Well, there’s a lot that’s happened in the NBA world since my last post. The Spurs have run the entire emotional spectrum at this point. What, you don’t know about that? Oh, okay, here’s a rundown, in hopefully succinct form.
Last year, the Spurs, by some miracle, made it all the way to the NBA Finals. They managed to dodge the Oklahoma City Thunder in the process, because Russell Westbrook tore his ACL. Their path was the L.A. Lakers (where Tim Duncan expertly trolled Dwight Howard, who’s moved on to Houston), the Golden State Warriors, and the Memphis Grizzlies (I was at Game 4!). Then they met the Miami Heat… and had them on the ropes. Game 6. Up five with 28 seconds left. And they lost it. They lost Game 6 in overtime, and a surprisingly-competitive Game 7. But I knew it was over after Game 6.
I didn’t sleep all that night. No, seriously. The entire sequence rolled through my mind constantly. I don’t usually obsess over these things, but for whatever reason, I did. I can’t even stand to watch those replays, which means it happened a whole lot on ESPN and everywhere else. Ray Allen is a hero to those Heat.
If that were the end, well, it’d be pretty depressing. I mean, what are the chances that a 38-year-old Duncan, 36-year-old Ginobili, and a 32-year-old Parker even make it back, much less win a championship? After that brutal sequence?
They did. They absolutely did.
What’s more, it wasn’t even close. They made it back there, with no Spur averaging more than 30 minutes per game in the regular season, without beating the “elite” teams for much of the season, but still finishing with the league’s best record. Ginobili had an inspired playoff run. Splitter redeemed himself. Patty Mills torched people. Parker wasn’t even the head of the snake, because this team had no real head to speak of. It was just a whole bunch of guys contributing to the team, and absolutely dismantling the Heat.
Yeah. Those guys.
What’s more, they did it in only five games, and had the highest shooting percentage ever in the Finals. They also had the highest average margin of victory ever in the Finals. It was an offensive renaissance. While some might dismiss the Heat as over the hill, a bunch of scrubs, they were still a great team. How badly they got beaten was a testament to how well the Spurs were playing.
Along the way, they beat inter-state rival Dallas, regular-season-reaper Portland, and the dreaded OKC Thunder. Pretty sweet.
So Duncan has five rings now. Five. At this age. Honestly, I don’t know if they ever make it back again. But even if they don’t repeat, the narrative arc on this is fairy-tale like. It’s like a good-over-evil triumph, a redemption so complete that you could see someone making it up. Except it’s all real.
Thanks to all the Spurs for making this last season one to remember.