The San Antonio Spurs will not be eliminated in the First Round of the NBA Playoffs two seasons in a row. Their recently completed round one sweep of the Utah Jazz will assure Coach Poppovich and the crew that much at least. From here, they'll move on to play the winner of the Los Angeles Clippers / Memphis Grizzlies series in the Second Round, just as soon as that series is finalized. If the Spurs do get that rematch with those same Grizzlies who knocked them out last year, Spurs Nation can rest assured in knowing that this team from Memphis is similar in name only too.
Zach Randolph is currently about sixty-five percent in my estimation, as opposed to playing like a top-3 player in the entire NBA this time last season, but I'm not a doctor. After the Clippers' OT win last night in LA, Randolph shouldn't matter much to the Spurs at this point anyways. The Clippers are up 3-1 over Memphis right now, and will advance in all likelihood to play the San Antonio Spurs in Round Two - instead of the Grizz. The same Spurs who just beat Al Jefferson and his squad up so badly that Big Al offered the following response just prior to being eliminated (HatTip: Project Spurs.com):
Right now, they (the Spurs) just playing well, man. I ain't never seen nothing like this," Jefferson said.
He added: "I'm happy to be in the playoffs. I'm happy to go through what I'm going through right now, because that's what it's all about. I just think we're playing against a team that is at its peak, and I don't see nobody beating 'em. … It's a great team. I just take my hat off to 'em. Mad respect."
Maybe not the best thing to say while a series is going on, but I don't care about that at this point. I just think he's wrong. I personally think Jefferson was just going a little over the top in extending that friendly hand of sportsmanship to a team who was pummelling his guys into submission, as opposed to really believing that. But say he really does; if so, Jefferson's saying that he can't see the Los Angeles Lakers, Oklahoma City Thunder, and/or Miami Heat beating the San Antonio Spurs at some point this postseason, and all three of those teams can.
The Spurs will only have to face two of those three teams at most however, assuming the Miami Heat advance to the NBA Finals. While the Spurs are playing the Clippers, in all likelihood, the Lakers will be at the bottom half of the Western Conference trying to advance past the Thunder out of that semi-final. Whoever ends up playing the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference (OKC or LAL) can definitely beat them. The Heat can too. Not to say it's impossible for the Spurs to still beat either team too, however, because with Duncan, Parker, Manu, and the rest of the Spurs playing how they are I got mad respect for them too.
I just don't think it's as certain as Al Jefferson thinks, that now his team has been eliminated in a didn't deserve to really be in the playoffs in the first place fashion, the Spurs will beat everybody else from here on out. We'll see what happens though.
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