Regardless of who they were rooting for, everyone agreed — San Antonio deserved to win.
After witnessing the most lopsided NBA Finals in history, members of the media, casual fans and diehards alike have been singing the praises of the Spurs, who defeated the two-time defending champion Miami Heat in five games Sunday to earn the franchise’s fifth title.
Along the way, San Antonio set Finals records for margin of victory (14.0 ppg) and field goal percentage (52.8), earning the respect and admiration of countless viewers, including multiple area basketball coaches.
“I’m in love with the game, and I think if you are in love with the game, you have to root for the Spurs,” Lometa head coach Aaron Nuckles said. “It is the never-ending battle of good versus evil, and the good guys won this time.”
An admitted Chicago Bulls fan, Nuckles predicted the Heat would emerge from the Eastern Conference, but he was unsure about the West. Following the first round, however, when San Antonio survived a seven-game series against Dallas, he had a hunch there would be a Finals rematch.
By the time the Spurs eliminated Oklahoma City in the West Finals, Nuckles was certain the title was San Antonio’s to lose.
“I would have put money on the Spurs if anyone wanted to bet me,” he said.
“The Spurs had their hearts ripped out of them last year, and they were on a mission.”
Having won previous titles in 1999, 2003, ’05 and ‘07, San Antonio cemented itself as one of the most prolific franchises in league history with 17 consecutive postseason appearances, winning at least 50 games each year except in 1999’s lockout-shortened season.
Copperas Cove girls head basketball coach Eldridge McAdams was hoping to see Miami make history by winning a third consecutive title, which is a feat accomplished by only four franchises — the Minneapolis Lakers, Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers — in NBA history.
It did not take long before he changed his mind.
“After those first few games, I was in awe,” McAdams said.
“San Antonio is unbelievable to watch. That is what we as coaches want in our offense — the dribble drive, pass, kick, and be ready to shoot. Any coach can say to his players, ‘Hey, go watch San Antonio. Watch what they do.’”
Gatesville head coach and longtime Spurs fan Thomas Winkler agreed.
“That is exactly how I want my kids playing,” he said.
“Even before that, during the season, I was referencing the Spurs in practice, telling them to watch how the Spurs move the ball. I think that is how any coach would want his team to play — completely unselfish.”
Known for playing an active, solid style of defense while constantly searching for the the best possible scoring opportunity on offense, the Spurs utilized virtually every person on the roster, becoming the first team in history without having a player average 30 minutes during the regular season.
Nuckles was so impressed by the Spurs, he intends to steal some of their philosophies.
“We’re going to find a way to incorporate some of those things the Spurs are doing into next season,” he said. “Teenagers can learn something from the way they play. It is just love of the game and so smooth.
“They don’t know who is going to lead them on any night. It might be Tim Duncan. It might be Tony Parker. It might be Manu Ginobili. It is just whoever is open is going to shoot, and that is the beauty of it.”