With plenty of help from second-year power forward Tim Duncan, that title validated Robinson’s career. But more importantly, it spawned a run of sustained success that is incredibly unique in the NBA, especially for a small-market franchise like the Spurs.
We expect established superstars such as LeBron James and Kevin Durant to welcome the pressure of the postseason and elevate their play. That is part of the reason they are among the game’s best players.
It is also not that surprising to see very good players such as Stephen Curry and Mike Conley lift their games. The only doubts we may have had were created by the fact that their previous postseason experience was limited.
While most of the national media attention continues to go to the Chicago Bulls and Derrick Rose, whether or not he will play against the defending champion Miami Heat, quietly the San Antonio Spurs are preparing for their second round series against the upstart Golden State Warriors.
Granted, the Spurs have never needed fanfare to get up for a playoff series. And, considering that they boast an impressive 29-0 home record against the Warriors in the Tim Duncan era, internally they may not be too concerned with their second round matchup. However, it doesn’t negate the fact that it is a big-to-do. It could, potentially, be the most entertaining series of the second round.
All-Star point guard Tony Parker isn’t overlooking tonight’s game.
The San Antonio Spurs are in the second round of the playoffs. That’s pretty much the biggest non-story of the postseason, given that they’ve failed to move past the first round just three times in the Tim Duncan era.
For the Golden State Warriors, it’s nearly uncharted territory – they’ve made it to the conference semifinals only twice in the last 22 years: once back in 2007, when they upset the Dallas Mavericks as an 8th seed, and once back in 1991, when they beat the Spurs in the first round. The last time Golden State went beyond the semifinals was back in 1975, when it won the only championship in its 41-year history.
SH Blog: What’s next for the Lakers? Aaron McKie or Larry Drew next Sixers coach? Splitter to miss 2nd round?
The Bucks and Lakers, on the other hand, are done. The Lakers never had much of a chance without Kobe Bryant, and the Bucks got stuck by the wrecking ball known as the Heat.
Speaking of the Bucks, here’s a column from Chris Sheridan that questions whether Brandon Jennings is really more valuable than Nate Robinson. He doesn’t think so.
The other series that’s still 3-0 is Rockets-Thunder, and to this point it’s been way more competitive than that 3-0 indicates. But, as Keith Calkins writes, the Rockets still find themselves staring a sweep straight in the face.
Today’s blog is fairly playoff-centric, as is to be expected during the first round of the playoffs, but let’s kick things off with some news about a non-playoff team:
- There’s a couple names popping up in the Sixers’ coaching search. The first is current Hawks coach Larry Drew. John N. Mitchell of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes: “If the Atlanta Hawks part ways with coach Larry Drew when the Hawks are bumped from the NBA playoffs, Drew would be interested in coaching the 76ers, a source with knowledge of the situation said on Saturday. “Larry loves coaching, and he wants to continue as a head coach,” said the league source. “He’s in a difficult situation, and it’s hard to say what will happen in Atlanta.” The Sixers are looking for a replacement for Doug Collins, who resigned one day after the regular season ended earlier this month. Drew is in the final year of his contract. The Hawks hired Danny Ferry as the general manager last summer, and there has been speculation ever since that Ferry would look to hire his own coach.”
- Here’s another name in that search, courtesy of Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe: “A coaching search remains in Philadelphia after Doug Collins stepped down, and the 76ers are seeking a dynamic young replacement who could help upgrade a flawed roster. While Brian Shaw’s name has been mentioned, someone to watch is former assistant, and former 76er, Aaron McKie, who is familiar with the roster and is a Philadelphia native.”