Spurs say rematch not about revenge


VIDEO: Gregg Popovich talks about his team’s preparation heading into Game 5

SAN ANTONIO — It’s been a long year since those 28 seconds slipped from their grasp like Waterford crystal smashing onto a concrete floor.

If that painful experience from Game 6 of the NBA Finals hasn’t lived in the forefront of their everyday existence, neither has it climbed down completely off the backs of the Spurs.

“I don’t know that that’s left any minds,” Spurs general manager R.C. Buford said Saturday, with his team on the cusp of turning the page. “But I don’t think it’s what you or why you do it.

“We try to put our best team together. Those [players] are thrust into their moment more often than we are. But our commitment to this group doesn’t change because of last year. We still have to put the best team can together with them, for them, and then it’s fun to see them play well have success.”

Buford joked about looking down the line to a future when Tim Duncan has stopped playing and coach Gregg Popovich has followed him out of the locker room.

“We’ve already got Tim’s successor picked out,” Buford said laughing.

“I think we’re always considering it. I don’t know that you’ll know what the opportunity is. Hopefully you’ve built your program to be as flexible as it can be at the time that opportunities are created.

“I can’t predict when that will happen and know when one of the great players of all time and one of the great coaches of all time leave, not knowing how you’re gonna fill those shoes.”

It was suggested that it will feel strange one day walking through the door of the Spurs’ training facility knowing that Duncan and Popovich are not inside.

“Who says I’ll be walking in?” Buford cracked. “There have been worse ideas.

“It will be numbing, changing. Those are the people you worked with, battled with, committed ourselves to as they’ve committed themselves to the rest of us. That will be hard. I don’t know why we’re talking about this.”

The NBA Draft came just five days after the Heat closed out the Spurs’ miserably lost opportunity in Game 7 last June. Then free agency began on July 1, followed by summer league. There were plenty of times to look back and feel the pain, just not right away.

“We’re still in a mourning period,” Buford said. “It’s not any time that begins and ends.”

It could end as soon as Sunday with the Spurs taking a 3-1 lead into Game 5 at the AT&T Center.

The Spurs insist that their motivation every moment of this season has not been about seeking vengeance from the Heat.

“In my case, not that much,” Manu Ginobili said. “I face every season the same way. If we win it. If we lost it. If we lose in the first round. I love doing what we do. You do love it more if you do well and you win. So in my situation I didn’t really take this season thinking that we have revenge because we lost. I just played the same way.”

It was, according to Duncan, one more lesson.

“I think we go back to last year and we learn from that,” he said. “We’re 30 seconds away. We feel that we have it in the bag and it slips out of our fingers.

“So I think we learn from that and we draw on that and we say, hey, it’s not over till it’s over. Our goal right now is to just win one more game. We’d love to do it [Sunday]. We’d love to do it in one game. But luckily we’ve put ourselves in a situation where we have a couple opportunities and we’re going to take whatever it takes.”

14 Comments

  1. educatedron says:

    How lucky can the Spurs be in that regard. If they wuold of played pacers (swept of course) the 28 seconds would of haunted them forever. The only way would be to get revenge and beat the team that caused the pain. I am so happy for those guys. Teamwork works. No need to pump on chest and tense up after every play, doing that can cause cramps.

  2. BBforall says:

    Revenge or redemption, who cares? Its just a great team of basketball players and a great coach playing the most beautiful games. So nice to watch you almost hope Heat can survive one or two games more so that we can see more. It teaches the young players what basketball is about. Spurs to win in game 5.

  3. vince gomez says:

    Let us see how miami heat was exposed this season, they don t have a big man to anchor their defense, they dont have a legit point guard, they dont have a deep bench and their roster is older than the spurs.enough said. Erik spo did not enough flexibility in his team. and michael beasley turned out to be a dud defensively. Rey allen and shai battier inexplicably disappeared in the finals. The birdman was shot down a lot of times , to be now the twittybird man. The Spuds brought the fight tto the Heat and sadly the Heat kept on running out of gas. A complete dominance. Just like the lebron cavs before. Wrll, time to raise that trophy and bring it home to san anton.

  4. Mike says:

    I’m looking for Duncan, Ginobili and Parker to close this out. The bench and role players are the reason why the Spurs are in this position, but they just set the table. Sunday night will be dinner for 3.

  5. prahumac says:

    just time to finish them off my trio just finish them off in game 5

  6. Anonymous says:

    Ok Marvin. I see your point of view. Seeing how the Spurs conduct themselves after Game 7 last year and how they have been this year, their motivation may be more benevolent in nature of redeeming themselves, vice just revenge. Still though, I would like to think that the Spurs took that Game 6 lost personally and will love to take the championship they lost by mere seconds back from the Heat.

  7. Manu says:

    Well, it’s revenger for me. So finish this in total domination. GgggggggRRrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!!!!!!!

  8. BOTODSKI says:

    We should call it then, SWEET REVENGE in the MIGHTY REDEMPTION. who cares? revenge or redemption and its ALL PERSONAL!

  9. Wayans says:

    Spurs 4-1. And I`m not a Spurs fan, lets go!

    Would like to know where is that stupid guy a.k.a lbj who used to post: “(something) wont get you a ring, u should join the heat, we will trade (somebody) and a 1st round pick.”
    Where u at right now? HAHAHAHA

  10. DLR34 says:

    Revenge or redemption either way they’re gonna win it.

  11. Anonymous says:

    As much as we would like to think that the Spurs are humble and benevolent, they are still human. Don’t get me wrong, they are probably the most humble and team oriented group fans have probably seen in a very long time. But they can be driven by revenge as well. If the Spurs would have had Indiana as an opponent in the Finals and not the Heat, they would have been happy to play them for the chanpionship. I think it’s evident that it means so much more that it is against this Miami Heat squad they are playing for the championship. Just look at Duncan’s statements in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals. They wanted the Heat. And they were going to get it this time. He didn’t say that just for another championship, or just for redemption. He said that with the painful memory of last year’s Finals Games 6 and Game 7 in mind.

    The last time I saw something similar to this was four years ago with Kobe and the Lakers, first against the Suns in the Western Conference and then the Celtics in the Finals. Kobe had the memory of being eliminated twice by the Suns in two consecutive years in the first round (2006, 2007). He was happy to be in the position to go to the Finals, but it meant more that it was against the Suns. Then when they played the Celtics, the memories of the 2008 was at the forefront. Though Kobe swore it was not about revenge, there was a great level of satisfaction to compete and win the championship against the Celtics team that eliminated them two years prior. Same thing goes to Duncan and the Heat, though they would never admit.

    • Marvin says:

      I disagree. I think it WAS for redemption. It was to redeem themselves for a loss in game 4 that would have put the series out of reach, had they won. It was to redeem themselves for a loss in game 6 that would not have happened if the Spurs, as a team, had not lost focus. It was to redeem himself for having a sub-par game 7 where he believed his team truly needed a boost after leaving it all on the floor in a losing cause in game 6. But, most of all, it was to redeem themselves to the thousands of loyal Spurs fans who hurt just as much as the team did when the final buzzer sounded last year.

      Revenge is personal, redemption is universal. The Spurs, and their fans, believe, (and rightly so), that they should be the defending champions. When the final buzzer sounds THIS time, the whole world will see that to be the truth.