The San Antonio Spurs won their 13th game in a row and put this series against the Utah Jazz in a stranglehold. No NBA team has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit so the Spurs are sitting pretty. A Game 3 that I feared would be hotly contested proved to be nothing more than a steady beat down. As we all are well aware of at this point, the Spurs are good. They are very, very good.
Kenny Smith described the Spurs' play as 'surgical.' I thought that was an apt description. The Spurs are tough to keep pace with because they are so good at everything. A team may keep up for a quarter or two, but beating them for four straight quarters has proven to be impossible. A healthy Spurs are a deadly Spurs. We are watching a team with incredible depth and veteran leadership. Athleticism mixed with savvy and a heavy dose of unselfishness has been our winning recipe. This team is ready to make a championship run.
Tony Parker provided us with yet another MVP performance. He finished with 27 points and 6 assists. His stat line is understated, believe it or not. He hit the most critical shots of the game, again and again. Whenever the Jazz made a move, Tony answered. He kept the torrid Jazz crowd quiet as he hit them with dagger after dagger. Tony is the reason that the Spurs won the game.
You really can't complement our star enough. The Jazz clearly made it a point to make life hard for Tony. They were bodying him up, slapping at him, scrapping at the ball, and knocking him to the floor at every opportunity. Tony put 27 on them; a seemingly easy 27 at that. If Tony can continue his dominance, the Spurs are going all the way this year.
Danny "Big" Green played very well. He's simply active. He's in the passing lane and all over the boards. Kawhi and Danny have the athletic ability to be in two places at once. They are able to help Tim defend on the block, and are quick enough to get back to their man. Their help defense leaves the opposition without any defensive weak points to attack. We haven't had this kind of perimeter defense since Bruce Bowen was out there; and one could make the case that our current duo is defensively superior.
My man Captain Jack came up big again. After hitting just 19 of 62 three pointers during the regular season, he's made 6 of 11 thus far in the playoffs. Jack always shows up when it matters. Even more than his shooting, I've enjoyed his defensive work and desire to crash the boards. When he is in the game you can feel confident that his man is not going to get an offensive rebound. Captain Jack has that Robert Horry trigger that gets pulled as soon as the playoffs commence. He's clearly excited to be back on a contender and we are reaping the benefits.
The Jazz managed to keep up in the first half. Contested shots that missed in San Antonio were finding the bottom of the net in Salt Lake City. They were getting away with physical play that hampered the Spurs' flow. However, the Spurs' play would eventually take its toll. The Spurs gave the Jazz a steady dose of Silver and Black basketball and Salt Lake simply could not stay with us. The Spurs wear teams out. They've done this all season. If the first unit doesn't get you, the second unit will. And if you manage to survive both initial barrages, there is plenty more of where that came from. The Spurs' depth, contrary to the talking heads' belief, is paying dividends in the playoffs.
The Spurs come at opponents in waves. It's D-Day all over again; my grandfather would be proud. Eventually, the Spurs break the line and march towards victory. There is no stopping them. As long as they stay healthy, the march will not stop.
By the way, Utah is the type of team that's supposed to befuddle the Spurs. We are supposed to be vulnerable to teams that play a big frontline. Jefferson, Millsap, Favors, and Kanter compose one of the most formidable combinations of big men that the NBA has to offer. Our Spurs have shut them down. I'm beginning to think that Memphis may be an easier out than Blake Griffin and the Clippers. We have the recipe to beat them. Our upgraded roster and a healthy Manu will be too much for the Grizzlies.
But do not misunderstand me; I think we'll destroy the Clippers, too. The Spurs are simply too good right now to lose to anyone in the West. As good as the Lakers and Thunder have looked, the Spurs have played better. We do not have the obvious weaknesses that our Western foes exhibit. I'm as confident as ever that this is our year. It's time to sweep this Utah team away and prepare for our next inferior foe.
Your Three Stars
Although he did not manage to find his shooting touch, Manu did everything he could to help the Spurs take a 3-0 lead. His ten assists and five rebounds were instrumental to the Spurs' dominating performance in Game 3. He made our offense flow in a very physical game that took place in the most hostile of environments.
Tim is our rock. He's been the steadying force behind the Spurs' success all season. In this game, he defended the younger Jazz big men extremely well. He also chimed in with a cool 17 points. You simply cannot do much better than the Big Fundamental.
Tony stopped every Jazz run before it had the chance to gain momentum. He was deadly in the open court and even though the Jazz's game plan centered around keeping him out of the paint, Tony found a way. He finished with a game high 27 points and more hockey assists than I could count.