Fact: There have only been three Game 7s in the NBA Finals since 1979.
Fact: Not since the '98 Bulls has the eventual champion been in danger of blowing the series during an NBA Finals.
Fact: There's a 90 percent chance that we're headed for another lopsided Finals.
With all due respect to the world champs, the Pistons are a seven-man team that can't even slap together three good games in a row. You really think that's cutting it against a team with a ceiling as high as the Spurs? I keep reading how this series is going to be boring, how we could have some 50-48 games, how America will be falling asleep by Game 2. Has anyone actually watched the Spurs? What more could you want from a basketball team? They banged bodies with a physical Nuggets team in Round 1, handled Seattle's smallball gimmick in Round 2, then played run-and-gun with the Suns in Round 3. Can you remember another basketball team adapting to three different styles in three rounds like that? San Antonio is more malleable than Russell Crowe.
That's why the Pistons are in trouble. They have one distinctive style slow everything down, limit possessions, keep doing the little things, take good shots in crunch time, don't beat themselves and their uncanny ability to make two or three game-changing plays in the final minutes has been positively Belichick-esque. Well, guess what? The Spurs can play the exact same way, only they have the two best players in the series (Duncan and Ginobili), a better bench and homecourt advantage and if that's not enough, they've been resting for a week while the Pistons were enduring a grueling seven-game series against a team that probably would have beaten them if Dwyane Wade wasn't injured.
This isn't a pick against the Pistons I love what they have done during the past two seasons. It's just that the Spurs are that good. In fact, I think they have a chance to become the best title team in eight years (since the '97 Bulls). So I'm going with the Spurs in five.
Some other thoughts
• Interesting quote from Suns coach Mike D'Antoni this week: "[Tim Duncan] is the ultimate winner, and that's why they're so good I hate saying it, but he's the best player in the game."
Translation: Duncan is so good, I just threw my 2005 MVP under the bus.
And since Duncan is in his absolute prime right now (eighth season, 29 years old), the whole "Is he the greatest power forward of all-time?" debate has been one of the running subplots of the playoffs. On "Pardon the Interruption" this week, both Kornheiser and Wilbon agreed that he was headed that way but hadn't earned the title yet. Which I find patently absurd, of course. Why couldn't you make the claim? What other power forward was the best guy on a team that won three titles in his first eight seasons? Who was a more complete player? And most important, what would you change about him?
Maybe he isn't as unstoppable in the low-post as Hakeem; maybe he isn't the defender that McHale was; maybe he isn't as good a passer as Walton; maybe he doesn't rebound like Moses; maybe he isn't as explosive as Barkley was; maybe he doesn't put up big numbers quite as consistently as the Mailman did. But he's in the general ballpark with each of those guys in their best categories, isn't he? Has any big man ever brought more to the table?