Just when everybody thought these guys are running empty on their gas tanks, the San Antonio Spurs floors the accelerator on their engines and wages a mad dash toward the top spot at the close of the regular season.
And for the fifteenth straight time, they’re spending summer playing ball against 15 other teams.
How many times have they been written off as old, aging, and running low on fuel, and yet they somehow manage to claw their way up the top half of the standings and secure a spot in the playoffs? How many skeptics have been proven wrong about their pre-season hypothesis about the Spurs being just mere pretenders? And how many times this season have we seen these guys run winning streaks, pull off blow-outs and survive back-to-back-to-backs, without playing Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker?
Whether we like it or not, these guys are set to be a mainstay in the postseason for a couple more years. Especially now, with the addition of both new and old players that have contributed to what has now become arguably “the deepest Spurs” roster ever, according to coach Gregg Popovich.
Speaking of coach Pop, he’s back in the Coach Of The Year discussions.
And why shouldn’t he, after pulling off the best run his team has ever had, amidst the pressure of a shortened season, which has become prone to injuries, fatigues and burn-outs? Keeping your big three players fresh for the playoffs is no easy feat, especially if you have to do it in 66 games. But not only has Pop kept Duncan, Parker and Ginobili healthy, but recharged for the tiff they’re set to have against the Utah Jazz.
So some might say an upset could once again derail these Spurs for the second time again. I disagree. The Spurs disagree. They’ve got enough fresh and healthy knees ready to bang against the young and upcoming teams in the West. And after they dispose of the Jazz, they’re raring to get even with the Memphis Grizzlies in the second round of they both survive the first round.
Maybe the word “survive” doesn’t fit them. You only use that for sputtering empty tanks.
Because the Spurs still have a full one left on them.
They just beat the surging Boston Celtics on the road, 87-86. They are now on a 9-game winning streak. They just closed in to the number one team in the West (OKC), just behind one game for the top spot, and is leading by as much as four-and-a-half games ahead of the number three LA Lakers. They’re one win away from clinching their 14th consecutive playoff berth, the longest current playoff appearance streak, and could be in the history of the NBA.
So, what about these Spurs’ huh?
A few months ago, people have been dismissing them as old, outdated and outworked by the up and coming new teams. But the results will bear the Spurs out–they have won their series against OKC and with the Denver Nuggets (their possible match-up of the playoffs started today). And they have been stepping up in their strategies on both ends on the floor. Just the other night, a newbie in the neighborhood by the name of Patty Mills, topscored during their game against the Cavaliers. New guys in the block like Danny Green and Kahwi Leonard have been taking more important roles in the rotation. Putting Manu Ginobili back into his former role as first man of the bench has enabled his team to win better without him getting more tired. And the recent acquisitions of Stephen Jackson and Boris Diaw has further deepened the Spurs.
And, it has also bolstered their bid for the championship.
On that regard, let’s all just wait and see–after all, they still got a few more days to prepare.
And now the question: are the Spurs aging, or are they raging?