It’s that time of year when the champions and the challengers elevate themselves from mediocrity and the pretenders- the regular season’s final stretch.
Historically, eventual Hall of Famers, Greg Poppovich and the Big Fundamental, lead the San Antonio Spurs’ charge to the playoffs. Never given their just credit, the Spurs will continue to look to prove their non-believers wrong. But in true Spurs fashion, Timmy and co won’t concede that it’s a motivational tool. The Spurs organisation typify professionalism with a confident yet genuinely humble streak. Four Championships in just over a decade. This impressive statistic would often inspire complacency and an ugly streak of arrogance in American sports, yet coach Pop’s straight shooting approach to the management of his players and staff assure a focused and hungry lot. While the defending champions, the Los Angeles Lakers, are still the team to beat in the West, the Spurs deserve the label as the “number one challenger” to Kobe and his crew.
Once again the Dallas Mavericks pose a threat to the Lakers and their cross town bitter rivals- San Antonio. Yet, how far do the Mavs expect to make it in the playoffs? With no Caron Butler, the Mavs are short at the three position. Previous years, the Mavs flirted with a Championship run but have broke down, not because of talent but because of grit. With the inclusion of the hardened big man Tyson Chandler, Dallas now look a more assured outfit in the front court. Perhaps, their playoff position by the end of the regular season will depend on the level of production from the newly acquired peja stojakovic. If the three-point shooter can turn back the clock a few years with some efficient shooting from beyond the arc, the Mavs will be more than capable of replacing the injured Butler and make a worthwhile playoff push.
While the rest of the NBA will use the last stretch of the season to jostle to playoff positions, the Spurs, who have all but sown up the top seed, can look to improve on what Pop has been harping on about all season- defense.
As the old saying goes- “defense wins championships”. And no team knows this more than the San Antonio Spurs.