Not the best title, I know. But the San Antonio Spurs pulled a 102-100 win out of their hats last night against the Atlanta Hawks after Jeff Teague tied the game with an improbable three.
The Spurs are just the well oiled machine that just keeps churning and churning until the well runs dry. Only one, minor detail though: the well never runs dry. They are the most methodical team in the league and have been dominant for a reason. Last night’s game winner against the Atlanta Hawks showed us exactly why.
The Spurs have literally been like a wine that gets better with age. Scotch, Chardonnay, whatever your flavor is the Spurs have it. They’ve been the mark of consistency, winning over 50 games in each season since the turn of the century.
The Hawks got their taste of that consistency last night, when Tim Duncan hit this shot on them.
The ball is inbounded. The downscreen is set. Tim Duncan takes a few steps. Boom–the game is over. That’s been the way that the cookie has crumbled over the last 17 seasons. Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs have been virtually untouchable when it comes to combining constant consistency to the fluid progress of the NBA’s faster pace. It’s been a beautiful thing to watch.
That shot has been a Spurs staple over the last decade. What’s more, Tim Duncan has seemingly been unmolested by Father Time. Along with that game winning shot, Duncan had 21 other points and 23 rebounds. This season Duncan is averaging 16.9 points per 36 minutes along with 10.4 rebounds and 3.4 assists per 36. Sure, those aren’t the mind blowing numbers that Duncan put up from last season, but are they supposed to be?
Duncan and the Spurs have been written off year after year after year by those among us–including myself–who claim to know the game. But if we knew the game as well as we say that we do, we would never count out Tim Duncan. We would always believe in Manu Ginobili. We would consistently acknowledge Tony Parker’s rise before playoff time comes. And we damn sure would give Gregg Popovich his props as one of the greatest coaches of all time.
But, instead, we never do. The Spurs aren’t sexy enough for us. We’re chasing after the new girl that just moved in four floors up from us instead of the girl next door. Instead of taking the two bed, two bath apartment with the works but is located on the second floor, we want the sky view apartment with one bedroom with two beds and a bath for sharing.
In other words, we’re not taking the time to appreciate what we have in our faces and we do the same thing every year. When I watch that shot over and over again, I see the ball flick out of Tim Duncan’s hands slowly and methodically. I see that same quirky release with the same eccentric and unconventional knee bend. But at the same time, I knew the ball was going in. The Atlanta Hawks knew that the ball was going in. The entire state of Texas knew that the ball was going in. That’s just Tim’s spot and that’s just Tim’s moment.
It’s been that way since he was drafted in 1997. The blessing of eternal youth has been bestowed upon this organization in the form of Tim Duncan. His blessing has been infectious, too. It has spread across the organization and given them the same consistency that he practices with every day.
Tim Duncan has made careers grow. Tim Duncan has shattered dreams. Tim Duncan has given hope. Tim Duncan has given pain. Most of all, Tim Duncan has given us a model of consistency. The Spurs have taken what Tim has given and they’ve ran with it. Rightfully so, too. Why not?