Go For It

The great thing about the Spurs has been the longevity of competitiveness. For the fan, the great vicarious joys have come through championships and acuumulated goals. Timmy Duncan grabbed his 1000th win revelry, for example. These kinds of things are commendable and great and I take great pleasure in lording these accomplishments of our teams over those of other fans’ teams.  

The thing we don’t have — as fans — is an all-time great squad. Whereas the 96 Bulls are rightfully hailed as the greatest team assembled, and last year’s W’s as a good entry into that conversation, and (much to my chagrin) the 2001 Lakers as another one to consider, the Spurs have … this year?

And even this year is a bit tainted by the Warriors. Sure Pop and company don’t really care about that — but you and I aren’t there fighting through the season, focussed on the title. We don’t need to prepare mentally for the Playoffs because we aren’t playing. We are just fans and our sole joy comes from lording over other fans. I mean we are out here living vicariously. Unlike world soccer, we don’t get multiple trophies to brag over, we just have the one thing. Southwest division titles are meaningless, and Best Records are, too. All Time Best Records, however? Well those are a little more valuable. 

Even if the reward only merits a mention on a chryon as the next All Time Great team skips past it, it is something to memorialize our favorite squad in the annals of NBA History. 

The Spurs have two milestones that are within reach that would put this team in the All Time Greatest conversation: 70 wins, and a perfect home record. While the necessity of winning a title to immortalize this squad is mitigated by there being another 70 win team. So they might not even need  to win the title to be considered an All Time Great. I mean, the Bulls merely had 64-win Seattle Squad to compete with.*

So I hope they go for it. Try to make this already-all-time Spurs season an all-time NBA season . . . even more.  

 *wink

 

My Spurs Fandom: A Love to Hate Story

Greetings Spurs Fans,

This will be my first post.  Here goes nothing.  So I was born and raised a Spurs fan.  I’m fairly certain I bleed Black and Silver.  I’ve been through all the highs and lows of the Robinson and Duncan Eras.  Sometimes, it’s fun to reminisce about those times and think about where you were, hold old you were, how you felt, how loud you screamed, etc.  

There’s a lot being said right now about two pillars of the NBA nearing the end of their respective careers.  One being Old Man Riverwalk himself, the one we affectionately call “Timmy” here in SA,  the other being the Black Mamba, Kobe.  These two have always been the Yin and Yang of my life as a Spurs fan.  As Adam mentioned in his post,  they were Batman and Joker.  Only this Joker had a Superman at his side for a time, in Shaq.  

When I think about the Spurs/Lakers rivalry through the years, it makes me think about how much hate Kobe and Shaq got from fans in the river city.  We’re talking big heat.  Nuclear heat.  If you were in the arena when they were announcing the visiting starting five during those playoff games,  the chorus of boos rumbled the very foundation of the Alamodome/SBC/ATT Center.  It was great.  Every great good guy needs a foil and for the Spurs, it was the Lakers.  When I think about said hate, it makes me think back on certain rivals that had similar heat among the Spurs brethren.  Some of these are obvious choices, while others you may have forgotten about.  I, for one, did not forget.  Here is a list of some hated players in my Spurs fandom, ordered by my level of hatred for them:

Tyronn Lue  – This is more of a personal one but I distinctly remember this bench warmer on the Lakers around 2001.  Kobe was in the Alamodome unleashing one of his routine down by 20 comebacks to rip our hearts out.  I remember the Lakers bench standing up right in front of some of the floor seat fans.  The fans shouted for them to move or sit down.  They ignored.  I remember Lu looking back, smug as ever.  Villian move.  The Lakers made a 3, probably to take the lead and Lue stared at the crowd with both hands in the air, 3 fingers up.  

What makes it okay for me: I got my vengeance vicariously. 

Ray Allen – There’s always been something I just don’t like about him.  He was involved in many a scuffle with Bruce Bowen.

Robert Horry – Before he came to the Spurs, as a Rocket and a Laker, he was hated for always lighting up the Spurs from 3, or using his athleticism to go to the basket.  This was always more of a respectful kind of hate.  When he finally put on the Silver and Black it was jarring to see him in it. After winning two chips with Los Spurs, all is forgiven but…. There were times when he was on the dark side… 

** What makes it okay for me:** This and this.

Juwan Howard – I will never forgive this guy for taking out Derek Anderson in 2001.  Everytime I see him on a bench somewhere I immediately think of Derek Anderson.  He effectively took out our most consistent 3rd scoring option that year mid-way through our playoff run.  Granted, we eventually beat the Mavs and moved on to be swept by Shaq and Kobe.  But it still grinds my gears when I see this guy. 

image

What makes it okay for me:  Nothing until he retires.

Mark Cuban – There was that “The riverwalk is a dirty creek” thing and there’s all the camera attention and his complaining about refs that puts Cuban right up there in the Hate Department.  I feel like this one has died down a bit.  But in the prime of the Spurs/Mavs rivalry, it was fun to yell at Cuban to sit down and shut up.

