Against the wishes of most NBA fans, it has happened again — the San Antonio Spurs are in the NBA Finals. But, this time it is different. It may not be noticeable to the untrained eye because of their even keel demeanor, but the Spurs have revenge on their minds and their target is the Miami Heat.
Throughout the 2013-14 NBA season, the Spurs were the second-to-last thought on anybody’s radar. Despite having the best road record and the longest win streak in the league, the Spurs were just swept under the rug in the hopes that the “old” guys would just fade away. The age, the injuries, and the competition could have easily deterred the San Antonio from doing what many have never even been a part of.
But it was the painful ending to last season’s Finals that have given birth to the beginning of this year’s Finals.
The resiliency of San Antonio is a key factor that was exhibited in their close-out victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 6. Even though they had control for most of the game, their heart was tested in the second half. With Tony Parker going down with an ankle injury and the lead being swept away by the Thunder’s explosive offense, the Spurs had to draw from the well of emotion that they have stored up from the loss to the Heat last year.
The Spurs’ players were actually showing passion, fist-pumping and towel-throwing. Unlikely heroes arose out of the abyss like Boris Diaw and Corey Joseph. Clutch plays from Manu Ginobili and questionable calls by Gregg Popovich displayed their commitment to getting this done now.
Tim Duncan was not spared, and didn’t look like he wanted to be either. It was a collective example of heart that allowed them to pull through in overtime, in the hostile environment of the Chesapeake Bay arena. They did whatever it took to get back to a place they have been seeing in their nightmares for the past year. But this time, the opportunity for redemption will be the fuel to erase their nightmares with a dream come true.