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And Then Came Cleveland

It was a David and Goliath matchup if ever there was one to be had. The thus far struggling San Antonio Spurs, coming off a crippling loss to the Lakers and largely written out of the playoff picture in the eyes of many an analyst and even a few fans, were set to take on the most highly favored team in the entire NBA - the unstoppable Cleveland Cavaliers. To say the odds were stacked against the silver and black would certainly be an understatement of the highest caliber, yet just when you least expect it, the Spurs come roaring back.

I have to admit, I really thought this was a surefire loss. Don’t get me wrong, I still believe the Spurs have the juice to go all the way, but I figured if we were going to take one away from someone on the stretch run from hell, it would be the Hawks – the Lakers even, (although that proved to be too much to hope for) but certainly not the league best Cavs, and especially not with LBJ back in the lineup. And yet, despite being the odds on favorite to repeat his MVP winning performance from a season ago, the storied King James ended up being dethroned by – well, who else but Manu Ginobili. With a red hot performance that fully vindicated the heartbreaking loss at Cleveland earlier in the month, Ginobili proved he’s still got it in him to boost the Spurs to the contending category, and with The Big Fundamental back to producing solid numbers the Spurs really look like a team that is finally coming together in preparation for the postseason. Truly, tonight’s game was a performance worth noting. The Spurs defense, a step slow in guarding the offensive onslaughts they have faced against the good teams this season, seemed in full stride, and suddenly it was like someone threw the switch. It was like the team finally became what they should have been for the past year. It was like they were a championship team again.

Perhaps it is too early to break out the champagne and start toasting the victory, but if the Spurs can continue to keep up the defensive pressure and execute like they did tonight, who’s to say they couldn’t take a page from the 6th place 1995 Houston Rockets and go all the way? I suppose only time will tell if tonight’s big win over the Cavaliers will mean a resurgence for the embattled Spurs, but one thing is for certain, tonight the Spurs can breathe a brief sigh of relief, having proved that they can still hang tough with the best the league has to offer.

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