• July 23, 2014

Hot Spurs proving they are a dynasty

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Posted: Sunday, June 3, 2012 12:00 pm | Updated: 7:57 am, Tue Sep 25, 2012.

One loss doesn't matter.

Not even two really makes much of a difference.

Tim Duncan has the San Antonio Spurs on the verge of all-time great dynasty status - if they were not there already.

No, they have not won six titles in eight years like Michael Jordan's Chicago Bulls.

They have not even won an NBA championship since 2007.

Here they are, though.

They are six wins away from joining Jordan, and Magic Johnson's and, yes, Kobe Bryant's Lakers as a true NBA dynasty.

Five titles in a span of 13 years will put them there. It doesn't matter if they never won a back-to-back championship.

In fact, it is more impressive that the Spurs haven't.

Instead, they win a title, fail to repeat and then get better the next season.

They won it all behind David Robinson and Duncan in 1999.

They were dispatched in the first round of the 2000 playoffs. But, they continued to add key pieces, bringing in Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker, two late picks that panned out better than anyone could have hoped, and won the title in 2003, 2005 and 2007.

Over the last 13 years, that has been how the Spurs have gotten it done. Sure, you could argue that they lucked out and won two NBA draft lotteries.

That would be disingenuous, though.

In 1999, they drafted Ginobili 58th overall. In 2001, they took Parker 28th.

What the Spurs' success has really come down to is good scouting.

Last season, San Antonio and Duncan were all but written off.

They seemed old and a step slow and they lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Memphis Grizzlies.

They couldn't shoot and Duncan simply did not have enough help inside the paint.

So, the Spurs' front office went out and fixed that.

They traded George Hill, who seemed to replicate Parker's talents, for the rights to Kawhi Leonard during last year's NBA draft.

Leonard brought a rebounding small forward, who could still shoot the 3-pointer - a stark contrast to Richard Jefferson, who later got shipped out for Stephen Jackson.

Jefferson was an ill fit from the time the Spurs signed him. He is a scoring forward and a defensive liability.

The Spurs already had

three scoring options. What they needed was a lockdown defender, who has a few good offensive moments.

What they needed was Jackson. So, they simply went out and got him.

But, they also needed 3-point shooting to clear the lane for Duncan. So, they simply pulled Danny Green off the scrap heap in Cleveland and signed undrafted Gary Neal in 2011.

Both hit more than 40 percent of their 3-point attempts this season.

Still, as the 2012 season waged on, the Spurs needed one more thing - a better passer. And when a terrible Charlotte team waived Boris Diaw, the Spurs jumped on him.

Now, with all the pieces complementing each other in perfect unison, San Antonio seems unstoppable.

They had won 20 straight games before a 20-point loss to Oklahoma City, which everyone thought was the best team in the league this season - especially after the Bulls' Derrick Rose went down with a torn ACL.

In what could be Duncan's swan song, it seems that even Kevin Durant can't do anything to deter the Spurs from their mission. Though, the former Texas standout made the series interesting Saturday night.

The three-time NBA scoring leader scored 18 of his 36 points during a 7-minute stretch in the fourth quarter that led the Thunder to a 109-103 win and tied the series at 2.

But, a simple setback isn't going to make a difference. Greatness sometimes simply cannot be stopped.

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