Wednesday night, the Lakers faced the Spurs in San Antonio in a game that meant nothing. The Spurs earned the number one seed a couple of games ago and the Lakers have been irrelevant all season. Sit back and think about that for a second. The Spurs finished the season with the NBA's best record and the Los Angeles Lakers are a disaster. How sweet it is.
The Spurs spent most of the 48 minutes doing everything they could to not get injured. This meant that San Antonio did not go for 50/50 balls, did not attack the basket, did not challenge shots, but most of all, they did not care. The Spurs did not want to jump into the air and come down on anyone's foot, so they didn't jump much. The Spurs shot 10 free throws the entire night and I didn't complain about the officiating a single time. I set some records tonight. Six of those 10 free throws were taken by Austin Daye and two by Cory Joseph. So really, the Spurs accidentally earned one trip to the line. Obviously, this was not a great game to watch.
Gregg Popovich gave Tim Duncan and Marco Belinelli the night off. He played Tony Parker 16 minutes, all in the first half, and gave Manu Ginobili 23 minutes of run time. Both Tony and Manu played fairly well in their limited action. Kawhi played 24 minutes and looked good while scoring 14 points, grabbing five boards and dishing four assists. It's difficult to win a game while doing everything possible to avoid contact and so the Spurs eventually fell to the hapless Lakers, 113-100.
After the game, Pop walked up to the media and began before questions could be asked. "Well, we had a good regular season and now the postseason starts first game noon on Sunday. We'll see who it is. The two teams we might be playing are playing right now so I'm going to go watch them. Y'all take care." Pop then turned around and rushed out, amid laughter.
Honestly, I was way ahead of Pop. I watched more of the Mavericks at Grizzlies game than I did the Spurs game. As I'm sure you are aware, the loser of that game was destined to face the Spurs in the first round. Well, I can tell you that it was very evident that neither the Mavericks nor the Grizzlies wanted to play the Spurs. Both teams gave it everything they had and the game went into overtime. In the end, Memphis emerged victorious, and so the Spurs will face Dallas in the first round of the playoffs.
It seemed that most Spurs fans were hoping for a date with Dallas, and that's exactly how it worked out. I'm not concerned about Dallas is the slightest. I think at best the Mavericks get hot one night and steal a game. More likely, though, this will be a comfortable first round sweep. Dallas is well coached and did a lot with what they had this year, but the point is that Dallas didn't have much. This Dallas team isn't close to the Spurs' level. The Mavericks are a team that doesn't rebound the ball well and plays soft defense. That's a recipe for disaster against the Spurs.
While the Mavericks greatly overachieved this season, Memphis underachieved due to Marc Gasol's injuries. If he had been healthy all year long, Memphis would have challenged for the 3 or 4 seed, most likely. So it's definitely nice that the Spurs will face the lesser of the two teams this Sunday. In addition, the Spurs will avoid the immense physicality of Memphis, which will now smack Russell Westbrook right in his annoyingly smug face.
The only thing that scares me is that I'm extremely confident. Maybe I'm too confident and my thoughts will be the downfall of the Spurs. It's illogical and just superstitious nonsense, so you don't need to be concerned. Do anti-jinxes work if you've already jinxed? Do I need to regular jinx again? Hmm. I'll just quietly try not to over-think my brain into disoriented confusion before Sunday hits. Wish me luck.
On the basketball court, the Spurs are superior in every facet of the game. They will control this series with their defense and run away with it with their offense. I'm sure PtR is about to flood you with analysis, so I'll step aside and let them wash you away. My pick, Spurs in four. Game 3 will be close, because that's how it always works, but the Spurs will sweep Mark Cuban's Mavericks right out of the playoffs and it will be awesome.