Well as the NBA season comes down the final stretch of the season. A number of teams with playoff ambitions are aligning themselves and jockeying for positions that’d be favorable in terms of the seeding.
In the Eastern Conference it’s all but a certainty that the Cleveland Cavaliers (62-15) will be the overall number one seed. And it’s a deserving mantel to have for what can be best described as an outstanding season. Having already surpassed the 60 win threshold for the season . The team is further looking to cement its status as the league’s best team in terms of the overall win total and number one seeding throughout the playoffs.
That being said in the Western Conference the Los Angeles Lakers (62-16) are loking to make something of a late run and perhaps derail the Cavaliers’ hopes. Well that’s unless divine intervention from up on high . I think it’s pretty safe to say that’s not going to happen at this juncture. And as much as those in the West would very much like to see this happen . It’s somewhat safe to say there are those who’d rather see someone else seated atop of the hill.
Which now brings me to my next point. As a long avid San Antonio Spurs’ (50-27) fan. I for one felt that this season there might’ve been a chance of at least of gaining revenge against our conference rivals in the Los Angeles Lakers. Well at least I thought it was going to be that way. Much of the season it has been something of a turnstile of players being injured and re-injuring themselves. Wherein there was never any real continuity , fluidity or cohesiveness as to the team’s play. And that has led to a great deal of inconsistency despite them once again obtaining a 50 win season thus far. Suffice to say it’s been other another remarkable coaching job done by Gregg Popovich. Even if the carousel ride itself at times has flirted with disaster. And the milestones he’s achieved the man still remains almost unflappable. He’s won four NBA titles as a coach and this season became one of a handful of coaches to have attained 1,000 regular season wins. Joining a select few and most certainly he’ll one day be enshrined in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame .
As alluded to earlier in this piece for much of the season the team has been unable to play at full strength. They’ve not been able to have their triumvirate of All Stars in Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobli and Tony Parker together for a prolonged of continuous play for a series of games. It’d be easy to suggest that good teams are able to adapt and overcome such adversities. And many of the good teams do. The great teams they say ”….can look into the eyes of adversity , stare it down and overcome”. There was a time when that’d be the case for the Spurs, but no longer. As they’ve always been ever reliant upon their combo of Duncan , Ginobli and Parker.
Well with the recent announcement that Ginobli has been lost to the team for the rest of the regular season and the playoffs . In making that announcement Popovich hasn’t abandoned or surrendered his belief that this team can usurp the Los Angeles Lakers. But at the same time he can’t hide the disappointment of knowing that the team’s very own super-sub will be lost to the team once again. It all now but guarantees that the Spurs will face an uphill battle as to being quite possibly the Lakers’ opponents in the Western Conference Finals. And that’s predicated on both teams making it that far by going unscathed once the playoffs begin.
If there’s one thing that at times we know it’s that nothing is etched stone permanently when it comes to the game of basketball and the NBA in particular. I’d somehow like to think that could be changed somewhat. But at this juncture I’m going to enjoy the ride and root for my team no matter what ! To say I’m not disheartened with the loss of Ginobli would be an immense understatement . Because with Ginobli on the court almost anything can happen and for the large part it normally does. He’s dragged victory from the jaws of defeat so often for the franchise over the years. Though it can be said that Duncan and Parker have both been heroes as well when it counted. But it has been Ginobli that has provided that unexpected spark when thing seemed dire for the team.
Now comes the question who’ll step up from amongst the team’s roster to assume Ginobli’s mantel now that he’s been lost to the team ? Matt Bonner while dutiful in his role on the team doesn’t exactly set the world alight. Though he’s proven to be more than capable when called upon. He doesn’t possess the intangibles of Ginobli. And though many of the Spurs’ fans have been delighted in the play of Roger Mason. It can be said he hasn’t been dipped into the baptism of fire that the playoffs are all about. He’s shown that he’s capable of taking and making the big shots during the game. But the regular season is one thing. With the game on the line , Parker and Duncan being guarded. Somehow in the pressure cooker of the playoffs I’m not so sure that Mason for all of the guile shown in the regular season can handle the pressure there and then. But then again one can live in hope that he can make the impossible seem possible and effortless with ease !
One this is for certain however it’d be extremely naïve and foolish to count out the San Antonio Spurs at this juncture. Even if I do have my doubts about the team. Other than Phil Jackson of the Los Angeles Lakers there might be no other coach in the league who’s adept enough to actually take this team and make them a potentially a dangerous foe to meet even under such adversity. It’s not just a team that one needs to worry about in the playoffs . It’s also the acumen of the coaches as well who are involved in those series. And if there’s a better postseason coach out there at present other than Popovich who possesses his guile . I’d like to hear your arguments for and against him.