With the San Antonio Spurs’ 112-107 overtime win over the Oklahoma City Thunder last night, Tim Duncan advanced to the sixth NBA Finals of his storied 17-year career. And though the only time he left the previous five without a title was last season against the Miami Heat, Duncan says that he is glad to get another shot at the two-time defending champions.
“People keep talking about [the 2013 Finals] like we weren’t close to winning it. We were ready last year, we just couldn’t get over the hump,” Duncan said after helping San Antonio to a series-clinching win over Oklahoma City. “We’re happy to be back here this year, we’re happy to have another opportunity at it, and we’re happy that it’s the Heat again.”
Duncan’s words are hardly false bravado. Remember, the Spurs came within a single shot of beating the Heat in six games last year.
The 2013 Finals amounted to a coin-flip, basically, and San Antonio has crucial home-court advantage this time around should the series advance to a decisive Game 7.
“We’ll be ready for them,” Duncan continued. “We’ve got some experience, obviously, from last year against them, and we’ll go back and look at some film. And we’ve got that bad taste in our mouths still. Hopefully, we’ll be ready to take it this time.”
The “bad taste” Duncan references is one that many thought might doom the Spurs this season. Gregg Popovich, for instance, famously admitted to the San Antonio Express News last fall that he “thinks about about Game 6 every day.”
Instead of letting the sting of last season’s relative failure linger, though, San Antonio has obviously used it as fuel for their success in 2013-2014. And given the Spurs play throughout this season, Duncan is right to be increasingly confident about his team’s chances of dethroning Miami.
(Video via NBA)
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