By: Carey Wood
Tim Duncan and the Spurs look to deny Lebron his revenge and win their 5th NBA title….
It’s hard to believe that it’s been six years, since the San Antonio Spurs swept away Lebron’s first bid for an NBA title. In the 2007 NBA Finals, the Spurs were the overwhelming favorites and proved why, to everyone, including Lebron and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Things have changed, at least on one side of the equation. Lebron has taken his talents to South Beach, and is no longer in search of his first ring. He and the Miami Heat are trying to repeat as NBA champs. It would be Miami’s 3rd title (2006, 2012). Lebron, is also no longer the big 1 like he was in Cleveland. It’s now the Big 3, with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. On the other hand, things haven’t changed much with the Spurs. They have a Big 3 of their own, so to speak. Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, and of course Tim Duncan. The same Big 3 the Spurs had in 2007, who are now in search of their 4th NBA title together (Tim Duncan’s 5th), and the Spurs 5th title overall.
Notice the number, 2007. The seven is of course, an odd number. Now, look back at the other three titles the Spurs have won (1999, 2003, and 2005). All of them end with odd numbers. That’s odd huh? That’s four NBA titles, and all of them came in odd numbered years on the calendar. Is it just a coincidence, or is their something to it? Let’s dig a little deeper.
In the 2012 season for instance, the opinion on who would win the NBA title was pretty mixed. A number of people, of course picked the Heat to win going into last years playoffs, but just as many, if not more picked the Spurs to win. The Spurs were the most experienced team, and definitely had the talent to win, but the Oklahoma City Thunder would prevail in the Western Conference Finals. The popular opinion was that the Spurs looked old, and that the Thunder were now the team to beat in the west for the time being and the future. Then, came Russell Westbrook’s injury in the first round of the playoffs, this season. Who would take advantage? The Lakers were without Kobe Bryant and on the verge of going fishing, at the hands of these very same Spurs, the last NBA champion from the west, the Dallas Mavericks didn’t didn’t make the playoffs, and while the Golden St. Warriors and Memphis Grizzlies were nice stories, those teams weren’t ready for this stage. That left the San Antonio Spurs, in 2013. An odd numbered year, but there’s more to this Spurs team than good fortune in odd numbered years.
The Spurs are a deep, well coached, experienced, and very efficient basketball team. The Spurs are very meticulous about everything they do. I think the Indiana Pacers are well coached, but the Pacers are lacking in every other category I just mentioned, when compared to the Spurs. The Pacers are long and very athletic, and that gave the Heat a lot of problems. The Spurs are not as long, and they’re definitely not as athletic, but in every category the Pacers lost against the Heat, the Spurs are much better. Tony Parker is much better than George Hill, and will not turn the ball over as often. While, Roy Hibbert had an excellent series against the Heat, Tim Duncan is just as capable, but also has more savvy to stay out of foul trouble. Unlike Hibbert. The Spurs don’t have that one guy that can guard Lebron, like Paul George, but you can bet Greg Popovich has a plan. He at least has bodies. I’m sure we’ll see a mix of Kawhi Leonard, and maybe Danny Green, but the S-Factor (Sports & Swag’s version of the X-Factor) of this entire series could be Boris Diaw. Diaw, is not as quick as Lebron, but he can body him up. Boris Diaw, can also score. He’s good around the basket, and has range on his jumper. We haven’t seen a lot from Diaw, but watch out for him in this series.
The key to this series, to me will be just how much will Dwyane Wade give the Heat? Lebron, scored 32 points in the game 7 clincher over Indiana, but I thought Wade’s performance was the key. If, Wade plays that way, the Spurs probably won’t win this series. That’s been the problem with Miami, though. Which Miami Heat team is going to show up? Well, we know which Lebron is showing up, but what about the rest of the Heat. You can’t show up for 2 full games, and maybe 3 quarters and beat the Spurs, like they beat the Pacers. The Spurs have been more steady, and the talent level is about equal for both teams. That’s why I like the Spurs in 6 games. That said, I think this is the best possible NBA Finals we could have had. Enjoy the Finals!