2012 NBA Playoff Postmortem: San Antonio Spurs

Tony Parker and the Spurs walk away after losing 4 straight,
but it doesn't mean the sun has permanently set on the Spurs.
(image by the AP)

Yes, once again, we all thought the Spurs were done.

And then, in their trademark under-the-radar-bordering-on-boring way, they supplant OKC as the West’s top-seed, and win their first 10 Playoff games.

Of course, we all know how it all unceremoniously ended with a four-game losing streak to the eventual Champions of the West.

But, still, to deny the fact that these Spurs were awesome this year is nothing short of a travesty.

Just look at it this way: TD, Manu, and Tony all won their first title in 2003 and now, 9 years later, they’re still in the thick of the fight. Contrast that with, let’s say, MJ, who won his first
O’Brien in ’91, and then fast-forward to 9 years later in 2000 – he’s in his second retirement.

This is a Spurs team that just won’t quit. They just keep on coming, and I’m willing to bet it’ll be much of the same next year.

Tim Duncan might be walking away from the 2011-2012 season,
but his return should spark another big run in the 2012-2013 edition.
(image by the AP)
Despite their collective age, I would, if I could, recommend to the whole Spurs organization to keep on riding this core – quite possibly the second-oldest Big Three in the world (Boston has the oldest, wouldn’t you agree?). Duncan won’t make the All-Star team again, but he’ll outplay any All-Star big in the Playoffs anyway. Manu will probably not play much in the regular season due to yet another injury, but he’ll be plenty tough in the postseason. Parker, again, will have to carry much of the load, and perhaps earn some MVP glances here and there, provided he doesn’t get too sapped by the London Games. And Popovich’s army of unheralded helpers will be all too happy to quiet the sneers of other bigger-named teams.

There is, however, a caveat.

With a full 82-game schedule on-hand, I’m not sure San Antonio has the inside track to repeat as the West’s #1 team by April 2013. And then there are the requisite power teams of the Conference. Oklahoma City, whether or not the Thudner walk away with the 2012 Championship, will continue its meteoric rise. Both LA teams should improve, with the Clippers benefitting from experience, and the Lakers benefitting from a few roster changes (who’s out: Gasol or Bynum?). Ditto with Memphis and a recharged Dallas five, which might see a new PG in Deron or an old friend in Nash.

But, there we go again, doubting the Spurs, and, before we know it, their magic kicks in and they make believers of all of us again.

Game Recaps:

MAI over BOS, 98-79
LeBron James quieted TD Garden with a 30-point first half and crushed the Celtics' spirits badly enough that he didn't need to close down the stretch. With Miami facing elimination, a stone-faced James carried the load with game- highs of 45 points and 15 rebounds. He shot a sensational 19-of-26 from the field and never saw the bench until Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra decided a 22-point lead with a little over three minutes remaining was enough breathing room to give the superstar a rest. Dwyane Wade chipped in 17 points and eight boards for Miami, which had lost three straight after taking the first two meetings. The Celtics shot just 1-of-14 from three-point range, and their leading scorer, Paul Pierce, was held to nine points on a porous 4-of-18 performance from the field. Rajon Rondo scored 19 of his 21 points in the first half and added 10 assists, while Brandon Bass and Kevin Garnett each netted 12 points in the one-sided setback.

MIA over BOS, 101-88
Game 7 wasn't a one-man show. LeBron James, coming off an iconic performance, was aided by Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh on Saturday and the Heat turned it on late to defeat the Celtics, 101-88, and earn a trip to the NBA Finals for the second straight season. The game was tied entering the fourth quarter, where James, Wade and Bosh combined to score all 28 of Miami's points. James finished with a game-high 31 for the Heat, who lost to the Mavericks in last year's finals and are looking to secure their first NBA title since 2005-06. They will visit the Oklahoma City Thunder for Game 1 on Tuesday. The Celtics, meanwhile, are facing the potential and seemingly inevitable end of an era. Rajon Rondo led the way with 22 points, 14 assists and 10 rebounds while Paul Pierce scored 19. Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett, both set to become free agents, finished with 15 and 14 points, respectively.

Will LeBron James continue smiling by the time the NBA Finals
end in late June?
(image by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

*Game recaps were compiled and compressed from the Sports Network.
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