NBA Playoffs Preview
The Sports Guy's most interesting storylines of the postseason
2. Tim Duncan and Gregg Popovich
As for Duncan and Popovich, they have a chance to win titles 13 seasons apart — something that's never even come close to happening in the NBA. Riley and Magic-Kareem won titles six seasons apart. Auerbach and Russell won titles nine seasons apart. But 13??? Will we ever see that again? And also, a fifth Spurs title would propel them into the "Greatest Runs Ever" discussion along with Russell's Celtics (13 years, 11 titles), MJ's Bulls (eight years, six titles), Mikan's Minneapolis teams (six years, five titles) and Kahn's Timberwolves (just kidding). Throw in Duncan's legacy, Parker's Hall of Fame candidacy, Ginobili's Hall of Fame candidacy and the thought of Stephen Jackson, Matt Bonner, Boris Diaw and Boris Diaw's boobs hugging at midcourt in the single strangest basketball moment of all time and, other than that, there's nothing at stake here.
And by the way, the Spurs should win the title — they have the deepest team, multiple crunch-time scorers, killer outside shooting, some much-needed swagger (thanks to Captain Jack's emotional return), the best coach and the best identity (at this point, they know EXACTLY what they are). Maybe if Ginobili weren't playing hurt and they hadn't run into the Z-Bo Chainsaw, it would have been them instead of Dallas last year. Regardless, they have one really good crack at history here. Will they do it? I felt so unsure of my pick that I didn't even have the heart to stick it in the column — I relegated it to the footnotes.
So what about a Finals pick? I'm instituting a new rule this year … "Once you make a prediction for a season, you can't change it during the season." Back in December, I picked Miami over Memphis in the Finals so I'm stuck with it. That means …
ROUND ONE: Bulls over Sixers in four … Heat over Knicks in seven … Pacers over Magic in six … Celtics over Hawks in six … Spurs over Jazz in six … OKC over Dallas in five … Lakers over Denver in six … Grizzlies over Clippers in five.
ROUND TWO: Bulls over Celtics in seven … Heat over Pacers in six … Grizzlies over Spurs in seven … OKC over Lakers in seven.
ROUND THREE: Heat over Bulls in seven … Grizzlies over OKC in six.
FINALS: Heat over Grizzlies in six.