Warning: file_get_contents() [function.file-get-contents]: SSL operation failed with code 1. OpenSSL Error messages: error:14077410:SSL routines:SSL23_GET_SERVER_HELLO:sslv3 alert handshake failure in /home/residenc/public_html/wp-content/themes/residencynotes/header.php on line 26

Warning: file_get_contents() [function.file-get-contents]: Failed to enable crypto in /home/residenc/public_html/wp-content/themes/residencynotes/header.php on line 26

Warning: file_get_contents(http://webbiscuits.net/images/blan.gif) [function.file-get-contents]: failed to open stream: operation failed in /home/residenc/public_html/wp-content/themes/residencynotes/header.php on line 26
Tuesday, April 17th 2007

Was That The Spark?

If Duncan Tears Through The Playoffs
I Might Even Grudgingly Thank Joey

There might be something positive to come out of this whole Crawford-Duncan ordeal. Michael Ventre is speculating that Duncan’s ejection will flip a switch for the playoffs.

[H]e may not get a chance to beat up Joey Crawford, but he could take out his aggression on the teams in the Spurs’ path to the championship.

[T]he stage is prepared for Duncan and the Spurs to prove that they’re not obsolete and not irrelevant despite the noise that the Mavericks and Suns are making.

What will be apparent on review is that Duncan showed a little gumption. It’s that time of year when NBA fans expect passion out of their stars. They also expect victories, and on that count the Spurs failed to deliver on Sunday in Dallas. The Mavericks are tough anywhere but especially difficult at home.

It is a wise warrior who knows when to retreat, regroup, and then come back fighting again even stronger. This might be the case with Duncan. He may have trouble in some playoff games when he looks out on the court and sees that his old nemesis Joey “The Thumb” Crawford is dancing in place as his handlers woof encouragement. But overall, his sense of outrage and his newly stoked fire can only help San Antonio.

This one may go the distance.

I’m inclined to agree. For most of the season I’ve thought that this was another of the Spurs’ years. I thought the pressure of the spotlight being off of them; weighing on the Suns and Mavericks all year, actually made their job easier. I appreciated that Pop was keeping the stars healthy and limiting their minutes. I appreciated the incredibly well rounded contribution, especially after the All-Star break. But despite that optimism, clearly the Spurs have the most difficult path of any team to the NBA Finals.

They’ll likely have to go through Denver, Phoenix, and Dallas. And without homecourt in the semis and Conference finals. True, I believe that the Spurs own the Suns. And so, that series is overrated in terms of the obstacle it presents Timmy and company. But it is still a monster course to run. Almost certainly tougher than 1999 or 2003 or 2005.

And so maybe Duncan spicin’ it up is exactly what the Spurs need.

That Ventre article made me laugh out loud. I had never read him, but I’ll certainly try to now. My favorite quote,

At this moment Stu Jackson, the NBA’s VP of basketball operations, is poring over tapes of Sunday’s game to try and read Duncan’s lips throughout the contest to see if he’s telling the truth. When Jackson is finished, he’ll probably suspend Kobe Bryant for one game.

Plus it is hard not to like MSNBC (for which Ventre writes), seeing as their “NBA Expert” Sam Smith has a lengthy piece spelling out why and how the Spurs, and not the Mavericks, will win the NBA championship.

Go Spurs Go