The Post Game Show

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Spurs Saddle Up To Ring Number Three

O.K., we all did a double after take after the Detroit Pistons' stirring Game Six victory Tuesday night. We all questioned if Tim Duncan indeed lacked the leadership qualities to be "The Man" just like David Robinson had been for so many years in San Antonio. We questioned if Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker could match what Rip Hamilton and Chauncey Billups provided offensively, and we damn sure questioned if Larry Brown was going to completely out-coach his long time friend and understudy, Gregg Popovich.

Those questions were answered in kind by the Spurs, whose 81-74 Game Seven Triumph wrapped up the franchise's third NBA crown in the past seven seasons.

Tim Duncan took over at a point in the third quarter where he started his downward spin in previous games. Taking advantage of Rasheed Wallace's foul issues, Timmy refused to let Ben Wallace push him around and put the Spurs ahead to stay. Timely put backs, precise kick-out passes to Ginobili and Bruce Bowen, and yes, even the SBC Center had late night banking hours. While there is speculation that maybe Ginobili, or even Robert Horry deserved the Finals Most Valuable Player trophy, no one can dispute that without Tim Duncan, the Spurs would be just another team trying to break even out West.

Parker didn't have the greatest of games, but he didn't kill the Spurs, although his decision-making still leaves a lot to be desired. Hey, if I was spooning with Eva Longoria, chances are I wouldn't always be thinking clearly either. Before I get to Manu, let's analyze Tony's life. He speaks the language of love, French. He's got two NBA championships. He's a millionaire, AND he's gettin' it on with the Babe of the Moment in Hollywood. You better be saying your prayers every night, pal. God has been good to you.

As for Manu Ginobili, let's just end the could-be part of it right now, HE IS one of the best players in the NBA. His ability to get to the bucket is what opened up the paint for Tim Duncan, and the presence of mind to run out some clock when Horry hit him with that perfect inbound pass choked off whatever chance the Pistons had at a comeback. Pop and the Spurs waited three years for him to come on over from Argentina, and apparently, he was worth the wait.

As for Pop, I won't say he out-coached Larry Brown, but he did a helluva job of getting his guys together when the Pistons took a small lead in the beginning of the second half. He is one of the more underrated executives and coaches in the league, and he's one of the few guys who are doing well at double-duty. He may not be on Larry Brown's level just yet, but give him time. He certainly will be.

As far as the Pistons go, they have nothing to be ashamed of. It took Seven Games, a big shot from Big Shot Rob, and the best Power Forward on the planet to wrestle their crown away from them. They played well enough to earn the right to defend their championship against the best in the West, and came up just short. The big question of course is will Larry Brown be healthy enough to coach, or will he even be coaching Detroit next year. With everybody important under contract through at least next season, the Pistons will be back. Whether it's with LB remains to be seen.

Finally, this isn't Lakers-Celtics '84, Lakers-Pistons '88 or anything like that, but it's still one of the better Seven Game series the league has seen in a while. Yes, no one dropped 120, and there were no halfcourt shots or ferocious throwdowns to speak of, these teams played the kind of basketball you see in non-professionals. The ones who play for the love, who are just thrilled to be out there, but still are competitive enough to give it all they have. That's all you can ask for, is nobody laid down, nobody tried to be bigger than the game, nothing like that. It was basketball. Great basketball.

Training camps start around the end of September. I'm ready for '05-'06 already.

1 Comments:

  • At 7:37 PM, Blogger PC said…

    Great analysis. I spent the majority of Game 7 screaming and throwing pillows at the TV screen. I just can't believe Detroit didn't pull it off. :-(

     

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