San Antonio Spurs ease into conference finals

Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, Tim Duncan

The San Antonio Spurs moved into the third and final round of the Western Conference Playoffs Wednesday night after a decisive 104-82 game 5 win against the Portland Trail Blazers.

Not many fans or critics, including myself, gave the Spurs much of a chance to make quick work of the Blazers, but after a quick 5-game series the Spurs easily completed the “Gentleman’s Sweep.”

In all honesty, the series itself held my attention very little.  From game one it was apparent that the first round was merely a fluke or complete failure to effectively size up a rag-tag Dallas team.  San Antonio welcomed in the young and eager Portland team riding high off of their first series win in 15 years, and quickly reminded the world as to why they are one of the best two teams in the NBA.

The entire Spurs attack was ready and waiting for the inexperienced Portland team and attacked quickly, winning the first two games at home.  The San Antonio bench showed up and shamed the simplest belief of victory out of Blazer fans and players immediately.

After traveling Portland, San Antonio continued their dominance, easily winning game 3, all but assuring a spot in the Conference Finals due to precedent assurance of history.  Rip City harnessed whatever fight they had left and staved off elimination in game 4, allowing San Antonio the opportunity to close out the series at home after a lackluster performance.

San Antonio shined in game 5, sending Portland back home to spend their summer away from competitive basketball.

Though San Antonio escaped the series with relative ease, game 5 ushered in a new challenge.  Tony Parker came up gimpy after just ten minutes of play, limping to the locker room with a hamstring injury.  Parker sat out the remainder of the game out of precaution, allowing backup point guard Patty Mills to step up and shoulder the offensive load.

This, the first injury to a San Antonio player of the postseason, could prove to be a thorn in the Spurs’ side, but the coaching staff assures that the injury is nothing to fret about.  As minor as this hamstring tightness may be, anyone familiar with sports knows how fickle a hamstring can be. Keep an eye out for any official injury reports to surface, but expect the gamesmanship of Popovich to keep any and all unessential information under wraps.

For now the only thing important to the Spurs organization is to sit back, relax, and rest up as they analyze and scrutinize their eventual opponent from the comfort of home.  Game 1 of the Conference Finals will begin on Monday at the earliest, assuring a full four days of rest for the achey, veteran Spurs.  Barring a 7-game series, the Spurs will wait until Wednesday to start their next series.

Ride high off the victory and enjoy the remaining series of the Western Conference Semifinals.  Either the Thunder or Clippers will undoubtedly bring a tougher test for the Spurs, but no matter the opponent, a hell of a series is guaranteed to be on the horizon.