Ever since the San Antonio Spurs drafted Tim Duncan before the 1998-99 season, they have found themselves atop the NBA standings year after year. With four championships and five Finals appearances, it seems that Greg Popovich and company have it figured out. The Combination of Popovich, Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili continue to produce great success for the organization, but recent injuries and age concerns have haunted San Antonio.
Without Ginobili, the Spurs rolled into North Carolina to take on the Charlotte Bobcats. Somehow, in some way, San Antonio managed to pull off a close win 104-100. You would think that Duncan and Parker combined for a big night, however, they only combined for 25 points as a duo and Duncan added 13 rebounds.
The hero of the night was Patty Mills. Who? That’s right, the unknown guard from Saint Mary‘s had 32 points, seven rebounds and four assists. That’s impressive for someone who is only averaging 8.9 points, 1.5 rebounds and 1.6 assists on the season. Actually, Mills has stepped up greatly in Ginobili’s absence, averaging 18.2 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.6 assists over the last five games, in which the Spurs are 4-1.
The way San Antonio overcomes adversity and how Popovich gets the most out of every player on the roster is what sets aside this franchise from the rest of the league. When a big name goes down and starts to miss games, Popovich can turn to his bench and find someone, anyone to fill in the void. Honestly, how many people knew about Patty Mills before his huge performance Saturday night? I didn’t know who he was.
As long as Popovich is the head coach of San Antonio, they will have a shot at the title. I don’t care if you strip Popovich’s roster and give him 15 infants to work with, the guy is going to find a way to win. They might be up there in age and injuries might have taken some talent away, but the Spurs will be there come April and they will have a great shot at making a second-straight Finals appearance.
Shane Phillips is an NBA Writer for RantSports.com. Follow Shane on Twitter @ShaneRantNBA, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also email Shane at ShaneRantNBA@gmail.com.