In Game 1, Pop’s system beat Curry ball. In Game 2, San Antonio got ambushed by Klay Thompson, but Game 3 was a reminder that you still need genuine superstars to win titles in the NBA. Stephen Curry is a bonafide star and Klay Thompson has on his training Huggies, but the Spurs have a pair of their own. You probably just relegated them into the past tense, but don’t fall for that possum playing dead trick. The NBA’s phantom duo of Tim Duncan and Tony Parker are still haunting the league’s next generation.
Watching Golden State’s young scorers catch fire has prognosticators and fans alike ready to bury the Spurs in their gray and black jerseys. However, if you try to put them in that box, Tony Parker and Tim Duncan will bust you up with their old man strength.
Before we anoint the Warriors, you don’t need a psychic medium to recognize that Parker and Duncan are still walking up and down NBA courts. Every now and then, even Uncle Manu comes through. On Friday night, they busted up the Warriors party, turned down the volume in Oracle Arena, and probably called their parents. But don’t get fooled into thinking that they’re not contenders anymore.
While the Splash Brothers have been shooting at an unsustainable pace in this series, they are still dipping into uncharted territory. This is their first moonwalk. The Spurs experienced stars understand the gravity of the situation and they have the talent to overcome it. Shooters have off-nights and in Game 3, they came crashing down from their all-time highs.
The Warriors experienced their mortality as a team that relies on superhero shooters. The Splash Brothers finally reached a drought, as Curry only hit 5 of his 17 attempts and Thompson was just 7 of 20 from the field and were singlehandedly outscored by Parker.
The Grizzlies have their own Duncan and Parker facsimiles, but San Antonio has the authentic original. Parker’s still averaging 24 points and six assists a game in the playoffs. Parker and Duncan seem like they’ve been advancing this deep into the playoffs since the last time astronauts set foot on the moon. It’s been five years since the Spurs last snatched up a fresh Larry O’Brien Trophy and Parker was named Finals MVP. Parker may have been handed the reins in one of the most peaceful regime changes in modern league history, but Duncan is still a machine on the floor.
The new Duncan model isn’t as young and spry as the previous edition, but he’s still the model of consistency. In case you didn’t notice, he’s averaging 19 points and 9 rebounds per game during the 2013 playoffs.
If San Antonio makes it out of the West, Miami’s Chris Bosh may not want to see Duncan in a potential Finals rematch. Bosh is nearly a decade younger and averaging 12 and 8.
Parker’s shooting prowess won’t be confused with Steve Nash’s, but he can burrow beneath a defense and pop up into the lane as well as any point guard in the league. Duncan and Parker are going to keep getting theirs and as long as they do, the phantom Spurs will remain viable title contenders.