In last years NBA Finals, it took 7 hard fought games for the Miami Heat to eek one out to win the back to back title they sought out for. The Spurs were 1 flip up game clock running down, 37 year old clutch shooter, Ray “buckets” Allen to bury the Spurs hopes. They played a great series, going further again than the majority of folks would have thought they were going to go, as usual. But is it possible that last year was their last hurrah? Was that their best chance at the 5th title? Especially because at one point they had their 5th ring won, until Ray drilled that shot from the corner.
This year, the Spurs seem again on another mission. Obviously with their game play as always, scoring 106 a game, up from last year, their defense has been awesome giving up only 97 a night, allowing opponents to shoot only 44% against them. They have had some amazing winning streaks, which we are all well aware of. They have been great at home, and just as great on the road, which is a very essential factor to make a real move come playoff time, you absolutely must win on the road.
One thing that does concern me for the Spurs is this, they are 4-10 vs the top 4 teams in the West. Which is apparently where they have to get out of 1st before they can even begin to think about getting to the finals again. In the East, they have been 2-2 going up vs the only teams worth mentioning, the Heat and the Pacers. Some could argue and say that until the Spurs are knocked out, they are still the Western Conference champs, so they get to hold that crown until someone rips it from them, and that is true. But they are better then last year. They’re also a very deep team who has gotten much better with their bench in particular. Adding knock down shooter, Marco Belinelli was, to me a great grab. he can score from anywhere on the court, and he can do things that other guys they had last year couldn’t.
Teams with speed have decidedly shown they can run the Spurs off the court, especially OKC. Also a healthy Clippers team is really good, and I still think will be the team heading to represent the West this year. I do worry about San Antonio’s health of the team, can they stay upright with the age factor? Also I felt that Kawhi Leonards game would have elevated a bit more since last year, when I felt he was seriously going to be a big time star in the league. After last year I thought this was going to be the year, in fact he’s playing less time than he did last year. He needs to be a guy who can bring it every game and that’s where he needs to step in and deliver. I think he has potential to be a 17-9 guy if given the opportunity.
I think the Spurs are a very good team, yet all the time, seemingly every year, no one truly takes the Spurs as a legit threat for the title, especially since they have the “old crew” of players, they have no blow your mind players who have been outstanding this season. Only 1 “All-star” on the team, and no one who is scoring 18 or more a night. Coach Gregg Popovich is doing what he does every year in the league, win 55+ games a season, and make people shake their heads in confusion and admiration. They will go down as one of the best franchises in NBA history, without a doubt. As they stay the team that plays great during the season, and no one pays attention to them, they will not surprise come playoff time, the faster, younger teams will take notice and not fall for the “old team” trick.
Written by TonyK of VegasTopDogs.com