I'm relatively new to these boards (though I'm definitely no newbie when it comes to Spurs basketball--even though I'm only 19), so some of you may not know my personality when it comes to dealing with people. I'm an African American sophomore in an organization called the Corps of Cadets here at Texas A&M University, and the ROTC programs here are run like boot camp (if you don't believe me, I missed watching the NBA playoffs yesterday because the entire Corps went on a 20 mile march--literally). Although I'm a somewhat sympathetic and conflict-avoiding guy by nature, being in the Corps will teach you to "handle your business" when it needs to be handled. As long as you keep it professional, you can completely break someone down without so much as lifting a finger.
Anyway, I say all that to say this--in spite of my training/surroundings, I'm what you can call a nice guy. I hated when people dogpiled on Dirk after the last two years (even though I LOATHE the mavs), because after all, The Admiral was in the same a similar position in the mid 90s. I refused to jump on Shaq when he was struggling on a ridiculously inferior Miami team. I respected the hell out of teams that were better than San Antonio because even though I bleed Silver and Black, I'm not so much of a blind homer that I can't acknowledge that other teams may be better than mine in some respects. That's just the kind of guy I am.
In spite of my nature, however, I am absolutely OVERJOYED at how the media has turned so quickly and completely on the phoenix suns entire organization. Let's face it, Spurs fans, while we've been doing more important things like winning titles, the suns have had one of the most exciting offensive styles of basketball that the NBA marketing machine has feed off of for nearly half a decade. With the minor exception of the GS Warrior's resurgence from basketball purgatory last season, phoenix has produced the type of game that draws casual fans and fills up the highlight reels. Even I was occasionally entertained by the suns' appalling lack of even the slightest defensive prescence uptempo style of basketball. It may not win championships, but it was fun for them while it lasted.
Then came "The Trade." I'm not gonna lie, when I first heard the trade rumors from dallas and phoenix, I thought it might be God's way of blessing me for finally contributing to the church offering plate last week. I mean, when your two primary playoff threats literally offer of their own accord to give up their primary role players (Devin Harris and Shawn Marion) for two aging stars past their prime (Kidd and Shaq), you must be in the Lord's favor! I don't know how many times I screamed "DO IT!" at my computer screen during the next fortnight or so. When the trades finally went down, the media (rightfully so) looked askance at the suns and mavs essentially altering their entire identities. Initially, both teams sank like stones, but when phx appeared to pull it together by building up wins against a combination of cupcake opponents and a couple of meaningless regular season triumphs over my Spurs, the media seemed ready to give their support back to phx once again.
I'm sure all of y'all remember the Spurs' last game of the season against utah, where they could've ended the night as high as the 3rd seed or as low as the 6th seed. I remember despairing because I'd been holding out hope for a matchup with houston (come on, who wasn't salivating at the prospect of taking on a rockets team sans Mr. Commie Government Experiment (yao ming)). The absolute last thing I wanted was a rematch with the suns, not because I was scared of them, but because of the 3-ring media circus the media could be counted on to cook up. Lo and behold, the Spurs beat the ever living daylights out of the jazz (even though they HAD to have tanked just a little), and while the media spent the rest of the night heralding the suns' chance for "revenge," I saw something different in the Spurs that night. It wasn't just that they'd handed a jazz team with an ulterior motive their head on a silver platter--it was the WAY they did it. Tony Parker not being denied in the paint, Timmy dominating the post and literally RUNNING THE FLOOR, Manu doing the voodoo that he do so well, the role players stepping up and playing well, regardless of the score. I saw a Spurs team that had finally clicked into their deadly "playoff gear." We usually see it during the Rodeo Road Trip, but this year it only took one game to define this team. Come on, these guys are vets, after all.
Still (as usual), the media questioned the Spurs' mettle/ability to deal with a super-motivated suns team that had made the entire season their own personal crusade against all things San Antonian. The Spurs had turned the other cheek to the constant needling from the desert all year, and like the true professionals they are, they refused to take the bait to get into a war of words before the series. But you know they had to have heard all the speculation/discreditation due to the events of last year. You KNOW! These are human beings, after all, not just basketball robots.
Of course, when the suns threatened to run SA out of their own building in the early goings of games 1 and 2, the media couldn't say enough about the motivation of phx against the age of SA. After all, the evidence was playing out before the eyes of the world, right?
That's when the Spurs flipped the switch called "PLAYOFF MODE."
It pains me to say it, but I didn't see game 1 live because I was out doing Corps military training. I mean, I was in SA for the Memorial Day Miracle, watched Steve Kerr ambush the mavs in '03 while I was living overseas, screamed myself hoarse during Big Shot Rob's game 5 of the '05 Finals, and repped SA last year during the finals when I was in Air Force training in Japan, so living all the Spurs' moments has been a point of pride for me. I went out to eat with my buddies after training, and some dude comes up to me and asks me what I thought about Duncan's 3. Natually, I'm saying "WHAT THE HELL?!" I mean, there are so many doggone mavs fans on this campus I thought the guy was just pulling my leg because I was wearing my Manu Ginobili t-shirt. Then I saw the highlights. OH. MY. GOD. I screamed even though it was only a replay. I still haven't gotten over my initial goosebumps. More importantly, I truly believed for the first time. Even though the media did it's job hyping the fact that SA needed 2OT to "scrape" by phx at home, I saw my Spurs show the type of character that championship teams are made of. Game 2 was less scintillating for the rest of America, but a breath of fresh air for yours truly. The lasting image from that game for me was Shaq sitting on the bench with his fingers in his mouth, whistling to distract Timmy while he was shooting free throws. Fittingly, Timmy made the shot. Game 3 didn't produce any screams from me. I literally sat back and marveled at the winning machine that is the SA Spurs. I mean, from Tony Parker looking like a monster, to Manu's anointed shooting touch, to Timmy eating Shaq's lunch inside and outside the paint, the Spurs finally stopped the gravy train of popular favor the suns have feed off of for so long and literally FORCED America to acknowledge they were the better team--and that it wasn't even close.
Regardless of whether SA finishes off the series in 4, 5, 6, or even 7 games When the Spurs sweep phx today, the sweetest part will be that they exposed the suns for what they are--a pitifully talented, yet undisciplined bunch that will never win anything of consequence unless they adopt a different philosophy. While SA has destroyed a team custom-built to beat them, phx has devolved into a deer-in-the-headlights organization of playoff chokers. And SA did it without even mentioning trying to validate last year's playoff results. This is why I LOVE THE SPURS!
Thanks for reading my rambling post (I'll keep 'em way shorter in the future!) Before I sign off and get ready to go to church, I'm gonna leave y'all with a youtube vid that describes what the Spurs are about this postseason. I'm usually not a fan of hip-hop (I'm more of a contemporary Christian/country type of guy), but in this case I'll make an exception! "We are here to build a DYNASTY!"
here's the link: http://youtube.com/watch?v=zMlhmVxMdlc
Get your brooms out, San Antonio!!! GO SPURS GO!!!!