Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Tim Duncan and the Spurs Live to Fight Another Day

After a ridiculous three day layoff, the San Antonio Spurs did what only the Los Angeles Lakers and the Detroit Pistons were able to do in the conference semifinals of the NBA playoffs: win a game on the road. Their reward: the Lakers in the Western Conference finals.

Tim Duncan scored 16 points on only 5-of-17 shooting, but he was 6-of-6 from the free throw line and pulled down 14 rebounds. Manu Ginobili scored 26 points and had five assists. For the Hornets, Chris Paul scored 18 points, dished out 14 assists and had 8 rebounds in a losing effort.

Despite the home teams' dominance in this round of the playoffs, conventional wisdom was that the experience of the playoff-tested Spurs would eventually come to bear in Game 7, which was actually a close game in the final minutes, unlike the other six games of the series, which were all essentially blowouts.

Tony Parker revealed after the game that the Spurs had their bags packed and would be going straight to Los Angeles to prepare for the first game of their series with the Lakers, which tips off Wednesday night on TNT. I'm picking the Lakers in six. On TNT's postgame show, Charles Barkley said that the current Lakers team is better than any of the Shaq-Kobe championship teams from earlier this decade. So, we know which team Chuck is betting on! (Ed. note: Or, you know, not betting on; see post later today.)

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