The San Antonio Spurs keep getting mentioned as the gold-standard for professional sports organizations. They deserve it as they stay a winner consistently year to year.
At the All-Star break this year, the Spurs have the NBA’s best record at 42-12, 2.5 games ahead of the nearest competition, the OKC Thunder.
Led by the amazing Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, the Spurs appear headed back to the NBA Finals.
In four finals of the Tim Duncan era, the Spurs have won each time, covering all four possible scenarios. They won in five against the Knicks in ’99, in six against the Nets in ’03, in seven against the Pistons in ’05 and in four against the LeBron Cavs of ’07.
This season has seen a coming out party for two important cogs in the Spurs machine, Kawhi Leonard and Tiago Splitter. Both are taking on their roles and playing fluid, team ball.
Splitter is averaging a double-double and Leonard’s defense and athleticism mix in well. There is no doubt that the Spurs are a contender this season.
Danny Green, Boris Diaw, and Gary Neal will also have something to say come playoff time.
When Duncan, Parker and Ginobili are not taking time out to do television commercials, they are each having an impact on the game and helping their team to win the close ones. These are three players on the same team playing together for more than 10 seasons. No other team in all of professional sports can say the same for even two players (exception: Jeter and Rivera for the Yankees, but it is still not clear if Rivera is coming back to full strength to play this season).
The Spurs will make a return to the NBA Finals this year, but they will end up doing the one thing they haven’t done yet.
They will lose.
Prediction: Heat over Spurs in six.
Howard Alperin is Managing Editor of AmericanizeSoccer.com