Thursday, June 7, 2012

Spurs Update - Western Conference Finals And More

I have a lot of stuff to post, but right now my heart is broken. And for the second time in three nights. I'll try my best to keep this one short, but it will probably be straight to the point.

I've been a Spurs fan since as long as I can remember. I loved watching George Gervin as a child, and was even blessed enough to attend one of the highest scoring games of all-time at Hemisfair arena. Spurs 172 Milwaukee Bucks 163 I think it was, and 3 OTs, even. It was February, 1982. George Gervin had 50, and Mike Mitchell had 40.. I got a bunch of autographs, and at the age of 10 I was suddenly a fan for life.

I watched the sad years.. the rely on Alvin Robertson years, and the Artis Gilmore years, the Terry Cummings years.. The years Rod Strickland was half-committed. Then we somehow won the lottery with the 3rd worst record in the league at 28-54, and were able to snag David Robinson with the 1st overall pick in 1987. He had to serve two years yet in the Navy, and then after a terrible season in '88-'89 in which David was hurt most of the season, we were lucky enough to draft Sean Elliott 3rd overall..

I watched all of these next few years as Robinson blossomed into the league's best Center, and we would go through other personnel like they were socks. Then the 1993-1994 season was the breakthrough season that everyone forgets, because we pooped out in the playoffs. But we'd be back strong in '94-'95 with a 62-20 record, and we advanced all the way to the Western Conference Finals against Houston. Jordan's Bulls had just won three straight, and the Rockets won it all in '94. But everything pointed to this being our year. Jordan had been retired for a year, David got the MVP, and we were up 2-0 in the WCF against Houston. Then Hakeem Olajuwon schooled Robinson for 4 straight games, and they went on to win their 2nd straight title.

Ewww.. wow.. Yikes!!

1996 playoffs, after an incredible 59-23 regular season, Utah's Stockton & Malone manhandled us, only to lose to Seattle in the WCF, who would then go on to lose to the Bulls in the finals because his majesty Michael Jordan was back.

1996-1997 was terrible for Spurs fans because David suffered a back injury while playing for the Olympic team in the Summer of '96, and after FINALLY returning, he broke his foot in his 6th game back. We couldn't win without him, and our record was 2nd worst in the league that season.

My father and I were on the golf course when we heard that the Spurs had won the lottery again - giving us the rights to probable pick Tim Duncan from Wake Forest. That day was a big day for both of us! We knew the ramifications of this guy joining our team, who's been dominant when David & Sean were both healthy.

Right off the bat we would go 56-26 in Duncan's 1st season, but it was only good enough for the West's 5th-seed in the playoffs. We took care of Phoenix, but Malone-Stockton & company would take care of us yet again in the 2nd round. This dominant Utah team would again sweep the Lakers but lose in the Finals to the Bulls.

1998-1999 was little different. A lockout had screwed a quarter of the season, but once action began, the twin-towers were in full force. With a 37-13 regular season record, and the #1 seed we lost the first playoff game to Minnesota, and then swept our way through the next two rounds. Through Lakers and then the Memorial Day miracle - Sean Elliott's three late in game 2 of the Portland series, after having trailed by as much as 18 that game. We go on to beat the Knicks 4-1 in the Finals, and the Dynasty has officially begun - if not before. That night I went to downtown San Antonio to celebrate. It was incredible as people were celebrating on every downtown street.

So now we were champions, and the Lakers were making moves like crazy. Phil Jackson has the nerve to call it an asterisk championship just because there was a damn lockout.

The next three seasons would be a trial of whether or not we could "get through the Lakers".

2000 playoffs sucked because Tim Duncan messed up his foot in one of the last games of the regular season. So then Phoenix beat us 3-1 in the 1st-round as a 4-seed.

Then two straight seasons (2000-2001 -- 2001-2002) My Spurs had incredible regular seasons, but simply could not get past an extremely dominant Lakers team of Shaq & Kobe. They won three straight, 2000-2002.

The 2002-2003 season we went 60-22, and finally were able to defeat the Shaq/Kobe Lakers in round-2 after a successful early series vs. Phoenix. We would take down a hot Dallas Mavericks team 4-2 in the WCF and then beat the New Jersey Nets in the finals for our 2nd Championship.

The next season was another beautiful 57-25 regular season, in which as a #3 seed we would sweep Memphis, and then face the Lakers again in round-2. With the series tied 2-2 at home, Duncan hit one of the most incredible shots in team history to put us up with .04 left, and then we all now what happened next. Lakers would then beat Minnesota 4-2 before getting beaten badly in the finals by the Detroit Pistons. If Derek Fisher doesn't make that shot, I truly believe we win the title that year.

