Talent wins championships, but you have to have ‘Fundamentals’. The San Antonio Spurs have a lot of talent, but they also have plenty of ‘Fundamentals’.
Just when you thought the Spurs might finally be against the ropes, and in danger of being knocked out in the first round of the NBA Playoffs, ‘Fundamentals’ took over and saved the day. The ‘Fundamentals’ were so good that the defending champs didn’t need a lot from Tony Parker, or Manu Ginobili to send the most talked about and intriguing first round matchup of this season, and possibly any season back to The Alamo tied 1-1.
Tim Duncan, also known as ‘The Big Fundamental’ was simply amazing. It was one of his best performances ever. The 44 minutes played are impressive enough at 39-years-old. But, the 28 points, 11 boards, and 4 assists are equally amazing. Especially, when you consider he did it against, at least for this season, the best defensive center in the game. DeAndre Jordan, didn’t stand a chance. It became increasingly questionable as the night went on if anyone, ever would have stood a chance against Duncan last night. It was a performance for the ages.
Duncan, did have help. Kawhi Leonard, had a strong performance, and reserve guard Patty Mills picked up where he left off from last year’s playoffs. It was just the same ole, same ole that we’ve seen for the last two decades from Greg Popovich and his Spurs. Unfortunately, for Clippers fans it was also the same ole same ole from that other team from L.A.
As well as, Duncan played last night, this is a game the Clippers had to and should have won. Parker, in the locker room at crunch time. Ginobili, on the bench in the game’s most crucial moments. Duncan, nearing 40 minutes played in regulation. Not to mention you’re on your home court, seemingly with the momentum after erasing a 10-point-deficit. All signs pointed to a Clippers victory and a 2-0 series lead. Two point lead and the ball. But, after a crushing Blake Griffin turnover and two Patty Mills free throws later the game was tied and headed to overtime. The rest is history.
So, many things contributed to the Clippers losing this game. Seventeen missed free throws were a killer. A subpar offensive night from Jamaal Crawford didn’t help. But, just as we’re so used to the Spurs winning in these types of situations, we’re also used to the Clippers losing in them. It’s hard to blame the talented Griffin for this loss. He was unquestionably the second best player on the floor. However, it wasn’t enough. Griffin, and the Clippers as a whole have made significant strides and are closer to being a championship quality team.
Actually, if it weren’t for the sheer fact that we’ve never seen this Clipper team come through in a big position like this, I would have no problem saying they’re possibly the better team and should win this series.
They had home court. They have CP3, and Griffin playing at as a high a level as we’ve seen from them, and Jordan has been sensational. They’re also younger. The only advantages for the Spurs coming into this series was at small forward and the bench. The Clippers are as good or better everywhere else. Yet, they’ve lost their home court advantage and awakened the Spurs who looked like quite the tired team on Sunday night.
Well, come to think of it there is one other advantage for the defending champs.
Apparently, these same ole Clippers still need to work on theirs. Let’s see if they can get it right and pull this series out.
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