NBA: Spur-red to greatness in the TX Triangle Reply

by Jordan Gnipp, Texas Pro Sports blogger

Despite their first loss in 50 days last night, who would have believed that the San Antonio Spurs would still be in it, up against the young and talented Oklahoma City Thunder, in the Western Finals? Not this sports fan! Like me, most fans would give the savvy veterans and former champions the benefit of the doubt to make the playoffs, but no one saw this heart-pounding run coming. Despite the Thunder roll over San Antonio in Game Three, the Spurs are still very much in it, although they have their work cut out for them.

That’s not to say that the Spurs aren’t world class contenders. That’s exactly what they’ve been in the NBA over the past decade, with multiple championships, a Hall of Fame coach, and cast of players going to the Hall as well. Plus, the Spurs barely have any controversy to speak of, but they do have plenty of fundamentals and a generally non-flashy style of ball being played that Dr. Naismith would be proud of. The Spurs are also proof that a pro team from a town considered  “small market” (in the shadows of Houston and Dallas, here in Texas) can still be wildly successful, even in a league where star players gravitate to big cities. The NBA should make sure it stays that way.

No doubt, NBA commissioner David Stern does not like the idea of a team of non-Angelinos making the Finals from the West, especially the perceived “boring” Spurs, which is why Stern will root like crazy for the Miami Heat to make it out of the East Finals to face the Spurs or Thunder. Unfortunately for Stern, he’ll have to learn the hard way that true sports fans love to see gritty blue collar teams take down flashy mega teams. Stern shouldn’t worry about the NBA television ratings, which should be fine nationwide because if the Heat make it, everyone will want to see if LeBron James finally wins a championship.

A match-up between the Spurs and the Heat would go a long way in determining LeBron’s legacy, which is still  young since coming to the NBA out of high school. If LeBron can help lead the Heat to a championship past the veteran, on-fire Spurs, it will get him the ring he needs and deserves, and help clear his name as a choke artist.

The stakes for the Spurs? They would be painted as the “good guys” against the villainous Heat and, if they win, would be celebrated not only as champs, but as the team that most likely breaks LeBron’s heart and legacy (the Heat lost in last year’s Finals to the Mavs and Dirk).

The other potential match-up for San Antonio would be the Boston Celtics, if that team should manage to miraculously climb out of their 0-2 hole against Miami in the East Finals. But if they do, the Spurs’ Tim Duncan could potentially deliver the performance of his life to beat the man he most hates in the NBA – the Celtics’ Kevin Garnett. In a recent issue of Sports Illustrated, Duncan diplomatically hinted that he has no love lost for the hard-fouling, “mean mugging”, loud-mouthed Garnett.

Inside the NBA Texas Triangle, the Spurs are Switzerland for fans committed to the Houston-Dallas feuds and should have the support of most Texans, heading into the Finals. For now, Texas NBA fans can step out of their feuding ways long enough to recognize the dynasty in their backyard, and enjoy it while it lasts. The Spurs’ future is uncertain beyond this season, but no one in the Alamo City cares right now. They know it’s time to just enjoy one last big run by their beloved Spurs team.

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