bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: San Antonio Spurs win it all and do it the right way

No Gravatar

So much of sports is glitz. Highlights. SportsCenter. Kids grow up watching the “plays of the week” shows, and rarely do those shows focus on teamwork or fundamentals. A young football player wants to spike the ball over the crossbar. A young basketball player wants to dunk or shoot a three-pointer. Blocking and free throw shooting just don’t have the same appeal. The thing is that these things go a lot further toward winning championships than their eye-popping counterparts. Superstars can do great things for a team, especially when it comes to selling tickets and merchandise, but a cohesive team that works together is the smartest bet nearly every time. That point was proven this week by the San Antonio Spurs, who dominated the star-laden Miami Heat to win the NBA championship, the team’s fifth in the last sixteen years.

Going into the finals, it was a fairly common sentiment that the Spurs were, in fact, the better team in this matchup, but I don’t think very many people expected them to win the series. Anyone who says they saw coming the domination that actually occurred is a liar. After all, the Heat were appearing in their fourth consecutive NBA Finals, having won the last two after losing in 2011. They had the best player in the world in LeBron James, along with fellow superstars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. They had won the 2013 title in amazing fashion, beating the Spurs in seven games after an amazing come from behind win in game six. Meanwhile, the Spurs are often referred to as the most boring great team ever. Sure, Tim Duncan has been a major star for many years now, but he is the most unassuming superstar in the league and has been as long as he has been around. Point guard Tony Parker is a great player, but is not someone you’d mention when naming the league’s best players. The rest are role players, including Manu Ginobili at this stage of his career. They got huge contributions from Kawhi Leonard and Patti Mills, both guys who are good players but would hardly have instilled fear in anyone coming into the playoffs.

Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich is about as good as it gets when it comes to basketball coaches. He is famously gruff and humorless, yet he gets the best out of his team year in and year out. Their ball movement and shot selection are incredible, and so much of that is coaching. When you watch this team play, you see basketball as it is supposed to be played. The final three games of this series were won by the Spurs by an average of 19 points, and yet Duncan and Parker averaged only 13 and 16 points per game, respectively. The team shot well, rebounded well, and played good defense.

All the talk this offseason will be about LeBron James and whether or not he will stay in Miami. He can opt out of his contract and become a free agent, which would be the biggest news of all. He could also opt out and sign a new deal with Miami for less money, convincing Wade and Bosh to do the same, which would allow the team to go sign another superstar like Carmelo Anthony. Fans will watch very closely, scrutinizing James’ every move, as always. Meanwhile, San Antonio will gear up for another run at the title with little fanfare. Just the way they like it.

Good sports, continued:

2) Young Oakland A’s outfield Yoenis Cespedes unleashed a throw for the ages on Tuesday night, nailing Howie Kendrick of the Los Angeles Angels at home plate with a perfect throw that traveled over 300 feet in the air into the waiting glove of catcher Derek Norris.

3) Check out this goal by Robin Van Persie of the Netherlands in his country’s World Cup win over Spain on Friday. He was running full speed and launched himself forward to catch up to a lob kick which he headed over the keeper for the tying goal before the half.

4) German golfer Martin Kaymer absolutely dominated the U.S. Open at Pinehurst this weekend, winning by eight shots over his closest competitors. He led the whole way, too, opening with back-to-back 65s in the first two rounds. He struggled on Saturday, shooting a 72, but came back with a closing round 69 to take the title.

5) Pittsburgh Pirates rookie Gregory Polanco is having quite a start to his Major League career. Called up early last week, he has been simply amazing since then, with Friday’s game against Miami being particularly jaw-dropping. Polanco had five hits, including a two-run homerun in the 13th inning that gave Pittsburgh the win.

6) Auto racing great Michael Schumacher has finally left the hospital after many months of recovery from his terrible skiing accident back in December.

7) A month ago, some NASCAR teams were wondering what was wrong with Jimmie Johnson and his team, who hadn’t yet won in 2014. With his win Sunday at Michigan, Johnson has now won three of the last four races and is on top of the standings.

8) Zach Johnson dropped in a hole-in-one at the U.S. Open on Sunday. It happened on the ninth hole, a par three, and was a big highlight in an otherwise disappointing tournament for Johnson.

Bad sports:

1) Atlanta Falcons linebacker Sean Weatherspoon will miss the entire 2014 season after rupturing his achilles tendon during a run with the team’s medical staff last week.

2) Dale Earnhardt Jr. left North Carolina on his team plane on Friday morning. What was he missing? Ryan Newman, who was supposed to fly to Michigan with him. Oops.

3) Long-time Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Chuck Noll, who coached the team to four Super Bowl wins back in the 1970s, died on Friday at the age of 82.

Bad sports, good sports appears early each week

Alan Spoll is a software quality assurance director from the suburbs of Philadelphia where he lives with his wonderful wife and children. He has spent his entire life as a passionate fan of the Eagles, Phillies, Sixers, Flyers, and Penn State. Recent Phillies success aside, you will understand his natural negativity. Follow me on Twitter - @DocAlan02
Print This Post Print This Post

2 Responses to “Bad sports, good sports: San Antonio Spurs win it all and do it the right way”

  1. Alan, really, REALLY good post this week … thanks for sharing!

    I think you’re spot-on in your analysis of the Spurs. I wanted so-very-much for them to go all the way this year, especially after last year’s heart-break … but I had no idea they’d do it like this. That third period in the final game? DANG!!! But I’m also wondering if some of the Spurs (those already looking back on a long and wonderful career) will be coming back next season.

    Thanks for including that header by Van Persie. That game was ESPECIALLY encouraging for us Man United fans … Van Persie plays for the Red Devils, AND the Netherlands’ coach will be their manager this coming Premier League season.

    RIP, Chuck Noll. He was one of the reasons I’d travel cross-state to Pittsburgh in the 70s (rather than just drive a couple hours down the northeast extension of the turnpike to Philadelphia) for my football fixes.

  2. Thanks Jeff! I always appreciate your comments.

Discussion Area - Leave a Comment