Monday , Jun , 06 , 2005 C.Y. Ellis

NBA Playoff Notebook: San Antonio will be ready

(Sports Network) – When Game 1 of the 2005 NBA Finals tips off, the Western
Conference champion San Antonio Spurs will have not played a game since June
1st when they eliminated the Phoenix Suns in Game 5 of the conference finals.

The Spurs are 12-4 in this year’s postseason. They defeated Denver in five
games in the first round, Seattle in six contests in the semis and the Suns in
five. San Antonio, which is 6-2 both at home and on the road playoffs, owns
the home-court advantage in the championship round.

All-Stars Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili have stepped up big time for San
Antonio in the playoffs. Duncan leads the club in scoring (24.9 ppg) and
rebounding (11.7 rpg) in the postseason, while the energetic Ginobili has
averaged 21.8 points, 5.8 rebounds and 4.3 assists. When the Spurs have needed
a basket or a big defensive stop, Duncan and Ginobili have been up to the
challenge.

Starting point guard Tony Parker has also been stellar for the Spurs. The 23-
year-old Parker is averaging 18.7 points and a team-best 4.8 assists in San
Antonio’s 16 playoff contests. Parker always comes to play in the postseason,
and this year has been no different.

Veterans Brent Barry, Bruce Bowen, Robert Horry and Nazr Mohammed have also
played a big role in San Antonio’s success in the postseason. The 33-year-old
Barry, who has started eight of the Spurs playoff games, has knocked down
timely threes, while Bowen, who turns 34 on June 14th, has continued to play
tough defense on the other team’s best scorer.

The 34-year-old Horry, who has won five NBA championships and has played in
191 playoff games over his career, has once again saved his best play for the
playoffs. Horry, who averaged 6.0 points and 3.6 boards during the regular
season, has registered 8.8 points and 5.7 rebounds in the postseason. He has
made an impressive 42.6 percent of his shots from beyond the arc and
continues to hit the clutch shot at critical times of the game.

Mohammed, who was acquired from New York at the trade deadline, has been solid
in the middle for San Antonio. The 27-year-old center has posted 8.1 points
and 7.1 boards in the playoffs. The seven-year veteran has provided the Spurs
with decent play in the post, which has helped Duncan on offense around the
basket.

A veteran team like the Spurs knows how to handle the long layoff in between
rounds. They have one of the best coaches in the game in Gregg Popovich, who
was the general of both championship clubs, and a calm leader like Duncan, who
leads by example.

With Duncan, Ginobili and Parker leading the way on the court, San Antonio is
in a great position to win its third NBA title and its second in three years.
The Spurs, who beat the New York Knicks in five games in the 1999 NBA Finals,
defeated the New Jersey Nets, 4-2, in 2003’s championship round.

The Spurs will be rested and ready to play when the 2005 NBA Finals begin.

SAN