On to the next one!
This has been the motto for the San Antonio Spurs for the last 17 years. Calling this franchise merely consistent would be a serious understatement. The Spurs have inspired an entire basketball generation with their stellar Head Coach Gregg Popovich, and of course, the legendary “Big Three”. The unbreakable bond between these two dynamic entities is the foundation and support of the roller coaster the San Antonio Spurs have been riding on for the last decade. Sure there have been several drops, but the Spurs have always managed to look at adversity dead in the eye and overcome every twist and turn that stands in the way.
Now let’s zoom back to the present. The year is 2014. With Tim Duncan at age 38, Manu Ginobli at age 36, and Tony Parker age 32, one would expect the initials “SAS” would stand for “Super Ancient Squad” rather than San Antonio Spurs. But oh contraire. This team has become something more than just “The Big Three”. We see another defensive maestro in Kawhi Leonard as we did with Bruce Bowen from 2001 to 2009. Tiago Splitter, the center from Brazil, has been a dominating presence in the paint and an instrumental part of the team’s success. And let’s not forget three point specialist Danny Green who will let it fly from downtown. This team has the young blood, the influential veterans, and also the wise Guru Gregg Popovich. The Spurs have the pieces to the puzzle for another championship. Now they just have to put it all together.
With an impressive win against the Oklahoma City Thunder in an over-time thriller, the Spurs advance to the NBA Finals for the second straight year. Boris Diaw had a team high of 26 points, shooting 8-14 from the field. Tim Duncan displayed his cool demeanor during the last few minutes of the game as he scored 7 of the 11 points in overtime. Leonard, Ginobli, and Green combined for 43 points and all players made BIG time plays down the stretch. Tony Parker sat out the 2nd half with a sore left ankle that was sprained in Game 4, and then provoked in Game 5. Despite his absence, the Spurs were able to hold off a ferocious rally from the Thunder and raised the Western Conference Championship Trophy for the 6th time since 1998.
NBA Finals 2014. The stage is set. This is the first time the Spurs have been to the finals in back to back years, and their last nemesis has not changed from last year. The Miami Heat have won 11 straight playoff series and look to make it 12. With a convincing Game 6 victory over the Indiana Pacers, the Heat are in full momentum and it will take everything the Spurs have to debilitate the fiery squad. Something that has changed is the new Finals Game Format. Instead of the 2-3-2 format put in play since 1985, the new format will be 2-2-1-1-1. The Spurs will have home court advantage and look to claim the revenge they have been fervently waiting for since the final buzzer went off in Game 7 last year. This will be the first Back to Back NBA Finals with the same teams since 1997 and 1998 where Michael Jordan achieved his last two NBA Championships against the Utah Jazz. Will we see a similar pattern, or will the Spurs squash Miami’s Three Peat Quest?
This roller coaster ride the Spurs have been riding on may be coming to a stop, but before it does, they have one more chance to reach the apex and stand tall as world champions for the 4th time in 11 years. Game 1 is set for this Thursday (6/5/14) at 6:00 pm Pacific Time. It’s finally time to pick a winner.
On to the next one!
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