November 25, 2010
The Spurs are still here
There are a surprisingly low amount of San Antonio Spurs related posts, not only on this blog, but across on most blogs and websites around the global INTERNAATS (outside of San Antonio, of course). Somehow, the last decade's most successful basketball team (along with the Lakers) went by either hated, or at worst, unnoticed by most in the basketball world.
But the San Antonio Spurs, NBA Champions in 1999, 2003, 2005, and 2007, and contenders for damn near every other year, have once again sprung up from under the radar and are currently owners of the NBA's best 13-1 record, including owners of an incredible 12 game winning streak. Ask the casual NBA fan of the intriguing storylines of this NBA season, and he/she will mention the failing Big 3 at Miami, the chase for a sixth championship for Kobe in LA, the Celtics and their acquisition of Shaq, or Kevin Durant and the exciting young Thunder squad. And still, none of these teams have had a better start than the Spurs have.
Maybe it's because of their leader Tim Duncan, who has once again been the model of a quiet professional, getting it done year after year (after year, after year) without fanfare, hype, big shoe deals, and relatively lower global attention. Maybe its because of their coach Gregg Popovich, who has stuck with the same winning system, rated boring by half the world (and cheaters by the other half). Even the antics of Tony Parker and his Desperate Housewife or Manu Ginobili's incredible clutch talent/ incredible flopping talent have brought this team into mainstream attention.
Duncan recently became the Spurs' all time leading scorer, overtaking their other legend and twin tower, David Robinson. Duncan, known as T-Robot for his efficiency and lack of emotion (expect that he is programmed to frown at questionable referee calls), continues to cement his legacy as one of the greatest power forwards of all time. And yet, year after year, he continues to be overlooked.
But the Spurs are still here, and still winning. After getting swept by the Suns in last year's Conference Semi-Finals, Spurs have responded well with more of the same formula that has made them so successful over the past 12 years. Duncan, Parker, and Ginobili are once again getting it done, and are being supported ably by younger talent such as Richard Jefferson, George Hill, DeJuan Blair, Tiago Splitter, and the rest.
When the season began, I had predicted that there will be few teams who could really challenge the Lakers for the Western Conference Championship. The Spurs' fast start has made me doubt that prediction: I still feel that no one is stopping Kobe and LA from reaching the Finals again, but I don't think that the ride through the Western conference will be as smooth as I had earlier expected.
I spent much of the last decade cursing and fearing the Spurs - no matter what the scene around the league, you could bet that they would always be a threat to your favourite team. And here they go again. The best managed franchise in the league just won't go away...