The only series in the first round of the NBA Playoffs that has been good has been the Los Angeles Clippers vs the San Antonio Spurs. Check that. Outside of game three, the series has been absolutely even both in game and between the two teams as Doc Rivers and Gregg Popovich have matched wits, adjustments and more to make this one of those "Series that shouldn't be in the first round" things.
Still, I'm not a fan of either team. The Clips have been too annoying to be appealing in the past, with Chris Paul and Blake Griffin's floptastic ways getting under my skin. Particularly Griffin who can be the single most infuriating player on the planet. Then you have Matt Barnes who you could make the argument is a scumbag supremo. Doc Rivers gets under my skin too for the way he got to LA and then turned the other way with a knowingly awful owner (Sterling) just for the money.
Yet...with all those issues I just can't bring myself to root for the Spurs. I'm just so done with them. I've found myself claiming to be neutral at the beginning of this series, but as it's progress I've found myself rooting for the "lesser of two evils" (Clips) because I just want the Spurs-era to end. I'm done and if I'm completely honest with myself that is why I'm pulling for the junior Los Angeles team to win. I can't take the Spurs anymore.
I'm sick of the "playing team ball" narrative of all that is good and pure in the world. As if the Spurs have never been deigned to be graced by the glory of a superstar. *cough THEY HAVE TIM DUNCAN WHO IS ONE OF THE BEST PLAYERS IN NBA HISTORY *cough. Yes he is the ultimate team player but he is, none the less, a superstar. An A+ player even in his late 30's. A guy who will be a first ballot hall of famer. It's still all about the players in the NBA and to my recollection ... San Antonio still has the players.
I'm sick of people forgetting Popovich (who was GM/Vice President of the Spurs at the time) basically fired Bob Hill because he had wanted to coach the Spurs. Seriously, Pop basically sandbagged Hill to oblivion in 1996, and then while David Robinson was out with injury fired Hill right before Robinson was due to return.. Then claimed that Hill had "lost" the team when it was blatantly false. For those that don't know the history read here. History has proven Pop a legendary coach (with legendary talent in Robinson, Duncan, Dominique Wilkins, Manu Ginobili, Sean Eliot, Tony Parker, Kawhi Leonard) and no one can take that away from him ... his beginnings however stunk to high heaven. People forgive a winner and there is no more classic case for that than Popovich.
I'm sick of people forgetting how good the Admiral was. One of the biggest fortunes in the history of the NBA was the Spurs getting a top 50 NBA talent in the 1997 NBA Draft when they already had a top 50 player on their roster. because of this fortune it set the table for the Spurs title success in 1999. For those that don't remember how good David Robinson was, check out these highlights from his MVP season in 1995.
Tim Duncan isn't Tim Duncan without David Robinson. I wrote about this before, but if Duncan goes to the Nuggets in the 1997 Draft instead of San Antonio, history would be completely different. Robinson's presence and maturity and general greatness on that Spurs team elevated Duncan's game and set the template for what was to come down the line. For some reason the Admiral has been swept away to the dust bin of history and it's not right.
These are whiny complaints about the Spurs. I understand that it's nit-picking. I understand that people find themselves cheering for the Spurs while being infuriated by them when they play the Nuggets (anyone remember Ginobili's famous "flop" game in Carmelo Anthony's last year on the Nuggets? One that got people so angry at the Spurs I had to close the comment section to Spurs fans?) Yet I'm met with this overwhelming feeling of suffering from Spurs-fatigue. Ready to turn the page and let them have their 5 years of struggle just like every other team.
Oh and before some people come back with the "you only wish the Nuggets were this successful". Yes, you are absolutely right. 100% I wish the Nuggets were that successful. I'm not hiding from that. Is there envy involved? YES!! Of course there is. Still ... I'm ready for the Spurs era to end.
I don't like the Clippers or Spurs, but I want there to be some finality. I think, while the NBA is probably happy to keep the Spurs hanging around, but, it's time. It's just time and while I may be in the minority here I think the new era of the NBA needs to begin and the Spurs need to be part of that bygone era.
I'll feel free to take flack from this, but Spurs fatigue is real. Lets get the next era going.