by Mike Seely
Isn't it amazing what happens when the San Antonio Spurs decide to run their offense through Tim Duncan and move the ball? Actually, it's not; it's utterly fucking predictable. Unless they're facing the ghosts of Bill Russell's Celtics, the Spurs are going to win. And win they did Friday night in Oakland by a score of 102-92, taking a 2-1 series lead over the pesky Golden State Warriors.
Let's not forget about Tony Parker; he had 25 points in the first half alone, on 10-13 shooting. And Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard continued to stifle Steph Curry on D. But if this game did anything, it proved that Duncan was indeed under the weather during the Spurs' home split. Friday, he challenged virtually every interior Warrior shot, making the painted area the no-man's-land that we're accustomed to it being when Tim Duncan is patrolling the lane. His energy was the difference in the game.
But there are some serious red flags for the Spurs should they squeak by the Warriors, the biggest of which is Manu Ginobili (1-8 from three-point range Friday). His Game 1 overtime heroics aside, he has been hideous this series--really, all year. The Spurs seemed to think they could cryogenically freeze Ginobili during the regular season, certain that he would shake off the cobwebs and perform at an all-world level during the playoffs. That hasn't happened, and it's looking less and less likely that it will.
Also, the Red Rocket is officially worthless, as is Hubie Brown.
But quibbles aside, this series is a joy to watch when pitted against its Eastern Conference predecessor. Is there ever a silent moment on the court when Miami and Chicago lock horns? Is this the Rucker? Granted, the depleted Bulls are going to have to rough up the Heat should they stand a chance of pulling off a monumental upset, but when a basketball game is more reminiscent of a WWE cage match than, well, a basketball game, that's beyond tacky. With Parker and Curry, it's like a mime's ballet. Peach-basket purists' peckers are perpetually protruding.