Apr 20 2014

So, Who Wins the NBA Title Again?

The opening weekend of the NBA playoffs doesn’t have the same Q as the opening week of March Madness. There will never be a Warren Buffett bracket. There won’t be One Shining Moment. There will be The Bandwagon Report. I generally avoid making predictions, but  I like to set the bar somewhere. And from there, hard levels of analysis are dished out over time (and mostly on Twitter). The fun thing about March Madness is your bracket – really, your bracket. After all, I hear about yours way more than mine!  The NCAA tournament is good. But the NBA Playoffs? It’s the best. It may not have the most drama or the best fans. It has the best players and the best teams though.

And now, I have to sell you on a team. Just one team. I can’t be like Arian Foster either and say the NBA wins. After all, the team gets a trophy, the players get rings, and everyone gets paid. The team I have chosen to go with is the San Antonio Spurs. Yes, this was a preseason pick. I don’t reset the deck until the NBA Finals. I do have a number of concerns about them, most of which were outlined in The Bandwagon Report. I am supposed to shy away from teams that are led by an All-Star point guard as their best player. I generally loathe teams that shoot more threes than free throws, as well as teams that don’t get to the line much. I didn’t feel like any of the Spurs’ starters were better this year than last year.

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But after seeing the kind of Game 1 performance that the Spurs had against the 8th seed Dallas Mavericks, there is one thing you have to take into account when discussing the Spurs as a championship team this year. They can and will stop you. The Spurs were down to Dallas 81-71 with 7:45 left in the game. They were doing a poor job shooting the basketball. Tim Duncan had survived a blow to his right knee. Even though they had beaten Dallas nine straight times going in, they looked ripe for an upset. But the Spurs locked Dallas down on a 19-4 run to end the game, holding the Mavericks down without a field goal until the final seconds of the game. The Spurs eschewed the three-pointer, going to their soon-to-be 38-year-old meal ticket Duncan down the stretch.

This was a poor offensive performance by the Spurs, the best three-point shooting team in the league. But they have the team experience, the poise, and enough dynamism from a wealth of sources. The regular season comes down to how well you play 29 teams. The playoffs are a test of specific, concentrated matchups. The Spurs need some breaks, but so will every champion. They haven’t even played up to the max during the regular season. The Spurs have set themselves up well for a championship run. They’ll win the championship. Now, enjoy the rest of the playoffs!


3 pings

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