Tim Duncan is not only not known just as Tim, he is not even known as Duncan. In fact, he is always called "Tim Duncan," to make sure we remember who he is.
Tim Duncan just doesn't get it. He is happy playing down there in San Antonio. He never tries to get his coach fired. He even likes his coach, Gregg Popovich, who everybody just calls "Pop." Pop doesn't get it either. He's been quietly coaching the Spurs since 1996, and even though he is coach of the year again, he doesn't think he is either a genius or a guru. Tim Duncan has himself been hiding in San Antonio since 1997, after he graduated from college with honors. He is so weird he never gets in the columns.
The last NBA team that said to itself, "We're playing for something beyond just a title here" was the 2001 Lakers — the best Shaq/Kobe team, as well as the last time those two guys were fully invested in each other's success. It hasn't happened since. It's happening right now, it happened at Staples Center, and it's going to keep happening through next month's Finals (and yes, they're going to win, barring an injury).
Ginobili allows for this amorphous quality more than any other player on the Spurs. Duncan is framework, the rock the pillar, Parker is the speed, the fire, the dominance. Ginobili is the enigma, the mystery, the magician. Never pick against the magician.
- Scott Leedy, in HP's SAS/OKC preview
ESPN Fact or Fiction: OKC is the team to beat in the West.
Adande: Fiction. Gotta go with the team that no one has beaten in these playoffs, the Spurs. They match up well with the Thunder and also would have home-court advantage if they played. Could the Thunder beat the Spurs possession-for-possession? Not the way the Spurs looked this weekend.
Gutierrez: Fact: It's probably a coin toss between the Thunder and Spurs, but the slight edge goes to the team with the more unstoppable scorer in Durant and the game-changing rim protector in Serge Ibaka. OKC can match San Antonio's scoring runs, whereas the Clippers and Jazz had no chance.
A. Kamenetzky: Fiction. I haven't verified this with ESPN Stats & Info, but the Spurs are currently riding a 753-game winning streak, right? They're also ridiculously deep, with one helluva Big Three and the NBA's best coach. Maybe the Thunder will be the ones to alter this perception, but for now, the Spurs look unbeatable.
B. Kamenetzky: Fiction. The Spurs haven't lost in 17 years. They were the better team down the stretch of the regular season, have dominated the postseason and will have home-court advantage. OKC has a great chance to win a title this year, but right now San Antonio has to be considered the favorite.
McMenamin: Fiction. Last I checked, San Antonio is still undefeated in the postseason and has the best coach in basketball on their side.
God I hate this Gutierrez guy....Can't wait to prove him wrong when we get to the Finals !
Lots of Spurs related questions this time in Hollinger's chat today. Lots compared to most ESPN chats. He has nothing but good comments about SA.
Sup John, who do you actually have winning the title? Why?
John Hollinger (12:25 PM)
Spurs. Because they're better than everybody else.
Bigger threat to San Antonio LAC or MEM
John Hollinger (12:28 PM)
Tough question. Memphis beat San Antonio last year and has shown they can defend the Spurs' stuff much better than most; but the Clippers' pick-and-roll game can give the Spurs trouble and they don't match up well against Blake.
John Hollinger (12:28 PM)
But ultimately I'd say Memphis. The Spurs will just shred the Clippers' defense to pieces, and it's hard for me to imagine a Popovich-VDN battle swinging in LA's favor.
You are basing picking the Spurs on them beating a horrible Utah team in the 1st round?? Whether they draw LAC or Mem in round 2 and then OKC or LAL in round 3 it is gonna be alot tougher
John Hollinger (12:33 PM)
I'm picking them based on their going 28-3 in their past 31 games, and winning the season series against every remaining team in the West, with at least one humiliating win against every one of them. Or how about this: They're 22-3 in their past 25 road games. Two of the losses came when they sat their starters. Nobody's beating them.
Miami would have the 3 best players in a series against the Spurs. Tough to overcome that even considering Heats lack of depth
John Hollinger (12:43 PM)
Two best, yes. But I'd argue 3, 4 and 5 play for San Antonio, as do 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12. Chalmers could probably be the Spurs' 10th man if he applied himself; he's the fourth-best payer on Miami. That's why I'd take San Antonio.
Is Gregg Popovich an all time great coach?
John Hollinger (12:43 PM)
Beyond a shadow of a doubt. Automatic Hall of Famer.
How many more games until the Spurs current winning streak ends?
John Hollinger (1:09 PM)
I'll say Game 3 of the second round, en route to a five-game series win. But we'll have plenty more time to dissect those possibilities in next week's chat. That's all the time I have but thanks again for all the great questions. We'll do this at a date and time to be determined once I know where I'm going to be in round 2.
Questions? We've got the answers
What have we learned so far in the postseason? (PER Diem: May 7, 2012)
By John Hollinger | ESPN.com
How long will everyone willfully ignore the fact the Spurs are the best team?
For a while longer, apparently. Please, everyone, more essays on the Lakers' and Celtics' title chances. Don't let San Antonio's 27-3 mark in its past 30 games with the Big Three and near-certain home-court advantage for every remaining series distract you. And by all means, feel free to ignore the fact the Spurs are 19-1 on the road in their past 20 games the Big Three have played.
After three methodical beatdowns of Utah, including one of the sweetest last-second plays you'll ever see to get a Matt Bonner 3 at the end of the first half of Game 3, the scary thought is that San Antonio's defense is catching up to its offense. The thought entering this series was that Utah's bruising post game was the perfect attack to face San Antonio, especially after Zach Randolph beat them up in the playoffs last spring. Instead, a spry-looking Tim Duncan has completely bottled up Al Jefferson, Boris Diaw has provided a much-needed post defender at the 4 and the Spurs are fourth in playoff defensive efficiency -- a mark that would be even better were it not for the copious amounts of garbage time in the first three games.
So keep ignoring them. They'll just be quietly chuckling while they await their next overmatched opponent, standing 13 wins from one of the greatest closing kicks in league annals. Not that anyone's noticed.
"Hector and Jack the photographer dispatched to SA International to see which Spurs DON'T get on the plane for last 2 reg. season games."
"Ginobili is at the airport, Hector reports. Updates to follow. Spurs plane set to leave at 3 pm."
"Tim Duncan is at airport too."
"Tony Parker is also at airport. It's official. Big 3 will travel to at least Phoenix for 2 game road trip."
Pop, talking about George Hill:
"He’s just an incredible human being," Popovich concluded.
"Then I traded his ass. Because I’m a prick."
Stephen Jackson, addressing SA media in full for 1st time since trade, said he cried tears of joy when informed he was headed back to Spurs.
When asked if he can recapture magic from 2003: "It's not if I can. I have to... I’m going to be my normal self. I still make love to pressure."