Photo: Eric Gay, Associated Press
San Antonio Spurs guard Dejounte Murray (5) during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Houston Rockets, in San Antonio, Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019. San Antonio won 135-133 in double overtime. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
San Antonio Spurs guard Dejounte Murray (5) during the second half…
HOUSTON – The lineup shuffle that Spurs coach Gregg Popovich unveiled Saturday in Mexico City was just business as usual for point guards Dejounte Murray and Derrick White.
With the medical staff lifting the minutes restriction to protect Murray’s surgically repaired knee, Popovich returned Derrick White to the bench and started Murray for the first time since Nov. 22.
Meeting with the media after shootaround Monday morning in preparation for tonight’s game against the Rockets, both players took the move in stride.
“I’m not here to talk about starting lineup or the bench,” Murray said. “I played aggressive. Coach gave me the freedom to play, and we won. That’s all that matters we won.”
Said White, “I am just playing. I would probably do the same things on both units. Whatever it takes to help the team win, I’m going for it.”
Murray celebrated his promotion during the 121-119 win over the Suns in overtime with a stat-sheet stuffing performance that included 18 points on 8 of 12, seven rebounds, five assists, two steals and one block.
Afterward, DeMar DeRozan and Patty Mills both used the word comfortable to describe how Murray looked starting again.
Asked if that description was accurate, Murray said, “If that’s how they saw it, yeah. I bring the same energy every game. I appreciate that, but it’s on to the next game.”
Murray said his approach is different as a starter, but was quick to add, “But we are pros, we have to be prepared whether we are starting or coming off the bench.”
The Spurs (10-15) are 5-5 in games White has started and 5-9 when Murray starts. Patty Mills (0-1) also logged a start at point guard this season.