There's a cliche in many hero's journey stories where the protagonist must defeat all of his or her chief enemies in succession at their end of his or her quest. Call it the Mega Man syndrome.
The way this postseason is playing out, we may be witnessing life imitating art. If things line up as should be expected around here, the Spurs will go through the Mavs, Suns and Lakers in the west, we will have run the second robot man gauntlet before exercising our reflexes against whatever Dr. Wily wins the east.
I can't think of a better challenge for the elusive fifth ring Tim Duncan's thumb so badly wants. How much sweeter will it be if the Spurs battle through every one of our rivals this past decade -- the teams that have, with the Spurs, ruled the NBA for longer than they have rights to -- and then face the so-called heir apparent in the championship? Couldn't be no sweeter.
Of course, the problem with this analogy is that the game will be over once we win the Larry O'Brian. No one here would be satisfied with that, and I know no one is Spurs HQ would be, either. Still, it would make a nice bookend for the first five rings, at least.