If you’re a San Antonio fan, you surely you must be scared now. Surely a lot of doubt is in your head; maybe San Antonio can’t get it done. Maybe this team is too old. Maybe Tony Parker’s leg can’t hold up like we all thought it could. There is a lot of “maybe” going around this morning. Then again, when Ray Allen is as effective in a game that he was last night, “maybe” is a pretty common word. However, just like Lil Wayne’s lyrics in “Curtains”, I ain’t nervous. True, LeBron James saved his legacy, and Ray Allen was legendary. However, I’ve yet to panic. Thus far, this is the first series this post-season that I’ve predicted correctly; I still stand by my prediction. I got the Spurs in seven. Now, I understand that a lot of my previous pieces on Miami talk about how unstoppable this team is. However, I also did say that if there’s any team that can beat Miami this year, it would be San Antonio. No, they’re not the most athletic team in the NBA, nor the fastest. However, the key ingredient that the Spurs have that no other team has truly been able to match is perseverance. This could also be translated as heart, or whatever word the young people are using today. The fact is simple; San Antonio is the post-season is a totally different animal than the San Antonio of the regular season. They’re hungrier, and maybe I’m over-exaggerating, but San Antonio seems to get better every game. As I’m watching different sports shows, there are a lot of numbers going around. The Heat are 7-0 following losses. The Heat are 4-1 in elimination games during the “Big Three” era. The Spurs are 3-4 in game sevens. However, the one stat that we as NBA fans keep forgetting is the fact that San Antonio has yet to lose NBA finals series. I should know; they whooped up my Pistons in 2005. While that’s neither here nor there, the one thing that’s always constant is the fact that San Antonio always manages to come through in the clutch. In my personal opinion, I believe that the Spurs are the most clutch team in NBA history. I realize that this statement may stir arguments. However, let me explain before you sharpen you swords.
Throughout the course of NBA history, there have been a ton of NBA players that have been classified as clutch. From Jerry West to Robert Horry, individuals have been able to come through at the last minute to get the victory. However, there has been no unit that has been able to get it done in the fourth quarter like San Antonio. While they haven’t always had that “clutch player”, and while they haven’t always been placed in situations where they must carry through to the last few seconds, the minute the fourth quarter hits, it’s put up or shut up time for the Spurs. It’s ironic that I’m mentioning this after a game in which the Spurs gave up a 10+ lead at the start of the fourth. It’s even funnier that I’m mentioning this while recollecting the 2003-04 Derek Fisher buzzer beater against the Spurs. However, behind those moments, the Spurs have still been able to put a collection of primetime fourth quarter performances together throughout the course of their history, the most recent coming at the hands of Tony Parker in Game one of this year’s finals. Say what you want, and give the ball to who you chose, the fact that the Spurs are a truly clutch team still stands.
Many people may be wondering how the Spurs can come back after performances like the one that LeBron James and Ray Allen had? As I was watching the Miami Heat press conference this morning, Eric Spoelstra said something that truly stuck with me: this series is not about statistics. Numbers are out of the window unless they have to do with the final score at the end of tonight’s game. Personally, I could care less about LeBron not wearing his headband, and I wish that journalist would shut the hell up talking about it. I don’t even care that no team has won a NBA finals game seven road game since 1978. What I do care about is heart, perseverance, and the sheer will to win. Even after what I saw last night, I still have faith in the Spurs. With that being said, I still stand by my prediction; Spurs in seven.