In 2007, the Spurs were the unmistakeable kings of the NBA. Their toughest playoff opponent that year was Phoenix in the second round. The Spurs defeated them in six games. After knocking out the Utah Jazz in five games, the Spurs met the LeBron James-led Cavaliers in the 2007 NBA Finals. Cleveland did not have nearly enough to compete with the Spurs. San Antonio cruised to the Larry O’Brien trophy as they won in four games.
After a long six-year absence from the NBA Finals, the San Antonio Spurs are back. Surprisingly enough, the Spurs still have the same core of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili. Many teams would feel the need to break up the core after not returning to the finals for so long. However, the Spurs didn’t feel it was necessary because they knew this trio had what it took to, someday, return to the NBA Finals.
Manu Ginobili is back and hungry for more at 35 years old. At 37 years old, Tim Duncan defies the law of aging as he is still an elite big man. This time around, 31-year-old Tony Parker carries the most responsibility for the Spurs. Parker is an MVP-caliber point guard that helps Duncan stay in top-notch game shape. Tim Duncan deserves a ton of credit as he takes care of himself. But Parker’s excellent stamina and leadership gives Duncan a lift. Younger players such as Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green also play big roles in the team’s success.
Russell Westbrook’s injury definitely helped open up the door for the Spurs to get to the Finals. But nobody can use that as an excuse because it is what it is. At the end of the day, the San Antonio Spurs are the last Western Conference team standing. You cannot consider this a fluke because we all know the Spurs are made of concrete material. Only the more unbreakable product can break the Spurs.
The Spurs didn’t just reach the NBA Finals in 1999, 2003, 2005, and 2007. They won the championship all four trips. San Antonio has made it clear that they don’t get to the final stage to lose. They get to the final stage so they can put the icing on the cake. Whether it’s the Heat or the Pacers, this will be San Antonio’s toughest finals matchup since the 2005 Detroit Pistons. The Heat and that Pistons team are fairly unlike each other. But the Pacers are very similar to the ’05 Pistons in that they rely on tenacious defense and don’t depend on a superstar.
No matter who the Spurs play, you can bet they will be fully prepared. Perhaps, Gregg Popovich will be over-prepared. If there is any coach that acts as the sixth man, it is Gregg Popovich. Nobody gets the message across to their players better than Popovich does. Pop is a genius and a viscous man when it comes to the coaching industry.
As for Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, and Tim Duncan, they want to make this season unforgettable (in a good way). One common rule that we have seen throughout the history of the league is that winners stay winners. Tony Parker’s craftiness with the ball might blow you away, but he plays the game to win. Tim Duncan’s superiority at 37 years old might be satisfying enough for some, but he plays the game to win.
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