| SAN ANTONIO
SAN ANTONIO San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker's right hamstring could tear at any moment yet he has no plans to skip Sunday's critical Game Five of the NBA Finals, the Frenchman said on Saturday.
With his team two wins away from an NBA championship, the 31-year-old Parker, the Spurs' top scorer, said he was going to take his chances and play against the Miami Heat.
"My hamstring can tear any time now," Parker told a news conference with the best-of-seven NBA Finals tied 2-2. "So if it was the regular season, I would be resting like 10 days. But now it's the NBA Finals. If it gets a tear, it's life."
Parker suffered the injury in the Spurs' Game Three blowout victory and an examination the following morning revealed a right hamstring strain.
He was in the starting lineup for Thursday's Game Four loss, hitting 7-of-12 shots for 15 first-half points but disappeared in a second half where he was held scoreless.
Parker said doctors told him a few days' rest at this point will not make any difference and so, despite the risk of a tear, he expects to play in the critical game.
"It's a must‑win," Parker said of Sunday's home game.
"That's why you play basketball to live those moments. It's a great opportunity for us. It's a big game. We have to win. Simple as that."
The game will be the last in San Antonio before the series, which uses a 2-3-2 format, concludes in Miami.
Neither the top-seeded Heat nor the four-time NBA champion Spurs have been able to win consecutive games in the series, which is now reduced to a best-of-three.
The prospect of heading to Miami, a team that lost just four of 41 homes games during the regular season and three in 11 home playoff games, is one the Spurs are not keen to face.
"We don't want to go back down there down a game with two games remaining at their house. It is a must‑win situation," said Spurs forward Tim Duncan.
"Obviously we lose this game, we're not giving up or anything, but we want to go back up with a chance to finish there. Huge pressure if we have to go back there and try to win two."
(Editing by Gene Cherry)