Hello. Longtime Spurs fan here, first time poster. To explain myself in a few brief points: 1) I started watching the team since I was seven years old (thirty years ago...geez) in the glory days of Iceman, A-Train, Mike Mitchell, Johnny Moore, with head coach Man-Perm Albeck. 2) The greatest title-winner of our four was the 2005 edition. 3) Ginobili and Parker are surefire Hall-of-Famers, with Ginobili probably making it on the first ballot. 4) The greatest series we lost was round two, 2006, versus the Mavericks. 5) No one reading this will ever see anything like the Memorial Day Miracle again, and I refer not only to the shot but everything having to do with that game. (I will elaborate in a future post) 6) The most important aspect of the Spurs' legacy moving forward is that perfect 4-0 in Finals play. If Chicago gets to the Finals again, they must be stopped - and for that I am fully prepared to root for the Mavericks to get the repeat or for Kobe to get #6. I don't like the sound of either one of those, but better that than 7-0 for the Bulls.
Okay, that was more than a few points. I did promise a clumsy introduction, and I'm a man of my word.
But this isn't about me - this is about the team. In ordinary circumstances (ie, regular-length, non-locked out seasons) I prefer to see the Spurs go for the highest attainable seed. Many people like to believe that the regular season is irrelevant, that seeding doesn't matter, homecourt doesn't mean much, or anything at all. And the evidence in support of this is dramatic, and thus has the power to appear persuasive: Houston beating the top four teams in the NBA, all on the road, in 1995; Denver shocking the Seattle Sonics in 1994, the first ever #8 defeats #1 in NBA history; the magic carpet ride to the Finals by the 1999 New York Knicks; the stunning defeat of the 67-win Dallas Mavericks in 2006 by the Golden State Warriors; and, as we all remember too well, the Memphis Grizzlies' upset of the San Antonio Spurs.
I won't argue the dramatic impact those results had on us as fans, especially the 1995 Rockets or last year's Grizzlies; what we're dealing with in these cases is Man Bites Dog. When the #1 beats the #8, well, big whoop. That's barely worth a screen crawl on ESPNEWS because it happens ALL. THE. TIME. A few factoids:
- The average NBA champion earns a record of 58-24
- The home standing team in the NBA Finals has a 47-18 series record
- The team with the best record in the league, shared or held outright, has won the championship 31 times. The second-best team has won it 19 times. The third-best team has won it 6 times. In sixty-five seasons, only nine teams finishing fourth or worse has won the NBA title.
- Spurs-related: Across four championship runs, the Spurs have played sixteen series; they had home-court advantage in fourteen of them.
So yeah. I am a big believer in earning a high seed. Ordinarily.
2012 is a special case. We've got thirty days to play nineteen games, and our core is, well, how can I put this: Tim Duncan is six years younger than TWO Kawhi Leonards. The Spurs have retired seven jerseys; Duncan has played with four of those honored players. Tim Duncan has played during three different presidential administrations and in two different home arenas. When Tim Duncan first donned the Silver and Black, there were only three Star Wars movies, one Harry Potter book, and no American Idols. (I certainly didn't mean to suggest that things have changed for the better) LeBron James was almost thirteen years old. Tiger Woods only had one major championship to his name. Tim Duncan played NBA basketball prior to the existence of the Charlotte Bobcats, the new Cleveland Browns, the Houston Texans, the Arizona Diamondbacks, and the Tampa Bay Rays.
I could repeat much of this for Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, but you get the idea. We've seen it play out all year. Pop has handled his core brilliantly so far, and it has led to the fourth-best record in basketball. In this upcoming nineteen games in thirty days gauntlet, we can certainly afford to tread water thanks to this fourth-best record: finishing 11-8 (that's a .579 winning percentage compared to our current .702) gives us a record of 44-22, equivalent to 54-28 or 55-27. What would our pursuers have to do to match a 44-22 record?
- The Lakers would have to finish 14-4 (.778)
- Orlando would have to finish 14-3 (.824)
- Indiana would have to finish 16-3 (.842)
- Atlanta would have to finish 14-2 (.875)
- The Clippers would have to finish 17-1 (.944)
- Memphis would have to finish 19-1 (.950)
And to reach 44-22, Dallas, Philadelphia, Denver, Utah and Boston would have to finish the season without one more loss.
Well, I think we can do it. We can rest our guys a little bit more, take our foot off the gas, manage those minutes, and when the dust settles we're in a nice spot behind Oklahoma City in the West, and Chicago and Miami out East. (Of course, if we make the Finals, we'd only play one of them) With a relatively fresh roster and a #2 seed in the West, I like our odds.
Let's do it, guys! All together now: Eleven-and-eight! Eleven-and-eight! Eleven-and-eight!
Who's left on the schedule?
- @ PHO
- @ SAC
- @ CLE
- @ BOS
- @ UTA
- @ GSW
- @ LAL
- @ SAC
- @ PHX
- @ GSW