11:16:51 PM | 5/28/2013
Author's note: (re-updated 6/19/2013 2:32:57 PM) as of this writing, the Spurs are on the verge of winning the NBA title if they will win Game 7 at Thursday Night in Miami (Friday morning, Manila time)
They’re quiet, they worked under the radar, and more than being either the “underdog” or “dark horse,” they will just surprise you with their winning ways. Perhaps very rare number of people, if not “nobody,” talked about this team, which defied signs of aging, just to compete and win games… yes, even if they’re one of those few teams that are already been mainly treated as the “elders” at the current NBA generation. I am talking about this defense-oriented team by the name of the San Antonio Spurs.
One of 3 Texas-based squads at the National Basketball Association, the San Antonio Spurs still managed
to be part of the winning teams at the powerful Western Conference. Well, moreover to the Southwest Division, where 3 of its 5 teams made it to the 2013 NBA Playoffs. They scored a 58-24 win-loss record during the 82-game regular wars, enough to brag the right of being the divsion winner. But the postseason phase is another different ball game. Your standing may define your playoff spot but regardless of that, everything will be back to square one.
Since Gregg Poppovich took over the coaching reins about 15 years ago, the Spurs have been transformed into a playoff contender, and more over, a champion. They won 16 of their 22 finals games; thus emerging victorious in all of its 4 tries (So technically, they’re undefeated). They downed an Eastern champ (despite being on 8th placer) New York Knicks in 1999; Prevailed over the New Jersey Net’s another attempt to the championship belt in 2002; Dethroned the Detroit Pistons in a grueling-but-exciting game 7 at their home court in 2005; and the last time they've won that big one was 6 years ago, when they swept LeBron James’s huge and emotional run with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
So they've managed to send the Eastern Conference champs for already four times at their franchise history, with considering their third clash at the Finals with the Pistons a much tougher task, eh? But the question is can they dethrone another defending champion this time around? Considering the fact that Miami Heat has done well during the playoffs (and don’t forget, they owned that 27-game winning streak, the second-all time highest in the league). Let’s take a look back on their run.
First round, they swept the Los Angeles Lakers. Perhaps one of the Spurs victories over the latter since their rivalry is also one of the most-witnessed series for the past few years. But they had done it with Kobe Bryant on a serious sick bay. The superstar guard was out until September due to his torn ligament. Ouch! I don’t think KB24 will retire from there though.
Onto the second round, they battled another California-based team, the Golden Sate Warriors. Stephen Curry’s company actually pulled off another playoff upset on its run against the Denver Nuggets. They came running and gunning with the Spurs, and even managed to get even with them at 2 apiece. The Spurs took it the other way though and advanced a step closer on a 4-2 win.
And for the Western Conference Finals, San Antonio battled the Memphis Grizzlies, another young-but-athletic team which actually came off from defeating the defending runner-up, the Oklahoma City Thunder, at one set of the western semifinals match. Well, seems the Grizzlies had suffered a much hangover over its emotional upset as they were swept by the Spurs, almost all of its games in a very close contest. However, the Grizzlies can not be denied for being one of those dark horses in this year’s post-season party.
Now, Spurs will only rest of a while and have to wait until June 6 on which team from the Eastern Conference they’ll be battling on. Will it be the defending champion Miami Heat, or it could be one of this year’s upset-makers by the name of Indiana Pacers? The pressure will be on these two teams considering the fact that the squad, led by the ever-fundamental Tim Duncan, alongside the lightning quick Tony Parker and the Argentinean superstar Manu Ginobili piloting the squad, was one of the very tough defenders in the league. And Coach Gregg Poppovich’s already solidified his status as one of the most winningest playoff coaches of all-time. Well, it seems to be a good fight after all.