Monday, May 21, 2012
The Spurs, the far better team
By Pedro Moura
Clippers guard Nick Young admitted it after Sunday's season-ending loss to the San Antonio Spurs: Before a week ago, he had never watched the Spurs play any elongated stretch of basketball.
"Nobody really watches the Spurs, man," Young said. "But sitting there on the court, getting a chance to really watch, I understand why Tim Duncan is one of the best power forwards to play this game and how good (Manu) Ginobili and (Tony) Parker really are.
"I got a chance to see it first-hand."
As did the rest of the Los Angeles Clippers. As a team, they all said pregame that the key to winning Sunday's Game 4 and extending the series at least one more game was to play with desperation. And they did that -- they really did. Chris Paul and Eric Bledsoe starred in the fourth quarter and nearly led them to the win.
Then why didn't they pull it off? According to center DeAndre Jordan, in the second round the Clippers ran into an immovable force in the San Antonio Spurs -- or at least a force they couldn't figure out how to move.
"We had a couple chances, but they were a better team," Jordan said after Sunday's 102-99 Game 4 loss, speaking about both the game and the series. "They know how to win.
"I felt like we played a great game today and we played hard. We just came up short again."
A lot of teams have come up short against the Spurs this season. Ten different teams, in fact, have gone against San Antonio over the last five-plus weeks and failed to win a single time. And that includes four efforts from the Clippers and Jazz and two each from the Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Lakers.
The Clippers might have comparable talent to the Spurs, but they have very, very far to go before they get to that sort of point with their opponents.
"You can learn a lot (from them)," forward Blake Griffin said of the Spurs after Sunday's season-ending loss. "That is kind of the model team, in terms of how to run an organization year in and year out and how to win games and championships."
As for Young, he said he always heard the Spurs were a boring team to watch and never really gave them a chance. Now he's learned differently and will adjust his basketball-watching plans accordingly.
"They're not boring," Young said. "I don't understand how people don't watch them ... They're unbelievable."