The San Antonio Spurs have the best record in the NBA in the dominant Western Conference, and when they put away the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday night, it was clear they have the pieces to make a run to the championship. The key to the Spurs’ success in the upcoming playoffs will be the performance of lesser-known guys like Patty Mills.
In a game against the Mavericks where Tony Parker sat out and Manu Ginobili turned the ball over early on, it was clear the passing of the torch had begun. Tim Duncan had a good game, and the original “Big Three” can still play well, but the Spurs would be nowhere without guys like Kawhi Leonard, Patty Mills, Tiago Splitter, Marco Belinelli and Danny Green.
Against the Mavericks, it was Mills that stepped up in place of Parker and showed that he can actually take over games on the offensive end.
Mills was nearly automatic from 3-point range, and had the green light — or at least he thought. He helped spread the floor, and by the time the fourth quarter rolled around, the Spurs were able to find space all over the floor to score. If Mills can knock down shots and make plays in transition, the Spurs are really going to be dangerous in the playoffs.
That might sound like an obvious statement for the Spurs since they’re dangerous in the playoffs every year, but it wouldn’t be the first time that the Spurs had the best record and didn’t win the championship. Whether you blame that on age or matchups, the current Spurs lineup is made to go deep into the playoffs and possibly get to the Finals.
This matchup with the Mavericks could be a preview of the first round, assuming the Mavericks manage to make the playoffs. It would be a good series between two teams with great experience and well-oiled offenses. If Mills and the other key role players keep performing, the Spurs will go all the way.