The Spurs and the Celtics never stopped battling for the ball.
The Spurs decided to save their worst performance since the All Star break for the hottest team in the East. It seemed as if they tempted fate the last 34 minutes of the game. Maybe that was the plan all along. Perhaps they just wanted to be sure that Destiny was on our side. Well, my friends, case closed.
When our championship DVD is created, this game should be included. It's a game that future champions win. It was a hostile environment. The Spurs managed to build a 17 point lead early on only to watch the Celtics chip away and eventually take the lead in the fourth. The crowd was in it, and we could not stop turning the ball over. The momentum had swiftly swung to the Celtics, and the officials knew they were in Boston. The Spurs should lose this game. I've watched this kind of game play out countless times and instinctively know how it ends. Only this is not just any other year. This is a special year. We will not lose these games. If it's close in the fourth, confidently predict the win. This is our year. The Spurs are a juggernaut and the timing is perfect. I'm all in. Championship.
Spurs 81, Celtics 83; 4th 2:27
Let me give you the match-ups before we begin: Rondo vs. Ginobili, Allen vs. Neal, Pierce vs. Jackson, Bonner vs. Bradley, and Garnett vs. Duncan. At this point, I was using Pop language on Pop. I thought he benched Tony. Later in the telecast we were told that Tony sustained an injury while being tackled by Bradley. My bad, Pop. (Fred -5)
Let me quickly say this; the Celtics are a dirty, dirty team. If they were lab-born, the DNA used most likely would have been Chris Paul's and John Stockton's. They utilize every old man trick in the book. They grab jerseys, push from underneath when you shoot, step on your feet, throw elbows, set illegal screens, and hit you when the officials are not looking. They do this the entire game, but always manage to never cross the obviously intentional line. I'll be honest with you; I don't know whether to hate them or respect them. They do what it takes to win and even if it is dirty, it's within the game's rules and therefore intelligent basketball. It does drive me crazy, though. (Celtics +5)
Pierce and Garnett pick and roll. Jackson fights through the screen and forces Pierce to pass it to Garnett. Garnett takes the contested jumper and misses; rebound Bonner. Captain Jack is playing with emotion that he's had to withhold for nine years. He's ready to be a difference maker on a championship team. He's played with non-contenders for too long and he is now ready to jump back into the spotlight. Captain Jack is back, baby. (Captain Jack +10) (Spurs +5)
Spurs 81, Celtics 83; 4th 2:15
Manu and Tim pick and roll. Pierce cheats into the paint to help out on the cutting Duncan, so Manu finds a wide open Jackson. The ball goes in and out, and Tim snares the board. He pivots and hits an open Gary Neal, swish. It was so pure the ball did not hit the rim and the net stayed upright out of respect. (Spurs +5)
Spurs 84, Celtics 83; 4th 1:54
Rondo, Garnett pick and roll with Ginobili and Duncan defending on the left side of the court. Rondo dribbles right, then uses his pick to the left. Garnett is moving and lays his shoulder into Ginobili, who goes flying; no call. I mentioned that the officials knew they were in Boston, right? Why don't they ever realize that they're in San Antonio? Oh, right, small market and all that. How forgetful of me. Pierce ends up taking a contested jumper and Duncan secures the rebound as Rondo undercuts him. Nice try Rondo, but the officials can't let this one go. It was either a foul or Tim fell down on his own accord and it was a travel. Tim to the line. (Spurs +5)
Spurs 84, Celtics 83; 4th 1:38
Since Tim has never really improved on his free throw shooting, I always announce that I want one of two when he steps to the line. This way, I'm content the vast majority of the time. I suggest that you begin doing the same. Tim makes one of two,and I'm content. (Spurs +3)
Spurs 85, Celtics 83; 4th 1:38
I absolutely loved this play. It begins with Rondo guarding the ball as it slowly rolls up the court. He doesn't want to touch the ball because precious seconds will be wasted. Wise move, my friend. With 1:38 remaining, these 3 seconds could be devastating, or not. Once the ball gets to three quarters court, Garnett waives Rondo off and takes over the 'let the ball roll down the court' game plan. The Spurs are in defensive position the entire time waiting for them to quit the nonsense. Finally, Garnett picks the ball up and forces a pass to Pierce. Jackson has been using this time to establish defensive position and picks the ball off. (If you were listening to the broadcast, Sean was correct. Garnett threw the ball in and was the first to touch it. That's a violation, but we didn't need the whistle. As 'Sheed would say, "Ball Don't Lie.") (Spurs +5)
Spurs 85, Celtics 83; 4th 1:31
Destiny is about to give us the nod. These are the quirky plays that decide championships. You need them to win. Manu tries to drive but dribbles it off of Allen's foot. Neal fights for the ball and kicks it to Jack in the corner. Jackson makes a nice fake, takes a dribble, and misses the open jumper. Manu comes out of nowhere to snag the rebound in a crowd and passes it to Tim just before stepping out. Tim passes it to Neal, and the Spurs reset. He gives it to Manu, who milks the clock. Manu then drives and sends a fly ball into the paint. It gets batted around by Duncan, Garnett, and Pierce as they fight for the handle. Somehow, Manu ends up with the ball. He jumps underneath the basket while covered by three defenders and just as he's about to land he finds Bonner. Bonner takes a 15 footer with Allen in his face and sinks it as the shot clock buzzer sounds. That, my friends, is called destiny. (Spurs +5)
Spurs 87. Celtics 83; 4th 0:46
Unfortunately, I can't tell you how Ray Allen ended up so open. Let me complain for a second (yes, I know your world is spinning). Why do our local stations always decide that we would rather see some replay than watch live basketball? I don't care if it's just the point guard dribbling; live is greater than replay. I can replay on my DVR. Your replays are now worthless. Just give me every second of live action. Adapt to the times. By the time the live action resumes, Danny Green is 12 feet away from Ray Allen and Stephen Jackson is not helping. Allen runs to the corner and hits a wide open three pointer. I wish I could tell you more. (Celtics +10, it was huge.)
Spurs 87, Celtics 86; 4th 0:38
Tim sets a high screen for Manu. Manu fakes and passes to Danny Green in the corner. He takes a jab step, squares up, and fires a three. The ball goes in and out and Garnett rebounds. (Celtics +5)
Spurs 87, Celtics 86; 4th 0:18.5
The Spurs play great transition defense and Boston is forced to take the timeout. 7.9 seconds remaining.
The Spurs force the Celtics to take their last two timeouts with outstanding sideline defense. With no more timeouts left, Allen is given the ball on the sideline. He finds Pierce who executes a pick and roll with Garnett. Jackson and Duncan switch and Pierce now sizes up Duncan. He takes him to the free throw line and pulls up for that fade we've seen thousands of times. Clank. Spurs win. (Spurs +5)
Your Three Stars
It's the attitude. He is fearless. Jack gives this team the edge that every championship team requires. In 1999, we had Mario Elie. In 2003, we had Captain Jack. In 2005, we had Robert Horry. In 2007, Horry stepped up again. And now, Jack is back. You have to have the guy that is not afraid of the big moment. He's critical, and he's back.
Well, they definitely wanted this one. It was a nice try, but...
... destiny only favors one. As bad as we played the entire game, we still managed to beat one of the best teams in the NBA in their gym. That is absurd. We were awful, yet we beat a quality team. Cruise yet dominate, it's the Spurs' way.