Corporate Knowledge: New Spurs, same Duncan

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Fran Blinebury of NBA.com: “Even the transformation of the Spurs’ style of play from pound-it-inside on offense and clamp down on defense was done with Duncan in mind. After winning a fourth NBA championship in 2007, only to be bounced out by the Lakers in the conference finals the following season, there was a realization that the team was due for an evolution.”

Mike Monroe of the San Antonio Express-News: “Eight years removed from a clutch shot even Robert Horry could appreciate, Derek Fisher is preparing for a playoff return to where San Antonians call the scene of the crime. It was there a buzzer-beater off an in-bounds pass with four-tenths of a second left concluded Game 4 of the Spurs-Lakers 2004 Western Conference semifinals.”

Britt Robson at SI.com: “The Thunder faced the past two NBA champions — confident, veteran teams with renowned closers in Dirk Nowitzki of the Mavericks and Kobe Bryant of the Lakers — and broke their spirit with youthful energy and talent enriched by crunch-time poise and grit. The Spurs are merely the hottest team ever to enter a conference finals, having won 18 straight and 29 of 31, including dismantling four-game sweeps of the Jazz and Clippers in which their average margin of victory was 13.75 points.”

Kevin Scheitrum of NBADLeague.com: “Now, of the more than two-dozen former NBA D-League players to crack into the NBA postseason this year, nobody’s shown themselves as well as Green, now a reserve swingman for the San Antonio Spurs. It doesn’t hurt that he’s playing on a team that’s moved through the Playoffs like it’s had a police escort, of course. But Green’s fit his game with perfection into the Spurs’ system, providing a young spark on both ends of the floor for a team that many thought would struggle even making it up and down.”