We probably shouldn’t have been surprised. The San Antonio Spurs, after struggling throughout the season, find themselves back in the second round after taking care of their old rivals, the Dallas Mavericks. And with that, I bring back the elated members of Project Spurs. Michael De Leon and Jeff Garcia probably thought they wouldn’t be back talking to me about the Spurs being in the second round. And I can’t imagine them being any happier. The Spurs draw the Phoenix Suns. The Suns have been eliminated by the Spurs four out of the last five times they were in the postseason.
Mike and Jeff’s answers are in italicized font. Have fun!
Well, be honest… did you expect the Spurs to be in the second round?
MIKE: Yes. In the Spurs-Mavs Q&A, I expected that the Spurs would win in seven games, so I expected that they’d be here, but I didn’t quite expect them to be coming into this series playing as well as they have.
JEFF: Hell no. I felt the Spurs did not have enough size to contend with Dallas. I do feel Dallas, especially Carlisle, lost the series. Did you see those dumbass player rotations and leaving Dirk in the game with 4 fouls? Fail! However, this is one of those times I am glad to be wrong.
Are you thoroughly convinced that had Manu Ginobili been healthy… the Spurs would’ve gotten to the Finals in 2008… and gotten past the first round in 2009?
MIKE: 2008 yes, but not in 2009. I don’t think the Spurs could have beat the Lakers in a seven-game series last year. As well as Manu is playing, he was that much younger and just as good two years ago and I thought they could’ve given the Lakers a run for their money in the WCF.
JEFF: No. If you remember in last season’s playoff series with Dallas, it was all Tony Parker. No one else really. With a healthy Manu maybe the Spurs extend it to a six game series.
George Hill has been very good thus far in the postseason. Do you think they should keep Hill in the starting line-up and Parker off the bench?
MIKE: Pop will stick with what works, and so far, Hill has worked. We’ve seen some tremendous growth even as early as summer league and he just keeps getting better and smarter. While I don’t know about including him on “the big four,” I’m glad the Spurs have very little dropoff, if any, between Parker and Hill.
JEFF: Hey, if it’s not broke, why fix it? Hill has been having a coming-out party and no one has noticed in the media. To say he has been the Spurs’ x-factor is an understatement. If he is on his game, chances are the Spurs will win the game.
Say hello to Phoenix yet again! Are you worried? Even just a smidge?
MIKE: They are a playoff team and no playoff team should be taken lightly. Amare destroys the Spurs, Grant Hill is playing very well and they are getting help off the bench. Yea, I haven’t even mentioned Nash yet. But when it comes down to it, I just don’t think the Suns can win with a run and gun offense. If they are going to do that, they’ve got to have the defense to back it up, and, sometimes, defense almost seems optional to Suns players. That reason alone will keep them as bridesmaids, yet again.
JEFF: Hold on, Rey. I am not done laughing. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!
Keys for the Spurs to win the series that doesn’t involve hip-checking.
MIKE: Closing out on shooters. The Suns like to shoot in bunches and put up shots quick, so the Spurs have got to close out, and not spend a lot of time switching on screens or in transition. If they get lazy, the Suns will burn them from the outside. Years ago, the Spurs played the Suns game and beat them at it, but they can’t do that now. They have to control the tempo and get the Suns to play more of a half-court offense and limit the turnovers.
JEFF: Well it’s to not underestimate this Suns team. Control the tempo and know this Suns team wants to prove it is not the Spurs’ bitches.
Prediction for the series?
MIKE: Spurs in 6. The Spurs are coming into this series playing the best ball they have all year. Everyone is also healthy so the Suns will have their hands full. If the Spurs can play smart, take care of the ball and play pretty good defense, I think they’ve got this.
JEFF: Spurs in 7. Yea, I said it.
Anything you want to say to the Phoenix Suns fans? Or everybody else?
MIKE: So sorry. Planet Orange is about to go under a silver & black eclipse.
JEFF: I would tell the Suns organization to pass out tissues to the Suns nation for the tears that are about to flow after the Spurs bounce the Suns out of the playoffs yet again.
PHOTO CREDITS: 1) Eric Gay/AP. 2) Ronald Martinez/Getty Images. 3) D. Clarke Evans/NBAE via Getty Images