with a re-tweak of a sprain, the rest of the way.

"I didn't like what I saw in the first half," Popovich said. "I gave him a shot there to start the third quarter and I just thought he wasn't able to do what we needed to have him do."

The benching left the second-year guard who has been so integral to the Spurs' late-season resurgence perplexed.

"I was fine. I don't know what to say. I was fine, though," Hill said. "I couldn't say I just wasn't aggressive enough. I don't know what it was, to be honest. The foot was fine."

The Spurs need a scoring punch from Hill. They get nothing guaranteed from Richard Jefferson (four points in 32 minutes), Roger Mason (four points in nine minutes) or Matt Bonner (five points in 19 minutes) and need a burst from more than the The Big Three, which scored 71 of the Spurs' 94 points.

Now the question is whether Popovich will return Tony Parker to the starting lineup. Parker has come off the bench in all seven games since his return from a broken right hand. He had his best outing Sunday since coming back with 18 points on 7-of-15 shooting, four assists and two assists in 34 minutes.