Spurs Playoffs: The First Game Day

By Ryan McCallum

In honor of Spurs’ game day I’m starting off in a very San Antonio way, tacos.  I went to the sore this morning at 6:50 (I had the store to myself), grabbed the bacon, eggs, cheese, avocados from Mexico, and some of those hot tortillas.  I might even seek out a raspa before noon.

Coach Popovich has already devised his recipe for a Game 1 win in Los Angeles.  He doesn’t need to reinvent anything.  He has seen it all as a professional.  That has to bring a lot of comfort to Spurs-fans; To know that there is nothing that Coach Pop isn’t prepared for.  Nothing that he hasn’t experienced as a coach.  How big of a deal do you think that is inside of the locker room?  I think it is huge.  For an NBA team trust in the coaching staff is paramount, regardless if that exact team is the defending NBA Champion.  The Spurs know that Popovich has prepared them to win this game.  They trust in that.

The Clippers are a lot of things.  They are more athletic, in the national media’s eye they are more entertaining, they are a statistically better team.  They are the number three-seed.  They have the frontrunner for Defensive Player of the Year in D’Andre Jordan, and they have a potential hall of fame point guard in Chris Paul.

What Los Angeles isn’t is a champion.  There are no rings, no banners, no stories they can tell.  There are no legends that can lend a piece of advice, or a nugget of encouragement.

San Antonio has those legends, and they keep them close.  It isn’t uncommon to see David Robinson working with the team, or sitting court side.  Sean Elliot is the team’s broadcaster.  However, the mythos of the Spurs is even closer than Robinson’s corner seat at the AT&T Center.  It sits with Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, and Gregg Popovich.  Spurs have to look no further than the locker across the room to find inspiration and leadership.  The confidence that this must bring a team has to be incredible.  Imagine if you were heading into battle and you had William Wallace fighting alongside you.  Living legends, active in this very game.

Popovich will start to break down his game plan into digestible pieces for his team.  He will rebut  every claim that the Clippers may have to Game 1.  Although Jordan is a defensive game changer, haven’t the Spurs proven their offense is chameleon-like?  The Spurs can win a game with 85 points, or they can get into the vicinity of 120 points if that is what it takes to beat an opponent.  Even further, Jordan is good, but the Clippers aren’t a good defensive team.  If the Spurs move the ball well, and make that extra pass, they will expose just how average a defensive unit they in fact are.

The Spurs’ coaching staff are cooking a meal that the Spurs have eaten many times.  There aren’t any surprises.  No mystery.  Just nuance.

Next: Previewing Spurs vs Clippers Series