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Monday, April 23rd 2007

Spurs Lose, Cry, Then Watch Mavs Lose

The Only Beautiful Sight On Sunday Night

The San Antonio Spurs, partly because of Joey Crawford, face the hottest team in the NBA in the first round of the NBA playoffs. It showed in Game 1.

The good thing Spurs fans? Well the Mavericks got beaten up by the #8 team in the West on the same night. I was on a plane, so I’ll have to take Marc Stein’s assessment of why this Denver victory wasn’t just a fluke,

The Spurs? Manu Ginobili was snuffed out by the Nuggets’ team coverage, Tim Duncan was neutralized by Nene on a joga bonito day for the NBA’s Brazilians and Carmelo Anthony hit the hosts with the most composed playoff performance we’ve ever seen from him. Factor in the grit of a typically fearless-on-the-road Allen Iverson and you can’t help but believe that winning the opener in San Antonio is more significant for Denver this time than it was in 2005.

Sure he thinks it feels different, and Carmelo said the same. But everyone in SA knew this would be a tough series. The Spurs have the toughest path to the NBA Finals of any true contender. Denver is hot. But the fact remains we saw them take game one in 2005, before losing four straight to the Spurs. The fact remains the Spurs match up reasonably well with Denver. The fact remains it is still a fool’s bet that Nene can limit Tim Duncan like he did on Sunday for three more games.

Pop should’ve played some of Tony, Timmy, and Manu in the final game of the regular season. Which just happened to be against the Denver Nuggets. That blow out, even with the Spurs’ big three sitting out, not only gave Denver confidence, but because the Spurs didn’t play the game to win was a missed opportunity to get some practice against who we knew we would be facing in the first round.

Teams who win the first game of a seven game series, go on to win nearly 80% of those series. With that understood, I still don’t think the Golden State Warriors or the Denver Nuggets can pull off the upset. (At least I hope the Nuggets can’t).

It goes without saying that Wednesday’s game is now a must win for the Spurs.

[True Hoop: MVP MIA]
[Steve Kerr: The Frayed Nerves of the Favorites]
[SA Express-News: Nuggets Strike First]
[Pounding The Rock: Calm…Down (Warning: Profanity)]
[Spurs Dynasty: Homecourt Advantage Vanishes]