“Something Special-San Antonio”
The second half of the NBA season starts tomorrow night, and all the attention now will be focused on the run to the playoffs and the potential record setting season of the Golden State Warriors.
Someone should pay attention to the other team in the NBA, doing spectacular things, the San Antonio Spurs.
Golden State rolls the ball out on the floor with a (48-4) record, primed to shatter the all time single season record, set by the Michael Jordan led-1995 Chicago Bulls, that roared home (72-10) in the midst of all those championship seasons.
Golden State has firepower, in two of the best long distance shooters in NBA history, in Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. The apple doesn’t flal far from the tree, the sons of former 3-point shooting star Del Curry, and 1st round draft pick Mychael Thompson.
The Warriors turned the corner with the growth of power forward Draymond Green, who has become as dynamic a power forward as the league has seen in ages. Add in the toughness, the rebounding, the defense, the grit of Andrew Bogut, another high number one, and you know why the Warriors cause trouble matching when it is time to talk matchups.
Off the bench, they bring every sytle possible with Harrison Barnes, Leandro Barbosa and Andre Iguodala.
Lost in all the conversation though is the era the San Antonio Spurs are marching through with Greg Popovich. They tipoff after this All Star break with a (45-8) record, and with all that postseason experience.
You cannot say the ‘era is over’ in San Antonio. Yes the odometer on Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobli has cleared 100,000 miles for each. And yes they are the last part of the David Robinson era, the last group of great seasons they strung together in the Alamo city.
But as an organizaiton, they are superb. The next generation gem, who arrived in a draft trade, was Kawhi Leonard. Known for his defense and his rebounding, he has become an enormous offensive threat. He might be as complete a forward as there is in the NBA, at both ends of the court.
The Spurs have never been big players in free agency, but they spent once and wisely, for LaMarcus Aldridge gives then big buckets, some rebounds, and just lots of energy.
San Antonio was one of the first to explore the foreign market, where everybody goes hunting these days. Thus the rewards of the Parker-Ginobli back court for so many years.
And they do bring points off the bench, with Boris Diaw, Danny Green, Patty Mills and David West. So good, so deep, so diverse.
Golden State is all about being loud, the “Splash Brothers”, their bay area version of Showtime. San Antonio doesn’t say much, just gets it done, from the coach to the players, year-in, year out, and years after they were supposed to be done.
The NBA has been all about names in neon lights, Pat Riley and the Dream Team in Miami for three years, King James, and what LeBron is trying to do in Cleveland. But out west, these guys are really, really good.
This will be fun to watch the rest of the way, to see if the Warriors can get the record, and who will survive when it really becomes playoff time.
Golden State with its star power-firepower, and the Spurs, with its experience and philosophy of the team game.
Warriors-Spurs headed towards each other on a collission course in postseason. And the second half of the season starts tomorrow night.