McDyess: ‘Now is where the playoffs start’

The four injured Spurs who missed Monday’s game against Portland all were working to a goal of playing in tonight’s pivotal game against Boston at the ATT Center.

Coach Gregg Popovich again said that Tony Parker (left patella contusion) and Antonio McDyess (lower back contusion) both were closer to recovery than Tim Duncan (sprained left ankle) or Manu Ginobili (left quadriceps contusion.) Both Parker and McDyess have said they could have played Monday night in an emergency situation.

Popovich said that Duncan and Ginobili will be game-time decisions.

McDyess said the additional rest has helped the team as it prepares for the stretch run with eight games left in the regular season.

The Spurs will be attempting to turn around a season-worst four-game losing streak. In each game, they squandered a fourth-quarter lead.

McDyess said having the time off has helped the team refocus after the recent slump.

“That’s tough, but we look at it it as a positive because we were in every game,” McDyess said.  “Now is where the playoff starts. We need to focus down the stretch and get the rest of these games.”

Tonight’s game starts a tough finishing kick for the Spurs, who will play their final eight games during the next 14 days. Included will be three groups of back-to-back games.

McDyess said the upcoming schedule is the primary reason he is pushing the start of the playoffs ahead a couple of weeks.

“It’s now,” he said. “You can’t just jump into the playoffs and feel like we’re going to start in the first game of the playoffs. We’ve got to prepare ourselves before. That’s why we say that this is when the playoffs start.”

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