When do the playoffs start for you? The cliche is that it only begins when someone loses on their homefloor. Maybe. For me, the playoffs don’t begin until my heart starts pumping and I begin to consider the consequences of the Spurs losing this game I’m watching.
Last night it happened when I looked up and saw the Spurs down 2 points with 50 seconds left. Two games down to the Clips?
Thank You Patty
I’ll get to Tim Duncan’s time-travel visit from 2001 in a second, but let’s not forget that Patty Mills was ridiculous in this game. Without his cluth shooting at the end of the third quarter, and clutch free throws after the Griffin turnvoer, and right before that his veteran smarts to leak out for the pass, we wouldn’t be talking about a win last night.
We all know the Spurs have great depth and have worked to cultivate that for the last decade, but it still is amazing to think that Tony and Manu were both done with Timmy working on 40+ minutes at age 38 and we still won. This happened thanks largely to the balls-out play from Patty.
Championships are won by the other guys, usually. Stevie Kerr cashed the game-winning jumper for Mike Jordan, John Paxon cashed a huge three to beat Phoenix for MJ in ‘93. Bob Horry cashed the ridiculous three against the Pistons in 2005.
You win because guys step up when the Stars need help. We needed that help last night and Patty stepped up.
Timmy Tim Tim
I always wondered what it was like to see Kareem in his latter days, an NBA legend who played for so long still ballin’ despite being so old. Nearly two decades after Tim join the Spurs, I wonder no longer.
Duncan changed his approach from Game 1, in that he favored quicker, more decisive movements when guarded by Deandre Jordan.1 Outside of getting swatted so noteably late in the game, Tim worked over DJ so thoroughly that twitter was awash in Tim-killed-Father-Time jokes.
He looked so calm as he quickly turned and flipped quick turnaround hooks – straight from 2003 – over unsuspecting defenders. His midrange fadeaway going left was a go-to move for so long. Were it not for Derek Fisher making a deal with the devil, a version of that shot would be famous.
A lot was made of the Clippers fading down the stretch thanks to fatigue. The Spurs are way deeper, but with Tony injured and Manu fading fast, how deep are we?
The Spurs could have put this game away a lot sooner if those third quarter corner threes would have fallen sooner. That they didn’t was a tad unsurprising as SA shoots something like 34% from three on the road and 39% at home.
If that holds over the weekend, I think this will easily be 3-1 Spurs going back to LA. Without Tim and Manu and having to take the scenic route through the West 2 there is reason to worry.
Speaking of the West
I’ve been rooting for the Mavericks, mostly because I want my Houston fan friends to suffer a bit. Being a temporary Dallas supporter has been awful. I have no idea how they do it. Watching Dirk saunter around playing “defense” and the rest of that squad implode is soul-crushing.
Rondo was an over-think by Cuban and company. Just like blowing up his championship squad was. That guy, man.
Here’s to game 3.
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1. Not to mention going straght at him in post-ups, and not just flashing to the post where Jordan could fly in and serve as a sweeper. [↩](#fnref:p117178425837-1)
2. That is to say, on the road. [↩](#fnref:p117178425837-2)