By Ron Leyba
The San Antonio Spurs closed out their Conference Semifinals series against the Portland Trail Blazers after just five games to make it to the Western Finals for the third season in a row. Gregg Popovich’s group proved once again that it is capable of making it to the top despite the fact that their core of stars in aging. The big question for the Spurs now, as they get ready to start their Conference Finals is can they really make it to the top? Do they have enough fuel left in their basketball tank or will age eventually make its presence felt and not allow San Antonio to win its fourth championship?
It’s true that the Spurs have one of the most aged rosters in the league. In fact, if we look at the three stars of the team, the three players who do the most heavy lifting, things don’t look good on paper. Tim Duncan is 38, Manu Ginobili is 36 and Tony Parker is 31. Add in Boris Diaw, aged 32, who is the second most important reserve in Popovich’s rotation and you get to understand that the time is not on San Antonio’s side. In fact, this could be the last season we saw this group together.
And yet the San Antonio Spurs have somehow managed to stay not just at the top of their game but also at the top of the league. Playing in a loaded Western Conference, one that features powerhouses like the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Los Angeles Clippers, the Spurs managed to clinch the No.1 seed and also to set a new record for most consecutive victories in franchise history. Isn’t that impressive?
Well, the San Antonio Spurs, this San Antonio Spurs of Tony Parker, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Gregg Popovich is one impressive team. It has managed to stay in the forefront of the NBA for about a decade and it just keeps rolling. So now it becomes crystal clear if the San Antonio Spurs are that good or how good they are.
They are very, I mean very good. They have a champions’ heart, they possess one of the best Head Coaches to ever pass from the NBA, stars and future Hall of Famers but also the young pieces, like Kawhi Leonard and Patty Mills, who add up to the mix to make this team a lethal one.
Of course, the Spurs will enter the Western Finals as the favorites although they won’t have an easy road towards their second consecutive NBA Finals appearance. The Spurs will hold the home court advantage but their opponents are younger and more energetic. So, we will have to see if San Antonio is so good that it can go on to take down any opponent and make it to the top of the NBA for yet another – possibly the last one under this formation – time.