2005, we have again won our division 59-23, and beat Denver 4-1 and Seattle 4-2, before a match-up with #1 seed Phoenix. Up 3-0, Phoenix won game-4, and then Spurs won game-5 to advance to the Finals yet again. This time against Detroit. And it was an epic finals in which the home teams would win the first 4 games, but the Spurs would win game-5 in Detroit on a Manu three. The Pistons came back to our arena and kicked our butts to tie it up. But game-7 in Detroit featured one of Tim Duncan's best games of all-time. Championship #3, and this was SWEET!

In defense of our Championship the next season (2006) we would do very little wrong compiling a Spurs' record 63-19 regular season, and the highest my hopes had been since two season ago - when the 0.04 shot happened. We had a deep team, and were destined, I felt. We beat an overachieving Sacramento team 4-2, and then had to host a Dallas Mavericks team who had won just 1 fewer game than we had for the regular season, in the second round.

This was one of the best series in recent basketball.

Screenshot Source

Up by 3, Manu fouled Dirk on his drive to the basket (:25 left) the last play of game-7 in San Antonio. The ball fell in, and Dirk hit the FT. The game went to OT, and somehow the Mavs won the game. They then went on to beat Phoenix, but get their asses handed to them by Shaq, Dwyane Wade, and the Miami Heat in the finals. Once again if Manu doesn't foul Dirk on that play, I honestly believe we win the title that year as well.

2007 Yeah Spurs went 58-24 again. We rolled Denver (4-1), Phoenix (4-2), and then Utah (4-1) in their last appearance for a while... We would meet LeBron's Cleveland Cavs, and well... He was good, but we swept them for title #4.

The 2008 regular season was 56-26.. a stupid non-called foul against Brent Barry cost us game-2. Lakers go on to lose to Celtics in the finals.

2009 playoffs we get solidly beaten in round-1 by a great Mavs team. We never came to play, and it ruined another division title.

2010 playoffs - our worst seed (#7) in a long time due to tons of injuries, we got revenge on the Mavs, but then got swept by Phoenix who simply wanted it more. This was the Suns' last triumph for a team who was likely to be broken up later. They would then (of course) lose to the newly reconstructed Lakers. In Phil Jackson's final season, the Lakers would then beat the Celtics in their return to the finals.

2011 was a year in which San Antonio would once again create a new standard with a 61-21 regular-season record. The "old team" beat everyone until it came time to face the Memphis Grizzlies, who had won a ton of their late regular season games to snag the 8th playoff spot. They were peaking at the right time, and took us out in six games, before taking OKC to 7 games. OKC would then go on to the WCF and be defeated by the Mavericks in 5 games. Dallas would then win their first-ever title against Miami in six games.

The 2011-2012 season for my Spurs was the best season in a long-long time. If you've followed this so far, you know that we finished-off the regular season with a 10-game win streak. This is after already posting two separate 11-game win streaks. Both of those were nullified by Pop sitting starters.

So we sweep Utah.. Then we sweep the Los Angeles Clippers. At home against an OKC Thunder team that we beat 2-1 this season, we kick their butts for two games. We've won 20-straight now, and are up 2-0 in the WCF.

Thunder then win both games on their homecourt, and I'm not really surprised, but upset. Being certain we'd win game-5, this young-talented team finds a way to get it done, even after we had a substantial lead.

So I drink beers.. and am pretty distraught that our best team in years is facing elimination.

Game-6.. Here we are. Spurs come out and prove who is the better team. 34-20 after 1Q. Tony Parker, Timmy, and Stephen Jackson were on fire.. Spurs were up 15 at halftime, and Tony Parker was having another one of his incredible games with 21 points and 10 assists at halftime.

Our guys remained active on offense, but our defense broke down.. Stephen Jackson would go 6 for 6 from three, but Kevin Durant showed why he is the best player on the planet. Despite all the offense we could offer, the Thunder scrambled it to within 1 after three. We had this game.. We totally had it, and it was evident it was coming back to San Antonio for game-7. Then as Durant, Harden, & Westbrook hit just about everything they put up, my Spurs have gone completely cold.

Up 1 going into the 4thQ, Pop's confidence was as high as ever. But he apparently had a little too much faith in Gary Neal who went 2 for 7, and missed crucial FTs down the stretch. In the mean time we went scoreless for almost 4 minutes. The Tony & Timmy pick-n-roll worked almost every time, but defense lacked when so many of their threes went down. Down by 4 Fisher found a spot to hit a three to put them up by 7.


Tons of calls down the stretch of this game has made me realize that Joey Crawford just had to get his revenge on Tim Duncan. I have already gone through the sadness. I knew it would take an enormous effort to win game-6 @ OKC.

Our season is done - just like many others. The .04.. The '06 Manu foul on Dirk in game-7.. The refs in the second half of this game totally screwed us over.

Game-6 @OKC - the Thunder and the refs closed us out.

Here is ESPN's boxscore...

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