Saturday, May 20, 2006

...And That's Why These Guys Are Champions


The San Antonio Spurs and Detroit Pistons have a lot in common.

They are the last two NBA Champions.

They are the two defending conference champions....meeting in the Finals last year with the Spurs winning in seven games.

Both are the top seeds in their conferences this year.

Both have lost three consecutive games in the conference semifinal series to put their backs right against the wall. 

And both had to play Game 6....on the avoid elimination.

And both won.

Both teams won very close games by making big plays down the stretch.  Big, smart plays.  Detroit stayed alive by getting a huge "and one" shot by Rasheed Wallace; a forced shot as the shot clock expired from Chauncey Billups; key offensive rebounds in their final possession; and a good, if unplanned, foul on LeBron James with under 2 seconds remaining and only a 3 point lead.  All of that completed a huge win which forces a Game 7 on Monday night in Auburn Hills.

Down in Texas, San Antonio used clutch free throw shooting and good tough defense to preserve a win in Dallas.  The undertone of the game was the fact that the Mavericks were without guard Jason Terry, as he was suspended for this game for punching Michael Finley in the yarbles.  He'll be back for Game 7...Monday night in San Antonio.

The Cavaliers and Mavericks had golden opportunities to end their series tonight.  Both failed.  So now it is they who must go on the road to win games or else they will be eliminated.  And just 24 hours ago....they were on the verge of ending the seasons of the favorites to meet back up in the NBA Finals.

Never underestimate the heart of a champion.


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