Spurs overcome Tony Parker’s absence in series-clinching win
The Oklahoma City Thunder have been a nightmare for the Spurs for years, and without Tony Parker, it felt like a miracle would have to take place for San Antonio to avoid a Game 7 that would assuredly involve a hobbled point guard that just happened to be the team’s best player.
But the Spurs inserted the ultra-aggressive Cory Joseph, and his energy provided a surge that not only carried the Spurs back into the game, but one that set the tone for the rest of the night.
Losing Parker was clearly unexpected, but it’s not like the Spurs hadn’t prepared all season for this. San Antonio ran out 30 different starting lineups this season, and Joseph was someone who was on the end of the string for not just this season, but for each of the past three.
He’s been back and forth from Austin to San Antonio; he’s been in and out of lineups framed around rest sequences or random injuries; Joseph has been constantly ready for whatever has come his way, and in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals he had his chance to make an indelible mark.
Of course, it went far beyond Joseph. The Spurs went into machine-mode, thwarting the efforts of two of the top five best players in the league to make at least one more appearance as the West’s representative in the NBA Finals. After all the years, it’s amazing it keeps happening.
Here we are, 17 years into the majestic career of Tim Duncan and the 18-ish-year reign of Gregg Popovich, and we’re still seeing them operate at near-peak efficiency. This team is better than any other in the Western Conference, and it’s almost amazing to watch exactly what’s been accomplished.
We’ll see what the deal is with Parker’s injuries, but it’s good he’s got a chance to rest in between. I’m going to get into more stuff tomorrow, but for now, just celebrate folks.
It’s worth it