Pops pulls fast one, sits Manu, Duncan

DALLAS -- San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich indicated after this morning's shootaround that the Spurs would play to win tonight.

Tim Duncan and Manu Ginoboli apparently aren't part of that plan.

Those two Spurs' stars aren't dressed out. They're replaced in the starting lineup by Antonio McDyess and Roger Mason Jr.

That all but seals a Mavs-Spurs series, assuming Dallas can defeat its depleted opponent.

"We just go into the game to play it," Popovich said this morning. "There are other factors that help determine what seed you’re going to be that you don’t control, so the best thing to do is just continue to try to be the best team you can be by the time the playoffs start.

"If it’s Dallas, it’s Dallas. If it’s somebody else, it’s somebody else. You really can’t control everything, so there’s no sense trying. Just do your best. That’s what you can control."

His starting lineup says otherwise. Of course we probably should have known Pop was up to something when at the end of his interview with the media after the shootaround he quipped: "Did I mention though that Timmy, Manu and Tony aren’t playing tonight?"

Well, Tony's playing. But, Manu and Timmy aren't even in street clothes on the bench.