THE Sports & Swag Report

NBA Playoffs: No Parker no problem as Spurs beat Thunder, advance to NBA Finals……

image   Apparently, the San Antonio Spurs had enough. They had enough of the series where the phrase ‘down to the wire’ had no relevance and the word ‘overtime’ was never an option. They had enough of the series where the road team lost all of the first 5 games in embarrassing fashion. The Spurs were so done with this series that in the 6th game, which went down to the wire, and happened to go to overtime, they won on the road without the help of their floor general and best player in the 2nd half. Tony Parker, was unable to go in the 2nd half, but it didn’t matter as Boris Diaw picked up the slack scoring (26 points) and the Spurs other ‘old reliable’, Manu Ginobili took over the role as floor general (15 points, 5 assists). The Spurs ball movement and eventually their bench were too much for Kevin Durant and his Thunder teammates to overcome. Speaking of Durant, the league MVP had his normal numbers (31 points, 14 rebounds), but his seven turnovers were uncharacteristic and costly. Especially, his turnover with 19 seconds left in regulation. That turnover looked to be the back breaker, the Thunder were able to force overtime. Durant, had an opportunity to tie the game in overtime, but his 3-pointer from top of the key was off. While, Durant had a good game stat wise, he never really took over the game. I don’t think it’s fair or warranted, but questions from Durant’s doubters will only increase after his performance against the Spurs. Questions will also continue about Russell Westbrook, who led the Thunder in scoring (34 points, 7 assists). The Thunder point guard also had seven turnovers. Fourteen turnovers from your two primetime players is a lot to overcome, but the Thunder don’t sniff the Western Conference Finals without either one of them. For the Spurs, it’s on to the NBA Finals for the 2nd consecutive season and 6th time in franchise history. This also marks the first time they’ve been to consecutive Finals and the first trip to the Finals in an even-numbered year. Spurs previous appearances were 1999, 2003, 2005, 2007, and 2013. To be successful against Lebron James and the Miami Heat, Tony Parker will have to be healthy. So, ending the OKC series last night was vitally important. The Spurs, now have 4 days rest instead of two. They will also enjoy home court advantage. Something that I believe if they had last season, would have been the difference in winning the title. Home court coupled with an even deeper bench could prove to be too much for the thinner bench of the Heat. Plus, don’t look for Tim Duncan and company to let to Miami off the hook for their lack of size, the way Roy Hibbert and the Indiana Pacers did. It should be a great series that goes 6 or 7 games, again. I picked the Spurs before the playoffs began, and I’m sticking with them. Spurs in 7 over Miami……..

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