The San Antonio Spurs Canít Be Stopped
The only thing that can defeat gravity is a rocket ship, and there may be moments when it might seem like one of the remaining playoff teams is a rocket ship—they win a game against the Spurs or build a 24-point lead (like the Clippers did). But, at the end of the day, you’ll see that it was just a mirage or you wanted to see a rocket so badly that you convinced yourself that it was one.
This gravity analogy might seem like it’s going too far, but there’s another connection that gravity and the Spurs share—both have been perceived as boring by most people. Some of us might be fascinated by gravity...as kids, plenty of us tested it by dropping toys from our roofs. But once you get to high school and you learn about physics, gravity isn't as much fun (at least for most of us).
Similarly, while the San Antonio Spurs have been on an incredible win streak of 18 games, it doesn’t seem that important. Play-by-play commentator Mike Breen stated during Friday’s game between the Los Angeles Lakers and Oklahoma City Thunder that if the Los Angeles Lakers or the Miami Heat were to go on a winning streak of that magnitude (it was 16 games at that time), then we might be calling them one of the best teams of all time. But because it’s the Spurs, the win streak has almost gone unnoticed.
Now, there seem to be a couple of reasons why the Spurs have gone under the radar. The number one reason appears to be that San Antonio has star players, but not superstars. Tony Parker, Tim Duncan, and Manu Ginobili are all recognizable names, but ask your mom if she’s heard of them. Just about every mom has heard of LeBron James and Kobe Bryant, but most will probably say they have no idea who Parker, Duncan, or Ginobili are.
It makes sense. Generally, people are interested in talking about superstars and how they made that amazing shot or they weren’t clutch at the end of the game and don't deserve their enormous paycheck etc. That’s pretty much all Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith talk about on “ESPN: First Take” Monday-Friday when it comes to the NBA Playoffs and they shouldn’t be criticized for that. If they talked about the Spurs for more than five minutes, they would knowingly increase the risk of you changing the channel.
The other main reason why the Spurs aren’t talked about is because of the way that they play and that’s where irony comes in. The Spurs don’t have high flyers and crazy alley-oop dunks. They don’t have controversial players; in fact, most of their players are fairly predictable. And yet, while that sounds boring, it’s exactly why nobody can beat the Spurs in a 7-game series.
The Spurs have a dependable set of players who all bring something different to the team and perform up to their ability on a consistent basis.
Tony Parker is going to drive into the lane and shoot a high percentage from 20-feet out, Tim Duncan is going to score from the post and get a couple blocked shots, Matt Bonner is going to make some three-pointers, Kawhi Leonard is going to get a couple of steals, Manu Ginobili is going to go backdoor and get lay-ups, Boris Diaw is going to get a couple of offensive rebounds, Danny Green is going to guard the opposing team’s point guard and give him fits etc.
And that’s only a few of the guys who get significant minutes for San Antonio, which is the other thing about the Spurs—they have so many weapons. During this postseason, nine players have averaged at least six points a game. Just to compare, the Thunder has only had five players average at least six points a game in this year’s playoffs. Not to mention, the Spurs were second in the league in scoring during the regular season and led the league in three-point shooting percentage.