Spurs set NBA Finals Records after dismantling the Heat

San Antonio outscores Miami by 70 in the Finals

The San Antonio Spurs Dynasty is a fact of life in the NBA and the rest of the league may as well get used to it.  Not only did the Spurs disassemble the Heat in five games, they set a number of NBA records in doing it.

  • 70 points – Biggest point differential in NBA Finals History
  • Tim Duncan’s 158 Playoff Double doubles the best in NBA Playoff History
  • Duncan, Parker, Ginobili – The most successful trio in NBA history
  • 4 championship titles by Duncan, Parker, Ginobili matches Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Michael Cooper and Kurt Rambis’ four in the 1980s
  • At age 22, Kwahi Leonard is the youngest Finals MVP since Tim Duncan (who was also 22) won his in 1999

There are still other records to list but one thing that cannot be shown in the record books was the sense of team on this squad.  They played as one unit and avenged their game seven loss in the 2013 NBA Finals to this same Heat team.

Be prepared for next season and get your 2014-15 Tickets now!



Air Alamo: Is Duncan still effective?

Air Alamo is in the middle of an interesting series analyzing the Spurs from various statistical angles via data from , one of the various sites catering to those who enjoy looking at basketball on a deeper level beyond the so-called “box-score stats.”

The latest entry concerns the venerable Tim Duncan, sure-fire Hall of Famer and the cornerstone of the Spurs four championship teams. A simple question is posed: (You can find links to the other entries at the bottom of the post.) It’s a legitimate query at this point of his career, especially when you look at numbers that illustrate not just what he does, but how he does it.

My favorite Duncan stat of all, albeit one with less depth than you’ll find at sites like MSS and , is the simple comparison between his per-36 minute averages as a rookie and last season, his 15th in the NBA.

1997-98: 19.4 ppg, 11.0 rpg, 2.5 apg, 0.6 spg, 2.3 bpg, 5.4 FTa.

2011-12: 19.7 ppg, 11.5 rpg, 2.9 apg, 0.8 spg, 1.9 bpg, 5.5 FTa.

Not even Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the NBA’s standard-bearer for longevity, can match those numbers. While the Captain’s scoring remained virtually identical from Year 1 to 15 (24.1 ppg per 36 to 23.6), his rebounding and free throw attempts dropped by roughly a third.

About the only areas Duncan has seen a significant declines are his shooting accuracy (.577 true shooting percentage to .531) and defensive court coverage, which has no real gauge but is easy to see with the naked eye. So it’s clear that even though the Big Fundamental is no longer the player he once was, he still brings a tremendous amount of value and utility to the court.

How Howard impacts the West

It just doesn’t seem possible that one team can continue to hit the jackpot as often as the Los Angeles Lakers. From Wilt Chamberlain to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to Shaquille O’Neal to Pau Gasol, there might not be a franchise in North American pro sports that has had more success prying prime assets from their competitors.

Add Hall of Fame-bound center Dwight Howard to the list following the recent completion of the four-team deal that delivered him from Orlando to Hollywood for a pu-pu platter of journeymen and mediocre draft picks. If most of L.A.’s other exchanges were made for pennies on the dollar, this was borderline theft. And now the Spurs and Oklahoma City, who battled for last year’s Western Conference title, will have to deal with the results.

It’s hardly a lock that the Lakers, who also pried the still-productive Steve Nash away from Phoenix, have vaulted past both. Look at their own spotty history when it comes to building teams around aging superstars.

The West/Baylor/Chamberlain triumvirate of the late 60s and early 70s never lived up to expectations. Indeed, it wasn’t until Baylor was forced to retire that the Lakers finally won their first title in 1972. Then there were the ill-fated additions of Gary Payton and Karl Malone in 2004, with the former never meshing with Phil Jackson’s triangle offense and the latter breaking down in the midst of a pounding from Detroit in the Finals.

With Kobe Bryant, Gasol and Nash all on the wrong side of 30, and a glaring lack of depth, it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if L.A.’s latest super team fell short as well. But, with such a top-heavy collection of talent, the Lakers should present a massive challenge to their fellow contenders.

San Antonio: Even more than the Lakers and Thunder, the Spurs’ biggest enemy, as always, is time. Retirement looms on the near horizon for Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili, at which point they’ll finally be forced to embark on the rebuilding job management has done so well to stave off in recent years. The additions of Nash and especially Howard should only accelerate that process, with both addressing major holes for the Lakers — namely, playmaking, outside shooting, consistent interior defense and athleticism.

Oklahoma City: If any team can feel good about how it matches up with the Lakers, it’s the Thunder. They boast one of the top interior defensive tandems in the league in Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins. And with Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden all still under the age of 25, the Thunder should only get better, presenting a stark contrast to L.A.’s potent but graying lineup. Westbrook is likely already salivating at the prospect of attacking Nash off the dribble, and Bryant is no longer capable of matching buckets with Durant.

So, while it’s anything but a given that the Lakers will be able to beat either team on its quest to reclaim the Western Conference crown, the chase has obviously gotten much, much more interesting.