![image](http://static1.squarespace.com/static/569d444005f8e2b24dace8c6/56b6913106dcb7a9cf168a48/56b6913106dcb7a9cf168a83/1454805420520/tumblr_inline_nfdi43lKOe1t5t2ln.jpg is what propelled Fisher to legendary hate status but before that he was apart of the Laker teams we all loved to root against.  If left open, he was deadly in the corner and many times, thanks to Kobe or Shaq, he was WIDE open.  Fisher is an accomplice to all the heartache Kobe wrought on us.  And for that…. we hate.  Oh yeah and that 0.4 thing. (Which I still think the clock was started late but meh.).  </span)

What makes it okay for me:  Fisher crying

Karl Malone – You wanna talk about nuclear heat?  Find a video of the Mailman being announced anytime during the course of a game in San Antonio.  Whether it was the starting five announcements, Malone checking in or out of the game, the hate was palpable.  Malone always had your normal Western conference rival hate, but he was known for throwing his elbows.  On one occasion, one of these elbows connected with David’s head knocking him out cold. As a rookie Tim Duncan went to check on his fallen comrade, Malone showed no signs of remorse.  My Malone hate was locked in permanently for the rest of his career.  

What makes it okay for me:  David went out on top and Malone never got a ring.

imageKobe crying. 

Shaq – Shaq has to be my number 1.  He was big.  He was a bully.  He got away with plenty on the court, including battering our beloved No.50.  A jab to the kidneys comes to mind when the refs weren’t looking.  It was quite literally the battle of David and Goliath when the Spurs played the Lakers.   But what made it worse was when he opened his mouth.  His book is a full of quotes such as this, “I’m thinking, ‘Punk-ass David Robinson got (a title) before I did?’ That made me really mad. Oh, man. David Robinson had a ring before me. I’m crushed and hurt.” and “The fact is, until the Spurs play a full season and win it all, I can’t respect their title.”

What makes it okay for me: David going through Shaq to finish his career on top and….

When asked what he thought about Shaq releasing a book, Robinson replied, “What is it? A picture book?”

The Rematch Game 1

So how about that AC? I had no idea what the hell was going to happen in this game beforehand. I predicted Spurs by 7, and then winning the series in 6. You can probably say this game was lost by the Heat when LeBron couldn’t continue in the fourth quarter. Maybe it wouldn’t have mattered, as Danny Green and the Spurs were … ahem …heating up in the fourth quarter on their way to a 31-9 run.

Put me in the camp that says dealing with ridiculousness is part of the game. The game includes injuries, water cannons, bats, and the AC going out. That isn’t to say that LeBron should have toughed it out or some other ridiculous bullshit. When I joke on the twitters about sports I do so fully acknowledging that I cannot and never could play at that level. From an NBA-fan standpoint it obviously is lame that the best player couldn’t perform in crunch time, with the game close. Again, that’s the game. Someone tell Derek Rose about being unlucky.


I don’t know about calling this Game 8. I do know that it wasn’t two teams feeling each other out like Game 1 of the 2013 Finals was. So maybe it is kind of Game 8. There is a decidedly different vibe going into this one, from a Spurs fan perspective. Sure, the plaudits for the team’s two-decade run were repeated, but this time there was a little bite. I like it. The Spurs’ run has been amazing compared to the Clevelands of the world but not necessarily better than the Bulls of the 90s, the Lakers of the 80s, or the Celtics of the 50s. I’m happy for the Spurs to be in that conversation.

The first half, with all of Manu’s energy and shot-making felt like a revenge movie. Everyone gave Manu a eulogy after he played 1 good game out of 7 to end the last Finals, after underwhelming in the playoffs. The Spurs’ inability to win post-2007 can in some ways be explained by Manu’s inability to be healthy in the post-season. Not only is he heather now, but he doesn’t have to do as much as Kawhi Leonard has grown offensively.

That’s a long way of saying that it was good to see him back in 2007 form. He admitted in the halftime interview that he faded a bit. Given that he was the only looking crisp offensively, that didn’t portend good things for the second half, five point lead notwithstanding.

All that said, we would have had a very different game if that air conditioning was working. LeBron said he felt like he played the entire game when he was subbed out in the middle of the third quarter. “They are trying to smoke us out.”

The only dude that was impervious to suffocating temperatures was Ray Allen, the ageless one, who finished three drives in the third that put the Heat up, including a dunk in traffic on a fast break. I let out a “WTF.” The Spurs had their 18th turnover or thereabouts at that time. The offense looked like it did vs the Mavericks. Nine TOs in the third quarter, ya’ll. Some of that was the Heat, some of it was the heat, and some was just trends. The Spurs have had some awful third periods this playoff season.

That fourth quarter belonged to Danny Green and LeBron James’ thigh cramps. Say what you will about how you would react etc, that means nothing when your leg is killing you. Still, the Spurs unleashed a fourth quarter that was reminiscent of the ones they put up against OKC and PDX. Danny Green got open, hit some shots, and even got a score in transition. The coolest thing about those shots? They were wide open ones that came from beautiful passes. Passes that weren’t so pretty in the third. Manu said they were sloppy in the first three – 20 turnovers in the first three quarters. “They are more athletic than us. Waiting 15 seconds for a pick and roll makes it harder.”


Know that this means nothing. The Spurs won game one in Miami last year. They lost the series. The Spurs jumped up on OKC in the first two games. After game four the entire fan base was ready to throw in the towel. We all know Miami will make some adjustments. We know the AC guys will make some too. LeBron likely won’t need to be carried off the floor and definitely won’t be looking for substitutions halfway into the third quarter.