Spurs Link-And-Roll – 5.25.12
Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN.com: “Maybe that’s Duncan’s secret: He’s never disconnected himself from his roots in the game. He won’t release a primal scream after a dunk, nor will he bask in the afterglow of a win (he will, however, tell you about the virtues of being mellow). But if you watch Duncan closely enough, you’ll see a man so comfortable in his method and purpose, that it’s impossible to think he doesn’t love what he does.”
Fran Blinebury of NBA.com: “The Spurs and Duncan are too well-traveled, too well-schooled and too well-scarred to get too excited at the halfway mark. They can remember being swept out of the playoffs one step short of The Finals in 2001 and dusted against at the threshold by the Lakers in 2008. This is their first time back in four years. It comes at a time when some began to wonder if it would happen again.”
Tony Parker was selected to the All-NBA Second Team yesterday.
Kyle Boenitz of Project Spurs: “The Thunder are very talented and by far the toughest test the Spurs have faced. I think the shock of playing a much better team might take the Spurs by surprise and they could drop one of the first 2 games at home. I think they’ll make up for it by winning one on the road though. I think the Spurs’ experience and depth carry them through this series and they’ll pull out a slug-fest in the end. I predicted 5 games for each of the first 2 series, giving too much credit to the other team, that could easily be the case in this one too.”
Jesse Blanchard of 48 Minutes of Hell: “The dynamics of the Thunder and Spurs backcourts are striking similar in that they employ unconventional score-first point guards with dynamic playmaking shooting guards; symbiotic backcourts in which the passing abilities of Manu Ginobili and James Harden shore up whatever playmaking abilities their backcourt partners may lack, while freeing them to realize the full potential of their games.”
San Antonio has a 40.4% chance of winning the NBA Championship.
Joe deLarios of Pounding the Rock: “Aside from the Spurs, OKC is the best looking team in the league. While Miami and Boston are looking more challenged by the day, once again it’s another squad in the west represents the biggest threat to San Antonio’s pursuit of another Larry O’Brien trophy. Yet, unfortunately for this young squad and their fans, it is a juggernaut that’s cruising on an intersecting course with them.”
Paul Garcia of Project Spurs: “The only way in my opinion that Blair gets any serious minutes in this series is if a) a big man gets into foul trouble early in a game, or b) the Thunder’s speed in the open court is just too much for the Spurs’ bigs, so coach Popovich might look to Blair as more of a backup adjustment move. But even then, if the game is going too fast, I expect Popovich to put Leonard or Jackson at the power forward spot and just one center to match the Thunder.”
NBA2K12 picked the Spurs to win the Western Conference Finals in five games.
Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News: “Parker “only” attempted 29 field goals in a 107-96 victory over the Thunder, good for a season-high 42 points. In the end, the performance transformed what should have been remembered as the night he passed Avery Johnson as the Spurs’ all-time assist leader into the night he completely obliterated the Thunder’s Russell Westbrook.”
Brett Robson of SI.com: “The frontcourt battle is more intriguing and volatile, and probably more influential. While Parker has become the Spurs’ best player, the 36-year-old Duncan remains the team’s undisputed leader and emotional bedrock, and during San Antonio’s amazing winning streak, he’s been playing with a contagious joy and frisky passion that hasn’t looked this abundant for many years. One reason is the late-season addition of Diaw, a superb passer and capable mid-range shooter who is a perfect fit for the Spurs’ offensive attack. When Duncan and Diaw were on the court together for 10 games during the regular season, the Spurs outscored their opponents by a whopping 19.5 points per 36 minutes, according to NBA.com. That number has increased to 20.1 points per 36 minutes in the playoffs.”
How important will Scott Brooks and Gregg Popovich be in the Western Conference Finals?
quincyscott of Pounding the Rock: “When your team has a history, there is the tendency to sort of squint and see a current player as the modern day version of one of the greats. But I think we really have to open our eyes and behold the player we have. This kid is… special. Every time I see him do something freakishly athletic and incredibly smart, every time I see him take the floor in our starting unit, every time I see him coolly knock down a shot, I think, Yeah I knew Kawhi would do that, immediately followed by, Holy crap he’s a rookie! He doesn’t even know what he’s doing yet! Kawhi is a keeper, and he is one of a kind.”
Dick Vitale of ESPN.com: “I really love San Antonio’s big three. When people talk about the great point guards in the NBA, they seem to forget Tony Parker near the top of the list. He has had a sensational season. Parker can basically do whatever he wants with the basketball, going from point A to point B, moving north to south as well as any player in the league.”