San Antonio swept the Memphis Grizzlies in the Western Conference finals. Gregg Popovich’s team will have nine days off before they play the winner of the Pacers-Heat series.
Tony Parker was amazing last night. The Spurs point guard scored 37 points on 15-21 shooting from the field and dished out six assists. ”He was outstanding the whole series, and he controlled the series with his penetration,” Lionell Hollins said of Parker. “He made shots, made plays. One game he has 18 assists, today he has 37 points. He was huge. But their team played well. You’ve got to give them credit.”
But what really caught my eye was the last play of the game. The Spurs brought the ball up under ten seconds and Manu Ginobili threw the ball ahead to a wide open Kawhi Leonard. Instead of laying the ball up Leonard dribbled the clock out.
The Spurs play together. They don’t care who gets the credit. And they are well coached. Popovich holds guys accountable. You have to defend, share the ball and play hard. You have to know your role and stick to the game plan.
The Spurs are 12-2 in the playoffs including six in a row; their only two losses have come to the Golden State Warriors.
“We’re not a one-on-one team, we do it as a group,” Popovich said after the game.
What impressed me through the playoffs is the last man on the Spurs bench, Patty Mills. The guy doens’t sniff the court but he’s the most energetic guy on the Spurs bench. His contribution has not gone unnoticed by the people who matter. Last night during the game, Jeff Van Gundy, an analyst for ESPN, was full of praise for Mills during the broadcast of the Spurs’ victory, noting the Australian’s support for teammates on the floor, whether it was waving towels, high fives or patting them on the back.
“You know what I love? Patty Mills,” Van Gundy said. ”I’m telling you, if I ever coach again, this is the type of guy you need to keep the energy up through a long NBA season.”
Energy guys not only on the court but on the bench is what helps the Spurs win too.