Death, Taxes, Spurs … Why Change?





SAN ANTONIO — It was the kind of clutch shot and the kind of celebration that the Spurs would have preferred to happen five months earlier.

Tony Parker came open briefly on the left wing, launched an arcing 21-footer over the outstretched arm of Serge Ibaka that nearly scraped the sky, then fell like a shooting star through the net as the horn sounded as his teammates raced to pile onto his back.

It certainly didn’t make up for the Spurs dropping four straight games to lose the Western Conference finals to the Thunder last June. But it did reinforce just who the Spurs are.

Still the Spurs.

After another summer of upheaval throughout the league, the NBA’s version of dog bites man came back to show that they still have teeth.

The Lakers got Dwight Howard and Steve Nash. Andrew Bynum went to Philly, Joe Johnson to Brooklyn and Andre Iguodala to Denver. Even the Thunder couldn’t resist getting in on the action, sending the reigning Sixth Man of the Year James Harden to Houston just five days before their season opener for Kevin Martin and some prospects.

And here came the same old Spurs with a virtually identical roster as last season, except for adding rookie Nando De Colo, who holdsdown a spot on the end of the bench.

“Death, taxes and Pop winning 50 games. You count on them,” Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks had said of San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich before the Spurs‘ stirring 86-84 win. “Why change?”

Why, indeed.

When training camp had opened, Popovich said his Spurs had been the victims of identity theft after building a 2-0 lead over OKC to start that still-gnawing defeat. He was talking about the way the Thunder passed the ball, shared the scoring burden and made the big defensive plays to turn the tide in the best-of-seven series.

It is always painful to lose. It is excruciating when you get beat with your own weapons.

So there were the Spurs — playing themselves without the ailing Manu Ginobili (back) — reclaiming themselves down the stretch on Thursday night, just when the Thunder appeared poise to do it to them again.

First the ball came to Parker deep in the left corner when Boris Diaw saved the ball from going out of bounds under the basket. Parker’s 3-pointer with 28.3 seconds left tied the score at 84-84.

Then Kawhi Leonard stepped in front of a pass from Russell Westbrook to Kevin Durant for his fifth steal of the night. Then Parker managed to completely lose Westbrook to get himself the look at that final shot.

“I came off a pick and I was kind of open,” Parker said. “Then I took a dribble because I knew it was six seconds and to make sure we took the last shot. I saw Ibaka and I just thought, ‘I have to shoot fast.’ ”

It was one shot, one game in a season that will literally have thousands of them and log more miles than your average jumbo jet between now and the playoffs next spring.

But while the Lakers try to pick themselves up with the alarm siren already wailing in their ears, while the so-called Thunder brotherhood tries to move on to the next stage without one of its family members — and a clutch performer — here is the NBA’s most relentlessly familiar bunch starting off with back-to-back wins because of who they are.

Still the Spurs.

20 Comments

  1. karibkween says:

    Hello Spurs’ Defense

  2. me says:

    as long as timmy, pop, tony and manu are together, the spurs will remain a playoff team no matter how old they are. man they were old since 2005.

  3. Rocks says:

    The Thunder without J Harden is a different team. The back court still looks good but JH added that special uplift other teams didn’t have. More like Jason Terry or Lamar did for the Mavs and Lakers back then. I guess every good thing has to come to an end at some point. That’s why you have to max the opportunity when get one. I’m still hopeful that the Thunder will have a descent season but I doubt if they will replicate the last one. Great game from both teams. Well done Spurs. I guess payback is b….!!!

    • Game Time says:

      I think you’re jumping to a conclusion to early. This was only the 1st game of the season and a away game vs. San Antonio. Harden’s energy and play making will be missed, but given a month or less Martin will be meshed into the OKC system; heck he put up 15 last night which is a good start. I know Harden had a great game the other night, but it was against a not so great defensive team. If he can do that agianst teams Like San Antonio, Miami, the Lakers and OKC then we can start saying OKC messed up. I mean why didn’t he do that in the finals? People are looking at things singularly instead of the whole picture.

    • ColoradoSpursFan says:

      Well said.

  4. Game Time says:

    Duncan is looking healthy, Parker is still looking to be a MVP canidate and they won without Manu. Spurs will be one of the top 3 teams, but so will OKC.

  5. I Luv This Game says:

    Tim Duncan- Can’t jump over a newspaper and four championship. Blake Griffin. Can leap over cars and 0 championship

  6. hey... says:

    All and every floops was made by r.w…again and again and again…and again…i think this goes d whole season….

  7. K.I.N.G says:

    Those spurs, I tell ya….You can never count the out its just a winning organization

  8. Bob says:

    That hot Spurs team that went cold in OKC was a thing of beauty. Certainly, some of the best team basketball that I’ve ever seen. Every night was a clinic.
    They were so excellent, it’s hard to understand exactly what happened. Pop deserves his love, but the Spurs have not been closing it out. For that, he should get knocked around a little bit, like every other coach. The pedestals aren’t for men.

    • kyle gorzynski says:

      @ bob your an idiot popovich is the best coach in the nba right now you moron and at esy your an idiot also sorry the fundamental basic way of playing basketball isnt flashy enough for the flake show and yourself just remember griffin is a terrible shooter and both him and jordan are phenomenal athletes but cant do anything more than 5 feet away from the rim and also remember that the spurs swept the clippers last year

  9. Karlo Garcia says:

    I LOVE HOW THE SPURS JUST GO ABOUT THERE BUSINESS. THEY PLAY/WIN WHEN THERE UNDER THE RADAR.

  10. Fisal Nizami says:

    no team plays better basketball than the spurs !

  11. Dim Tuncan says:

    Patty Mills played way too many minutes tonight.

  12. sid2377 says:

    Great win Spurs!

  13. silver n black says:

    great win for the spurs and without manu.

  14. Lucian Cristian says:

    Griffin should watch the “dunk of the night” video. That’s how it’s done! No stretched arm keeping your opponent down…

    Just love to see a good basketball team with no bullies! Go SPURS!

    • E-SY says:

      You’re a fool…
      For an old man, I must admit it was nice to see him do something quite explosive once again. Griffin jumps right over the heads of everybody in the Spurs lineup and you are claiming he should watch the ‘dunk of the night’ video what was all about a dunk of someone who has a hard time leaping over a newspaper?!

      It was good basketball, certainly that particular play. That being THE highlight of this game, also states that there was no athlete in the building yesterday night…

    • Game Time says:

      Here we go. Another sissy whining about Griffin’s dunks. Basketball is still a contact sport and people getting posterized is nothing new…unless you just started watching in the past couple years. Giffin does not commit offesive fouls because he’s already airborne when the other player comes over and makes contact. IT’s PERFECTLY LEGAL!