The San Antonio Spurs swept the upstart Cleveland Cavaliers in impressive fashion to win their fourth NBA title in the last nine years, becoming only the fourth NBA franchise (Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers, Chicago Bulls) to win four championships. The Spurs, an experienced bunch primarily lauded for their incredible defensive prowess, were led by their steadily improving guard, Tony Parker, who was named MVP of the series. In their previous title runs, All-Star center Tim Duncan, who struggled at times during the series, was awarded the MVP trophy.
Before the season began, most experts predicted the Dallas Mavericks, led by Coach of the Year Avery Johnson (who was a former Mavs/Spurs player & assistant of Spurs' coach Greg Popovich) would win their first NBA title, as they closed the season with a franchise record 66 wins. Halfway through the season, it looked as though Dallas had a chance at joining the '96 Chicago Bulls as the second team in NBA history to win 70 games. When Dallas lost in the first round to the spirited Golden State Warriors, the entire playoff series was now ready for the taking.
After winning the first two games at home by more than 20 points each time, many people assumed the young Cavs, in the title game for the first time in their history, would succumb to the magnitude of the moment & simply fold. Cleveland's gifted, young superstar, LeBron James, was determined to prove his team belonged on the world stage, despite their glaring inexperience. In fact, the only player on their team who was in an NBA final was Eric Snow, a veteran guard who came off the bench for defensive measures & leadership skills. Snow was an important starter on the 2000 Philadelphia 76ers squad who lost to the Lakers in their first of three consecutive rings.
Game three was tight from the start. Cleveland led early, yet were unable to sustain the lead as the Spurs mounted a charge in the final few minutes of the second quarter. No matter how energetic the crowd became, San Antonio's deep bench sabotaged the Cavs' supreme efforts at winning game three. Cavalier rookie guard Daniel Gipson came off the bench to score 31 points - including a team record seven field goals from three-point land - however, it was not enough as they lost by three points, largely due to poor free throw shooting. The Cavs' young coach, Mike Brown, who was a former assistant to Spurs coach Greg Popovich, spoke highly of his team in the press conference.
No NBA team has ever come from behind to win a series after losing the first three games. As such, it was a matter of time before the Spurs collected yet another ring. Game four was a highly contested battle. Clevaland's pride was on the line & no team wants to get swept in the championship finals. I was impressed with the poise of the Cavaliers in the final quarter as they rallied from a double digit lead midway through the quarter to tie the game in the final minutes. The Spurs, led by their fiercely unstoppable all-pro guard Parker, held on to become the deserving world champs.
- mark j. tuggle
- harlem, usa
- same-gender-loving contemporary descendant of enslaved africans. community activist, feminist, health educator, independent filmmaker, mentor, playwright, poet & spiritual being. featured at, in & on africana.com, afrikan poetry theatre, angel herald, bejata dot com, bet tonight with tavis smiley, blacklight online, black noir, brooklyn moon cafe, gmhc's barbershop, klmo-fm, lgbt community services center, longmoor productions, nuyorican poets cafe, our corner, poz, pulse, rolling out new york, rush arts gallery, saint veronica's church, schomburg center for research in black culture, sexplorations, the citizen, the new york times, the soundz bar, the trenton times, the village voice, upn news, uzuri, venus, vibe, wbai-fm, wnyc-fm & wqht-fm. volunteered with adodi, bailey house, inc., black men's xchange-new york, colorofchange.org, drug policy alliance, east harlem tutorial program, imagenation film & music festival, presente.org, save darfur coalition, the enough project, the osborne association, the sledge group & your black world. worked on films with maurice jamal & heather murphy. writing student of phil bertelsen & ed bullins. firstname.lastname@example.org.