Spurs win. Spurs win. Spurs win. Sorry for the lack of enthusiastic punctuation, but after this snoozer of a championship series, it might be time for the league to change its name. Nyquil Basketball Association? Nighty-night Bron-bron Association? Look, I love Tim Duncan's game, and Tony Parker made the Cavaliers look like fight extras in a Bruce Li flick, but the Spurs dominated this series so thoroughly, I expected them to get a quick drink and get back on the court to see who had next.
So the next question is, with four titles in nine years, are the Spurs a dynasty? First answer, who cares? Second answer, yes, they have won multiple titles over a period of time with only two constants, Duncan and Gregg Popovich. Third, and correct, answer, no. They are good, and I know I just said they crushed the Cavs like zinfandel at harvest time, but the term dynasty implies a mythic quality. Certainly the Celtics of Russell and Bird had, as did the lakers of Magic and Kareem, Shaq and Kobe, and the Bulls of Jordan and Pipper. But the Spurs of Duncan and Popovich? Not so much.
Before the season, all I read about Duncan was that injuries would likely limit him again. All I read about Manu Ginobili was that he had lost a step. . And all I read about Parker was what he was wearing on the red carpet next to Eva Longoria. Nowhere did I see an article about how a Spurs title would amke them a dynasty. Once the season started, the Spurs were an afterthought behind the emergence of Dallas and Phoenix, the Iverson trade to Denver, the Kobe soap opera, and the fascinating specimen that is Gilbert Arenas. In the playoffs, the Spurs fell behind Golden State's upset of Dallas and Steve Nash's blood.
The point is, no one was talking about San Antonio until the Finals. Even today, the front sports page of my local paper (The Baltimore Sun) carried a picture of James being defended by Michael Finley and Fabricio Oberto, not MVP Parker, not Duncan and Popovich, and not Bruce Bowen, whose defense on James was crucial to the Spurs win. A dynasty has to seize the headlines and grab the public's attention in a way the Spurs just haven't.
Nor am I ready to accept Popovich's ascendance into the august company of coaches with four titles: Auerbach, Jackson, Riley, Popovich? Not so fast, Poppy. I'd put him tied with Riley, but a long, long way from the other two. (Yes, I know Riley won titles with two different teams, but he loses points for appointing himself head coach at Miami once he realized just how good Dwyane Wade is). One mroe title, preferably next year, and I'll cease and desist my arguments against both Popovich and San Antonio.
In a final schadenfreudean nonsequitur, it delights me to think of all the Celtics fans banging their heads against the bar every time Duncan hoists a championship trophy aloft.
If both the Orioles' decline and my son's team's improvement continue at the same rate, I think Baltimore might lose to a bunch of 10-year olds in the spring of 2009. And for all you Clemens/Yankees haters, here's little treat from Funny or Die. Link.
Lots of excitement about the U.S. Open this week, of course. Everyone seems very up in arms about Phil's wrist. I thought Phil got whacked Sunday night on the last episode of the Sopranos. But seriously, if you are looking for a golf article that is not about Tiger, Phil or Johnny Miller, check out Rick Maese's column on Jim Furyk in today's Sun. At first I hated Maese because he looks like he's about 15, but my annoyance has gradually been mitigated by his quality coverage of stories I don't see anywhere else. Worth looking for.