Remember when most of us thought the Western Conference Finals would be a slug-it-out fight that would end in six or seven games? Yeah, me either.
The San Antonio Spurs are heading back to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2007 after sweeping the Memphis Grizzlies.
This series had the potential to be one of the best in recent memory, but the Spurs were not having any of that, simply bettering the Grizzlies in all facets of the game and showing why this franchise has had great success over the past 15 years.
Tony parker was sensational throughout the Western Conference Finals. In the close-out game, the Frenchman torched the Grizzlies for 27 points on 15-21 shooting. There was nobody who could stop him, not even defensive-extraordinaire Tony Allen.
With the win on Monday night, the Spurs will be able to get some much needed rest with nine days off coming up. That will seem like an eternity, but the Spurs will gladly take the time to get ready for either the Miami Heat or Indiana Pacers. Greg Popovich will have a game plan for both teams and with a coach like Pop and all he has accomplished, the opposing team will have a difficult task at hand.
I believe the Spurs will square off with the Heat, with the Heat winning the series in five, possibly six games. With that said, let’s see how these teams would fare against one another.
The two teams met twice during the regular season, with some very interesting story lines. In the first meeting, the Heat were victorious, but there was a kicker. Popovich sent home Parker, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Danny Green because it was “in the best interest of the team.” The Spurs ended up being dealt a $250,000 fine for this. As for the game, the Spurs nearly defeated the reigning, defending NBA champions, who played all their best players.
In game two, it was the Heat who were undermanned, with LeBron James and Dwyane wade sitting out to rest some nagging injuries. The Heat won the game, behind a strong performance of 23 points and nine rebounds from the big three’s other member, Chris Bosh.
A finals matchup between these two teams would be one for the ages, or at least that’s what we’d hope for. The series would come down to three things:
One: Can Wade or Ginobili show up for their respective teams? They haven’t played high-level basketball this postseason, so that matchup would be interesting.
Two: Can Bosh and Birdman contain the Big Fundamental and can Bosh keep Duncan and the rest of the San Antonio big men out of the lane with his three-point shooting?
Three: Can either team shut down the other’s best player? Those two would be James and Parker. It could come down to late-game situations. Who would prevail in the end?
The big three of San Antonio, who have had a great deal of success, will head back to the NBA finals for the fourth time together. They mark the first trio in NBA history from a team other than the Los Angeles Lakers or Boston Celtics to reach four NBA finals. This is their fifth finals appearance in franchise history, posting a 4-0 in their previous four trips.
The Spurs are the first team since the 2003 New Jersey Nets to sweep a conference finals; the Nets went on to lose in the finals to none other than the Spurs.
The Spurs were in complete control during the Western Conference Finals and will have a long, rested wait to try and get championship number five. Regardless of who they play, it should be a fun ride.