Enjoy the Dominance
You have to admire the San Antonio Spurs.
Seriously, the Spurs might be the most under-appreciated dynasty in pro sports, let alone the NBA. They’re currently in their 17th consecutive post-season (best active streak in the league), appearing in NINE Conference Finals in that span with four titles.
There are kids graduating from high school this weekend who have never seen the Spurs fail to make the playoffs. These same kids have seen the Dallas Cowboys win just one playoff game too, but that’s another story.
The constant in this Spurs run is clearly Tim Duncan. He’s the only player ever to record at least 4,000 points, 2,000 rebounds, 700 assists and 500 blocked shots over a post-season career. Duncan has 154 career playoff double-doubles, scoring in double-figures in 220-of-228 games.
When Duncan was joined by Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, they became practically unstoppable, with 113 playoff wins as a trio – the most-ever by three players. Those same three powered the Spurs to the best record in the NBA this season. Duncan is 38, Ginobili will be 37 in two months, while Parker just turned 32. And don’t forget Coach Pop, who simply has the midas touch.
While all three are key to San Antonio’s chances to beat the Heat in the Finals, the one player the Spurs simply cannot do without is Parker. He’s clearly the straw that stirs the drink.
I’ve said for a long time that I believe Parker is the most underrated player in NBA history. He’s simply third all-time among point guards in post-season scoring, trailing only Jerry West and Magic Johnson. Parker is one of only six players with at least 3,500 points and 1,000 assists in the NBA playoffs (joining Bird, Kobe, Magic, Jordan and Pippen).
When was the last time Parker was one of the first names called out when running down the best point guards in NBA history? Try never. But he should be. Parker is better known as the ex-husband of Eva Longoria, which tells you a lot about our TMZ-loving society.
Parker just wins and he is the catalyst to the Spurs’ engine. That’s why when he sat out the second half on Saturday night at OKC in the Spurs’ clincher with “ankle soreness,” it gave me pause to think about San Antonio’s chances vs. Miami.
Of course, the Spurs need every bit that their “big three” bring to the table in the Finals, but especially Parker. It’s the position, really. Point guard. If you have a good one, you can win. It is as simple as that.
Take the 2011 champion Mavericks, for example. Actually, it’s better to look at the 2012-13 version, their first without Jason Kidd. The Exxon Valdez had a better finish. A team without a point guard is a ship without a rudder. And the Spurs need their rudder. Oil spills happen with no rudder. Or if Darren Collison and O.J. Mayo are running the offense.
Now, Parker would have to suffer a broken ankle before he would sit out these games. Plus, the Spurs have until Thursday to heal up from any bumps and bruises. Parker’s going to play, and that’s good for the Spurs.
Miami’s only shot is to steal one of the first two games in San Antonio. Combine a heathy Parker with the veteran savvy of Duncan and Ginobili, and I don’t see that happening. The Spurs are 71-22 in home playoff games since 2002 and they’ve won seven consecutive home games by 15-or-more points – the longest streak of its kind in NBA history. San Antonio is 30-4 in home playoff games, all-time, when the big three each score 15-or-more.
The Reverse Barometer official call: Spurs in six games, exercising the demons from one year ago. More good news for the Spurs – the NBA has gone back to the 2-2-1-1-1 schedule format; no longer are there three consecutive games on the road in the middle of the series.
It’s hard to imagine the San Antionio Spurs without Duncan, Ginobili or Parker, but that day will come. Enjoy this team while you can and get another glimpse on what team basketball is all about.
2014 high school graduates, please take note. If these Spurs win another title, that will make five in your lifetime. On a related item, maybe the Cowboys can notch playoff win No. 2 while you’ve been on this earth before you get through graduate school.