Corporate Knowledge: This isn’t 2012

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Royce Young, ESPN.com: “The callback of 2012 is obvious, and stared everyone in the face following the Spurs’ 35-point win on Wednesday, but there’s no denying the differing feel. For starters, that Thunder team had James Harden and a healthy Ibaka. Plus, this Spurs team is better than that one. In 2012, Kawhi Leonard was a rookie and Danny Green, who hit 7-of-10 from 3-point range on Wednesday, was essentially benched by Game 4.”

Sam Amick, USA Today: “The Spurs, who avoided the Thunder last postseason and now look Finals-bound again, spawned this Thunder generation. Oklahoma City general manager Sam Presti learned under Spurs general manager R.C. Buford and coach Gregg Popovich, then tweaked the blueprint in such a wildly successful way with his own team that his small-market model has become the latest example for others to follow. But the passing of the West baton that appeared to be in the works when Oklahoma City ousted the Spurs in the 2012 conference finals is no more, and the idea that this Thunder group is headed for Spurs-like things (four titles in nine seasons from 1999 to 2007) seems more unlikely by the day.”

Paul Garcia, Project Spurs: “Last season and in his time with the San Antonio Spurs, former guard Gary Neal had the PUJIT in his arsenal. Neal, along with Manu Ginobili, were players coached by GreggPopovich who had the go-ahead to shoot the PUJIT if the opportunity arose. With Neal leaving the Spurs this past summer for Milwaukee, Popovich granted access to two current Spurs to shoot the PUJIT – Danny Green and Patty Mills.”

J.A. Adande, ESPN.com: “Maybe Danny Green defines the San Antonio Spurs more than we realize. In their stellar Game 1 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder, he quietly had a plus/minus of plus-30 — 30! — in 27 minutes. And in Game 2, he did the bulk of the long-distance damage for the Spurs, hitting seven 3-pointers to account for all of his 21 points as San Antonio cruised to a 112-77 win and a 2-0 series lead. If you think about it, Green also mirrors the pain that’s haunted and driven the Spurs for the past 11 months. Just like the team, he was on his way to a 2013 NBA Finals worth savoring until it got away in the last two games.”

Dan McCarney, MySA.com: “Light it! Such is the simple yet empowering encouragement Tim Duncan offers streak shooter extraordinaire Danny Green to let it fly whenever he nears the 3-point line with a sliver of daylight.”

Travis Hale, Pounding the Rock: “Please forgive Spurs fans for refusing to imagine a world where that scenario isn’t possible. Their brilliance. Their creativity. Their leadership has united us as a community for twelve years and a life without the joy in watching the three is permanently blocked from our minds. Little old ladies paint their jersey numbers on their houses and on the windows of their Mercury Sables. Young children wear a #9 or a #20 or a #21 year round jersey and not much else, even in the cold. The three teammates are ingrained in our community and they are part of us.”

Fran Blinebury, NBA.com: “One minute an Argentine, a Frenchman and a swimmer from the Virgin Islands were learning the fundamentals of a basketball language and, a dozen years later, it is as if they were all born speaking a common tongue. Everyone moves. Everyone cuts. Everyone passes the ball like it was radioactive. Everyone finds the open man. Everyone is for everyone.”

Matt Moore, CBS Sports: “I’m willing to go ahead and say it. I think this team, this Spurs core that has been together since 2002, when you factor its entire 12 year-and-counting run, is the greatest NBA team of all time. The Chicago Bulls had better players, and much better individual seasons in the 90’s. The Lakers and Celtics captured our imaginations the way that this team never has. But going back to when Duncan was drafted, that this team has been so dominant for so long? That this core for 12 years has been this good?”

  • LukeDawg

    Well I guess Pop and company were justified in their paranoia, okc media outlets reporting ibaka now “day to day” and could, in fact, be coming through that proverbial door?

  • The Kawhiet Storm

    The Spurs have been preparing as if he were going to play from the 1st game, the only thing this changes is that it boosts their odds of winning one of the next two games, from none to some. Joke will be on OKC if he reinjures/aggravates that calf.

  • Fred

    It’s PANIC time for OKC.

    While OKC would definitely improve with Ibaka there is no way the outcome would be any different.

    If Ibaka’s return somehow would turn the series in favor of OKC, then the MVP trophy went to the wrong player in that team.

  • Graham

    I wonder how effective Ibaka really will be coming off of this injury, and undoubtedly pushing himself to play. Is 75% of Ibaka better than 100% of Collison or Adams at this stage? Guess we get to find out this weekend.

  • Riotsmoke

    I agree 100%, but at the same time, a better coach would’ve figured out how to maximize Collison and Adams right now, rather than push a GM to throw an injured player back in the mix for sheer shock value. Scoot Brooks is showing his true colors right now.. For the Thunder, there’s never been a Plan B…

  • SpurredOn

    This should have been obvious to all observers prior to the series. Those rooting for or picking OKC to win who at any point used 2012 as part of their argument reminded me of those last post-season who used the 2011 Grizzlies-Spurs series as a piece of their argument. The two year gapped series are not related. The improvement, maturity, and experience of a Finals run by key Spurs role players makes the current team far better than 2012. This current San Antonio group would defeat that Thunder (and that Spurs) team. Take away Harden, and the gap, while not huge, becomes obvious, especially with the Spurs having HCA.