In the modern era, the Spurs have never had to prepare for a season after a potentially franchise-defining loss. After watching the team choke away the last two games of the NBA Finals, I thought my interest in the NBA would never be the same. I had wholeheartedly attached myself to the Spurs as the last crusaders for all that was right in the NBA. Just watching highlights of last year’s series against the Heat and seeing that configuration of black, white, red, and yellow still brings back all the dark feelings. Whether you want to blame Tony Parker’s hamstring, Ray Allen’s uncalled traveling violation, Manu Ginobili’s extended out-of-body experience, or you're just a LeBron truther, we all have to move on.
Instead of pulling away from the NBA, I have chosen to enter this season with higher hopes than ever, with the ultimate rationalization: The Spurs will actually have an easier time getting back to the NBA Finals. I won’t invest in another season letting the media bully me into thinking that the Spurs are too old, or that the supplemental role players are eventually going to let the team down. Don’t listen to anyone who tells you that the Western Conference is up for grabs. These are the reasons the Spurs will cruise back to the 2014 NBA Finals, and probably even win.
The Oklahoma City Thunder started the fourth quarter of their series-clinching Game 4 against the Dallas Mavericks trailing by 13 points. With Russell Westbrook on the bench, the Thunder started the quarter with James Harden as the primary ball handler. When the team began running pick-and-roll plays for Harden, coach Scott Brooks found a mismatch that allowed the Thunder to get back in the game and eventually complete a sweep of the defending champions.
I know we're not supposed to bitch about the NBA lockout anymore, but one thing still gnaws at me: The shortened 66-game season and a three-week whirlwind of transactions caused the Las Vegas books to say, "Screw it, we're not posting over/under wins totals this year." How dare they! I repeat HOW DARE THEY! How could they forget that, right before every season, my buddy Joe House and I pick every NBA over/under on the BS Report? Now what? What about us?
We audibled by flying House to Los Angeles, dragging him into the BS Report studio and forcing him to play "Closest to the Pin" with me in a special two-part podcast. Fine, dragging and forcing weren't involved — he couldn't have been more delighted to join us, especially after we pumped three pounds of Chinese food into his body right before the taping. What's "Closest to the Pin?" We predicted the exact win totals of every NBA team. Did it take two hours spread over two parts? Of course it did! Is there video? Actually, yes!
Here's a holiday gift, from us to you: A podcast preview of Joe House and Grantland boss Bill Simmons discussing the Western Conference. Look for more B.S. Report podcasts with House later in the week. Enjoy!