Rinse, wash, repeat. It seems like the San Antonio Spurs have been the class of the Western Conference throughout my entire adult years. And that’s a rather long time. The constant for this franchise has been Tony Parker, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Gregg Popovich. Teaming up with other moving parts, the Spurs are once again on the brink of showing everyone in the Western Conference who is boss.
After being forced to the brink of elimination against the Dallas Mavericks in the first round, San Antonio was able to turn it on in that decisive Game 7, winning by 23 points. This has been the same story throughout its entire run. Facing tough opponents on the court and coming out smelling like roses in the end. Remember the Spurs hard-fought series against the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference semifinals last year? Everyone thought that they were done, especially with younger and more talented teams rising up in the conference.
San Antonio proceeded to take out the Memphis Grizzlies in four in the Western Conference Finals before taking the Miami Heat to the brink in the NBA Finals.
It’s being repeated again.
After narrowly defeating Dallas last round, the Spurs have stepped up their on-court game and are now one win away from sweeping a Portland Trail Blazers team that many had defeating them in the semifinals. And it really hasn’t been that close. After a 118-103 victory against the Blazers in Portland on Saturday night, San Antonio’s average margin of victory in this series is nearly 19 points per game. Just think about that for a second. After all, the Blazers are no slouch. They won 54 games during the regular season and disposed of a 54-win Houston Rockets team in the first round.
Everyone wants to talk about Duncan, Ginoboli and Parker. That’s more than fine, as they have been the core of this team for over a decade. However, it’s important to note that seven different players are averaging nine-plus points per game in this series. Patty Mills, Boris Diaw, Marco Belinelli and Tiago Splitter are all playing great basketball.
With just one more win before advancing to the Western Conference Finals, it’s hard to imagine anyone being able to stop the Spurs on their path to a second consecutive conference title. It now remains to be seen, assuming San Antonio does the expected, whether it will have to match up with the two-time defending champion Miami Heat in the NBA Finals.
Photo: Craig Mitchelldyer, USA Today