Analysis: What to expect with the NBA Finals

I’ve been off this website since I don’t really know what I could write that hasn’t already been written. But I’ll check in more often this week, as we get closer to the start of the NBA Finals.

As great as the Warriors are, I can’t see them sweeping the Cavs. LeBron James is simply a tough guy to play against. Any team that has managed to beat a team with LeBron in it deserves a lot of credit. The Warriors did it once two years ago. They may very well do it again.

Obviously, last year’s Finals were of high significance to LeBron and the city of Cleveland. Back in 2010, when LeBron announced he would be heading off to Miami to join the Heat, the announcement was not very well-received over there. After four straight Finals appearances as a member of the Heat, he chose to go back to Cleveland and try to get their city an NBA championship. He did just that last year. Now he wants to do it again.

But I can only imagine that the Warriors will never get over the fact that they could’ve beat the Cavs last season, with a regular season winning record that beat that of the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls. I’m sure they’re going to do everything to win this series and take back the embarrassing loss of last year.

All in all, I see a lot of significance attached to this upcoming Finals series. If the Warriors can somehow win this series, this would prove that they are the most talented Western Conference team the NBA has seen since the early-00’s Los Angeles Lakers. If the Cavs manage to win this, this would seal the deal that LeBron is the best player of our generation and is worthy of comparisons to the great Michael Jordan. Should be a classic series — that’s for sure!

 

Analysis: Spurs without Kawhi proved to be no match for the Warriors

I didn’t post an analysis for Saturday’s game for the same reason I’m hesitant to make one for last night’s game: I’d be repeating myself (and I don’t like doing that).

There’s really nothing new to discuss here other than the fact that this may have been Manu Ginobili’s final game.

Now that the Warriors have swept the Spurs, they should be focusing on how to not repeat the fatal mistake of last year’s Finals. Sweeping the Spurs does not necessarily mean a potential match-up against the Cleveland Cavaliers will be similarly easy. They’ve been doing an excellent job bringing their A game to each game in this most recent series against the Spurs. Now, they need to bring their A game once again to the NBA Finals.

Best Spurs team that made the NBA Finals?

We’ve still got two more days until the next game in this Spurs-Warriors series. I don’t know what else to write, but I did think of something. So, if you’re a Spurs fan, which do you think was the best Spurs team that made the NBA Finals?

  • 1998-99 season
  • 2002-03 season
  • 2004-05 season
  • 2006-07 season
  • 2012-13 season
  • 2013-14 season

For me, I think the 1998-99 team will always be special since that was the first season the Spurs won a championship. But the 2013-14 season was pretty special too. We came so close to winning in 2013, and that 2014 Finals series was a golden opportunity for a rematch with the Miami Heat. Back then, the Heat were the most popular team in basketball. And we beat the Heat!

Sure, it wasn’t our first time beating a team with LeBron James in it (that would be the 2007 Finals). But we were in a match-up against the Heat at the height of popularity for the LeBron-led Heat. That’s like if the Spurs were to have faced the Jordan-era Bulls in the Finals in the 1990’s.

Some might argue that the 2004-05 team was special for a variety of reasons, possibly including the fact that the 2005 Finals pitted Coach Pop’s Spurs against former Spurs coach Larry Brown’s Detroit Pistons. If anything, Larry Brown proved to be a pretty good coach outside of the Spurs to get that series to a Game 7. But, in my opinion, no one compares to Pop (except Phil Jackson, Steve Kerr, and some other people I may be forgetting to include).

I don’t know. You tell me. Which was your favorite Spurs team from the seasons on this list? Comment down below and tell me what you think.

Editorial: Spurs fans should avoid creating unnecessary rivalry

I have been very reluctant to elaborate on the controversy surrounding Kawhi Leonard’s injury by Zaza Pachulia during Sunday’s game, but I feel I need to address this issue before tonight’s game.

It is completely understandable that people are debating whether Pachulia intentionally fouled Leonard using dirty attacks or if the whole thing was an accident.

It is completely understandable that Spurs coach Gregg Popovich feels that Pachulia’s action — intentional or not — crossed into “unsportsmanlike” territory.

