As the the game clock ran down in Oklahoma City, Tim Duncan put his head down in sorrow and the San Antonio Spurs 67 win season came to an end by the hands of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. The Oklahoma City Thunder advanced to the Western Conference Finals and Father Time remained undefeated. This may have been the last basketball game for Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili. These two legends have been everything to the city of San Antonio. Five NBA Championships and some of the most beautiful team basketball I have ever seen. The big three (Duncan, Ginobili, and Parker) have been a thorn in my side for years. As an Oklahoma City Thunder fan I am not too fond of the Spurs, but I most certainly respect them. If this is indeed the end for Duncan and Ginobili, I just want to say thank you for what you guys have done for the great game of basketball. The end of this era may be coming, but they sure have left their legacy on the game.
The Atlanta Hawks are shocking the world. No one would have thought that near the All Star break they would be in first in the Eastern Conference. This is a team that barely made the playoffs in the East last year. Coach Mike Budenholzer is no doubt the coach of the year so far. This team has no true superstar, but somehow they are beating the East and the power houses in the big bad West. I watched them live when they played Chicago. The way they move the ball is magnificent. Jeff Teague is the perfect point guard for their system. Kyle Korver has been lights out from three. Al Horford has played like an all star, likewise wise with Paul Milsap. There are those who doubt and say there is no way a team like Atlanta could win in the playoffs. I am not one of the doubters. Look at the San Antonio Spurs, Altlanta plays just like them. To be honest I believe the Hawks are the team to beat in the Eastern Conference to make the NBA Finals. Believe the hype because the Atlanta Hawks are coming and they are not afraid of anyone.
This week in San Antonio Lebron James went out with cramp issues and deflated the whole Miami team. Many people say, if Lebron was healthy the Heat would have come out of San Antonio with at least one win. Myself, I am questioning Lebron’s toughness. He is being compared to Michael Jordan though he leaves the game because he was cramping, when Jordan played his heart out while suffering the Flu and had his most historic game. Yet Lebron abandons his team because he was cramping. I don’t think you can compare him to Jordan. That is enough on ripping one the greatest player in the world, mark my words Lebron James is going to single handily beat the San Antonio Spurs in game two. Since Lebron James joined the Miami Heat they have never lost a playoff series after losing the first game of the series.
The key to the entire NBA finals for the Champs is Dwyane Wade. Wade has been unhealthy throughout this entire season, but when the playoffs started up, so did Wade. Dwyane Wade is the only player on the Heat that the San Antonio Spurs cannot guard. Wade needs to finish a game. He started game one on fire, but the he slowly cooled down as the game advanced and in the fourth quarter. If the Heat want a chance against the best coached team in the NBA he has to show up like he has done in every other series.
It has been the greatest first round in NBA history and what would be a better way to finish off with two more game sevens to top it off. There have been five game sevens and only two series that weren’t close. On a day when California’s colors are Chrome not Golden and certainly not Sterling, the L.A the Clippers were true Warriors and advanced to the western conference semi-finals. The League’s MVP shines bright in a small town sending Memphis back to playing the blues once again, and Indiana is back on Pace for their Championship dreams. Last night was one of the most historic nights in NBA history and tonight hopefully won’t disappoint. The Dallas Mavericks vs the San Antonio Spurs and the Brooklyn Nets vs the Toronto Raptors. Win or go Home.
Going into this series everyone knew it was going to be a battle. The experience of the Brooklyn Nets vs the young guns of Toronto. The Raptors have the longest active playoff victory drought in the NBA and they are looking to snap it today. This game is a battle of two prolific back courts. The Nets Deron Williams and Joe Johnson are the keys for this team. Both of them need to heat up early or Brooklyn could start off in a deep hole. The Raptors dynamic duo of DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry. These young emerging stars have to show up, which is expected. Kyle Lowry has to shoot the three ball extremely well. Lowry is a dead-eye from behind the arch and if he gets hot, it is almost impossible to stop him because of his passing great ability. Terrence Ross is the x-factor in this game. Toronto needs to have that third scorer who gives instant energy and Ross is perfect for that role. He is an excellent defender and his high flying dunking ability can spark the crowd and make it very hard for the Nets to execute their plays.
Prediction: This game may be a game for the ages, both of these teams are so evenly matched their are not many advantages for each team. I believe the home court advantage will be huge for the Raptors and DeRozan will have a monstrous game including hitting a game winning buzzer-beater to eliminate the Brooklyn Nets and advance to the conference semi-finals to take on the defending champs, the Miami Heat. Toronto 105 Brooklyn 104
#8 Dallas vs #1 San Antonio
No one expected this, San Antonio the team with the best record in the NBA has been beat up all the way to game seven against the eighth seeded Dallas Mavericks, who were one game away from almost missing the playoffs. Two future Hall of Famers, Dirk Nowitzki and Tim Duncan have been going to war in this series, rewriting history to their long historic rivalry. The Spurs are the best coached team in the entire NBA and the Mavs are arguably playing the best basketball right now. Monta Ellis is the reason that Dallas has been in this series. He has always been an incredible scorer, but he has never had his chance in the playoffs because of the quality of teams he has been on. Ellis is the best player on this Mavericks team and it is his time tonight he has to shine bright with all of the stars in the NBA. Tony Parker is always going to play well for the Spurs, but he was been sort of rattled by Shawn Marion’s stifling defense. Kawhi Leonard is the future of this San Antonio team and he is their best defender. Leonard has been in the spot light already at the age of 22, but Kawhi can’t choke if he want his Spurs to avoid the upset from their bitter rivals.
Prediction: Who will win the Lonestar state showdown, the reigning conference champions or the upstart underdogs of Dallas? I believe Monta Ellis will play great and Vince Carter and Dirk Nowitzki will add more to their legacies and the Dallas Mavericks will upset the Spurs in San Antonio and advance to the second round for a date with the Portland Trailblazers. Dallas 96 San Antonio 93