Never shy to share his opinions on basketball teams and the state of the NBA at large, Jeff Van Gundy called into Zack Lowe’s podcast this week. As usual, he was candid about the a variety of items: covering the chances for the Cavaliers and the Warriors in the Finals, the NBA at the halfway point in the season, All-Star Weekend, and at minute twenty-one, an unplanned detour to the Spurs.
Lowe posed this question to The Notorious JVG: “Who’s better –point blank, full healthy- now this may not be possible given what’s happened with Kawhi this week- who’s more dangerous to the Warriors or just better qualitatively at full health- Houston or San Antonio?”
Van Gundy went with Houston over the Spurs, stating that the Rockets are better constructed this year with two Hall of Fame guards in Chris Paul and James Harden as well as their supporting cast Luc Mbah a Moute and P.J. Tucker.
Lowe reminded Van Gundy that the Spurs “waxed” the Rockets in the Western Conference Semifinals Game 6 last season. Van Gundy interrupted with something that every Spurs fan knows, but might need to benefit from being reminded of right now:
“Can I say something about that? We did that game. It was one of the greatest performances that I’ve ever seen in basketball by a team…the other Rockets got cut so much slack because it all went to Harden…it’s like the other Rockets didn’t participate in the shellacking.
…the magnitude of this. (The Spurs) won on the last possession of Game 5 at home. Now they don’t have Leonard, and they don’t have Parker and they win by what - 39 on the road in Game 6.
Think about that- it’s one of the great performances of all time. It even made some people like covering it say “I wonder of they are better without Leonard”- STOP, they’re not.
I think what’s gotten overlooked in all of that we focus about Harden, we focus about the Rocket’s failures but what we don’t do is give enough credit to just how great the Spurs played that night.”
Zack Lowe added “It’s almost frustrating…trying to get a handle on the Spurs…can I just see the real Spurs for just a game, there’s like always someone sitting out…and they win! They win games, it’s just incredible, without half their team, I don’t know what they hell they do down there.”
It’s always a good time to be a Spurs fans. Third in the West- a loaded West by most standards- without a consistent line-up and very little from the their MVP candidate. Lately there’s been a lot of anxiety, uncertainty, and insecurity about the state of health of the Silver & Black. But hearing Jeff Van Gundy’s take reminded me that the Spurs persist and stay relevant no matter the circumstance.
We don’t win a title every season, but we do compete!
Hear the entire podcast conversation and find Lowe’s archives here.
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