Antonio McDyess hit open jumpers, scoring 10 points while holding Dirk Nowitzki (17 points) to just 10 shots. Richard Jefferson took turns defending Nowitzki, Butler and Kidd while attacking the rim aggressively. DeJuan Blair added rebounding and energy. And George Hill’s newfound jump shot and poise carried the team to an improbable victory.
After a slow start and rough nights from their All-Stars, each of the San Antonio Spurs offseason acquisitions made a profound mark in a pivotal 29-11 third quarter to pull the Spurs out of a double digit hole.
As ESPN TrueHoop’s San Antonio Spurs blog 48 minutes of Hell described it, the Spurs pulled off a pivotal victory last night through the performance of some unlikely heroes.
Much like many, I have never been a fan of the San Antonio Spurs. They’re a classy group of guys, but their mundane, methodical style was never fitting to my appetite for non-Rocket viewing.
But there’s something different this time around that has had me actively cheering for our interstate rivals. I suppose it is that certain electricity that comes from the underdog status. In our minds, the grandeur of what we see becomes magnified due to our lack of prior expectation. Or something like that.
This Spurs team just has a 1995 Houston Rockets feel that makes me rethink my desire for a LA-Cleveland Finals matchup. With four titles, they carry far more repute, but at least in this Houston Rockets fan’s mind, the parallels are striking. After all, we did boast two of the 50 greatest players of all-time in our lineup.
Tony Parker off the bench is Sam Cassell, weaving through traffic, wreaking havoc on the Mavs. Or is it George Hill who is Sam, truly becoming a ‘star’ in his second year? Richard Jefferson is Robert Horry, comatose through the regular season, but coming alive now that it counts.
But to me, it’s the Ginobili-Drexler parallel that most often comes to mind. Like Clyde, Manu was considered close to finished, still effective, but burdened by injuries. But Ginobili came alive in the second half, guiding the Spurs to the playoffs, as did Drexler in ’95 when Hakeem went down. So far, Manu has been the difference in this series against Dallas, just as Clyde proved almost unguardable for Bryon Russell and Jeff Hornacek, carrying the Houston Rockets through the 4th quarter of Game 5 in their series against the Utah Jazz.
But overall, it’s the parallel of two championship teams left for dead after poor regular seasons, finding a fountain of youth and bamboozling heavily favored opponents on the strength of the stuff which once made them great.