I watched the Spurs play in person once. It was in Oklahoma City. They were playing the Thunder. The company my friend Colt works for gave him tickets and he invited me and some friends to tag along. I wore a NorthFace shirt and a NorthFace hoodie, both of which I’d gotten for Christmas, both of which my friend Mason laughed at. I was a billboard, apparently. This was three years ago. The Spurs were good, as per the uuuuuuuuge. The Thunder were finally not a disaster.
I was excited for the game. I’d never seen Duncan play in person and the prospect of getting to watch the greatest power forward ever had me at threat level midnight, basketball-wise. It was party time.
As he’s done all the more in recent years, Duncan sat that game. I tried getting his attention from thirty-ish rows up but, believe it or not, the former MVP didn’t notice me. He was wearing these super baggy jeans, a tan short sleeve button up, and a gigantic camel colored blazer. It was the stuff we rip on Jordan for.
This was great news in another way, though, because the Thunder now had a pretty big advantage. No Duncan, No Cry, or so I thought. Then, two overtimes and one career night from Dejaun Blair later, the Spurs beat the Thunder.
That is what the Spurs do. They take a dump on your party.
DeJaun Blair is Gary Neal is Danny Green is Bruce Bowen is Mario Ellie is Vinny Del Negro is Brent Barry is Kawhai Leonard.
They burn you at one point or another, all of them. They are the role players. The “others”, or whatever dumb word people toss around. They are the ones that sneak up on you and leave you woozy in a ditch while they drive off with your smiling spouse in your car.
Last night it was Neal and Green playing the role of car thief. Mike Breen, losing his mind during the telecast, said the words “virtuoso performance” when talking about Green’s 27 points and seven made three pointers. Gary Neal put up 24 and made six threes of his own. Kawhai Leonard had him his third straight double digit rebound game and posted a nice, quiet, polite double dooskie with 14 and 12. Splitter did the things that he does and managed to not get blocked by LeBron. Dope times, all of them. Old times, too.
The Spurs are a machine. A monstrous beast of efficiency and even play that comes to ruin the souls of those of you who would dare take pot shots at their style of play. If basketball is the real beautiful game, and we’re taking the word “beautiful” to its most shallow and extreme end, then the Spurs are Monet’s Water Lilies wrapped in a sunset while Ella Fitzgerald sings slow, falsetto covers of Hank Williams.
Still, there’s going to be a lot of columns saying a lot of the same things.
The Spurs are boring, huh? Well, who’s boring now?
They just find a way to find hidden gems and they develop talent better than anyone in the league.
That sort of thing. That stuff’s true, for sure, but let’s be original. That stuff’s been said. Let’s accept fact and move forward without making a fuss like it’s a groundbreaking thought that ain’t never been thunk before.
The Spurs are exciting, of course, if you like good basketball. Winning is exciting. Dominating is more exciting. They’ve been too good and won for too long, so these are true things that have truth coming out of their already overflowing truthiness. Part of that excitement, no doubt, comes from the fact that you can watch an undrafted guy and a guy who’s had two separate stints in the D-League put up holy numbers on a team harbors the greatest physical specimen the game’s ever known. But this idea that we’re saying something new by trying to call out the masses for not liking the Spurs because they’re “boring” is tired and played as a CBS sitcom or Monopoly after the first two hours.
The Spurs are steady, like the tide, or DiCaprio’s hand in The Departed. They do not shake. They are surgical and every move they make is to kill. They never change. In the days of Popovich and Buford, they will always be that thorn in the face of a league that fell in love with the air above the rim a long time ago. The Spurs are still what they’ve always been: great.
The overreactions to this win will be swift and loud and televisions will be full of dudes in pressed suits talking about where is the real LeBron and Dwyane Wade is officially in shell of his former self mode and blah, Spoelstra’s getting a lesson from Pop, blah. The series is still very much up in the air. The Heat, as they’ve shown, can turn it on and leave all others in the dust. LeBron is still a real life Neo and Mike Miller has been touched by the ghost of Jimmy Chitwood. I’m saying, it could easily be 2-2 this time Friday.
But, for now, let’s all just revel at the King killers. The ones who don’t care that you’re there to have a good time, because they’re there to have a good one of their own.