It is completely understandable that Spurs fans are expressing a lot of anger towards Pachulia for injuring their star player — one who won the NBA Finals MVP award during the Spurs’ last Finals victory in 2014.

What I feel is unnecessary is the possibility of Spurs fans creating a rivalry with the Golden State Warriors — similar to that of the Spurs’ rivalry with the Los Angeles Lakers — as a result of Pachulia’s foul. I say this because the Warriors have two important connections to the Spurs in Coach Steve Kerr and Assistant Coach Mike Brown.

Brown worked under Coach Pop as an assistant coach for the Spurs in the 2002-03 season. This was David Robinson’s final season as a Spurs player. The Spurs won their second NBA championship in the summer of 2003.

Part of the reason the Spurs won the title that year, which allowed David Robinson to retire on top, is thanks to Steve Kerr, who played for the Spurs in the 2002-03 season. Anyone who is a fan of the Chicago Bulls or the San Antonio Spurs knows how great of a clutch player Kerr was back in his playing days.

In Game 6 of the 2003 Western Conference Finals against the Dallas Mavericks, the Spurs were trailing the Mavericks by 15 points with 3:44 remaining in the third quarter. Kerr managed to score 12 points in 13 minutes, making 100% of his four three-point attempts. The Spurs went on to win that game, and the Western Conference Finals, with a final score of 90-78.

Who knows what would’ve happened if it wasn’t for Kerr’s clutch shots in that game?

Let me be very clear: I have not and will not jump to conclusions about Pachulia’s foul on Leonard. However, Spurs fans have every right to speak out and publicly voice their opinion on this matter, as long as they’re not harassing Pachulia (or any other Warriors player).

Part of being a sports fan is being passionate about and loyal to your favorite team. Naturally, rivalries will occur when dramatic incidents like this unfold. However, I advise Spurs fans to remember that the Warriors have very significant connections to the legacy of the Spurs.

The Warriors team is, first and foremost, Steve Kerr’s team. Without Kerr’s heroics in Game 6 of the 2003 Western Conference Finals, we might not have won the championship that season. Not to mention Mike Brown was the assistant coach of the Spurs in this particular season.

Without these important connections, I would be all for a Spurs-Warriors rivalry. But mainly because I remember how much Kerr helped out the Spurs in the 2003 playoffs, I simply can’t support a Spurs-Warriors rivalry — for now at least.

Opinion: Small deficit vs. significant loss

A friend of mine texted me commenting on how small the loss was for the Spurs in yesterday’s game. Yes, it is true that the Spurs’ loss was only by two points. On paper, that’s hardly a significant loss. But the context of this game could make this small deficit a very significant loss, depending on the outcome of the next game.

The Spurs were playing like a championship team last night in the first half and up until Kawhi Leonard’s injury. It seems like every team not named the Cleveland Cavaliers fears the Warriors, but the Spurs did not seem to fear the Warriors for most of the game last night. They were playing the Warriors not with fear, but with a sense of determination to win the Western Conference Finals and return to the NBA Finals for a rematch of 2007’s Spurs-Cavaliers Finals series.

I think once the Spurs lost control of the game, they weren’t playing as confidently as they were with Leonard in the lineup. Needless to say, this is only just one game.

Game 2 will be extremely critical for the Spurs. If they can somehow pull off a win tomorrow night, they’ll find themselves taking this series back to San Antonio for Games 3 and 4 tied at 1-1, which will undoubtedly help their chances at winning this series.

If the Spurs can get themselves together and continue playing in championship mode for the remainder of this series, we may very well see them in the Finals again this year — for the first time in the post-Duncan era.

In macroeconomics, there’s a concept called deficit and surplus. If the government increases its debt, there is a deficit. If the government reduces its debt, there is a surplus. In sports terms, the Spurs experienced a huge surplus with Leonard in the game, but that huge surplus became a small deficit after Leonard’s injury.

Whether or not yesterday’s game was just a small deficit or a significant loss for the Spurs will be determined by who wins the game tomorrow. Let’s hope it was just a small deficit.