As doubt enshrouded the organization after a Finals loss to the Miami Heat last year, the San Antonio Spurs have proven that they yet again have what it takes to make a championship run. With that Finals loss still fresh on their minds, the Spurs have done everything in their power to ensure that they have every advantage possible this year.
With a comeback win on a tough back-to-back Friday night against the Phoenix Suns, the Spurs have locked down the top seed in the West and the best record in the NBA, ensuring home court throughout the playoffs.
When everything seemed to fall in place for a magical run last year, the San Antonio Spurs still lacked one critical component for championship contention: Finals home court. After going up 3-2 in last year’s Finals, the Spurs traveled to Miami to try to finish out the series. The Spurs came seconds away from a fifth championship, only to have it ripped away by Ray Allen and company in game 6, shifting momentum in the Heat’s favor for game 7.
Home court proved to play a much more prominent role than the veteran Spurs hoped for. Though none of them will likely come out and say it this year, it’s hard to imagine that securing playoff home court in its entirety wasn’t at the top of the season goals for the San Antonio Spurs.
Though this lock of home court is monumental for the Spurs’ playoff future, how they secured it is both promising and impressive. In the last 4 games, San Antonio has played each of the three teams that are fighting for a playoff spot in the West, one of which being the one that will fill the 8-seed.
The Spurs started the round-robin of possible first-round previews with Memphis. In a game where Tony Parker only played 9 minutes due to a slight tweak to his back, the Spurs still topped the usually defensively stout Grizzlies by a score of 112-92. San Antonio then traveled to Dallas to take on their in-state rivals, exploding in the second half to coast to an easy victory 109-100, all while Tony Parker continued to rest.
After Thursday night’s win in Dallas, the Spurs made the quick trip home to take on the high-flying, high-energy Phoenix Suns on Friday night. Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili got the night off due to the back-to-back, but the Spurs still edged out Phoenix after trailing by 21 in the first half.
What is important in all three of these games is not solely the outcome, but how they achieved that outcome. In each game the Spurs went without one or more of the key 3 of Duncan, Parker, and Ginobili, and still they proved their dominance over their weaker foes.
Watch Friday night’s recap here.
What this proves is that, no matter the opponent, the Spurs should handedly coast through the first round of the playoffs. No need for any reminiscing the 2011 first round Grizzlies debacle.
Time to get your playoff ticket packages, San Antonio faithful. It looks like there will be a few more home games in this year’s playoffs. If all goes according to plan, the last one just might end in a trophy presentation.