MIAMI -- Headed into Game 7 of the NBA Finals, Gregg Popovich is excited. Ecstatic even.
"We are already thrilled," Popovich said at Thursday's Spurs shootaround. "The day is starting out great because it's our last shootaround of the year. What can be better than that?"
"No," Popovich said straight-faced. "I'm serious."
But with an NBA title on the line in a winner-take-all game, there has to be some stress and anxiety. The Spurs are still dealing with letting one get away from them in Game 6 on Tuesday night. But for Popovich, what's difficult for him is the randomness and uncertainty of what could happen to decide a championship.
The Spurs have the random step-up candidates in a bunch of places between Gary Neal, Boris Diaw, Tiago Splitter or maybe even a guy like Matt Bonner. Or potentially Danny Green, who is far past random at this point but -- after a 1-7 Game 6 -- could use some redemption. Is he feeling the pressure of having to step up?
"You can't think that way," he said. "You've got to go down shooting. You've got to go down giving your all."
They do have the old faithfuls, though. The guys who have always been there -- Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili. All three were big factors in 2005, when the Spurs won a Game 7 in the Finals -- albeit on their home floor -- against the Pistons.
Is there anything that they can draw on that might help on Thursday night?
"One would think so," Popovich said. "But who knows."
What about him?
"I'm just as limited now as I was then."