The San Antonio Spurs may be out of the playoffs but they're still making a huge impact on the 2021 Western Conference Finals. That shouldn't be surprising though, as Gregg Popovich's coaching tree has reached legendary status at this point.
With less than one second to go in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals between the Phoenix Suns and LA Clippers, former Spurs assistant coach Brett Brown indirectly helped draw up a miraculous game-winning play for Monty Williams and the Suns.
The picture-perfect pass from Jae Crowder to Deandre Ayton will quite possibly become the Suns' version of a championship-defining play, and it was all possible in large part to former seven-year Spurs Assistant Coach Brett Brown.
Brown was hired as an assistant coach by San Antonio just in time to capture an NBA title when he joined the club in the 2004-05 season. His last year with the Spurs was the season they were seconds away from winning a fifth NBA title before having it ripped away by Ray Allen. While he went on to have an unimpressive record with the Philadelphia 76ers as head coach, his legacy continued in a pivotal and surprising West Finals matchup on Tuesday.
The extraordinary play gave the Phoenix Suns a 2-0 lead in the series, marking the third straight time this postseason that the Clippers will have to come back from such a deficit to advance.
While it's certainly not a secret that I'm not exactly wishing for Kawhi Leonard to succeed in the city he forced his way into, it's still unfortunate that he'll likely not be able to help his team get to the NBA Finals with his ACL injury. Despite how petty I can sometimes be, I never revel in the injuries of anyone and wish him a full and speedy recovery.
Still, just as Kawhi's very own injury may have cost the Spurs a sixth ring in 2017, injuries are all part of the game. Who knows? Maybe the LA Clippers pull off a third straight comeback from down 2-0. But with Chris Paul's potential return, that might not be so likely.
An ACL injury of any kind usually means you're out for at least a few weeks, so it'll be interesting to see if the Clippers have another comeback left in them without their main guy. They did win two straight against the top-seeded Utah Jazz to close their last series without Leonard, so anything is possible.
The series continues from the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Thursday at 9 PM ET.