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Cleveland Clinic

By Jeff Koch on April 3, 2012.

I can’t remember ever seeing a better passing team in my (albeit brief) love affair with the NBA. Literally every player on the roster is an above average passer with excellent court vision, and the joy the team has in sharing the ball is amazingly infectious. I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed watching an offense more.

This is particularly evident playing against young, inexperienced teams like the Cavs. Offering little more resistance than a set of cones or folding chairs, the Spurs offense was able to have its way and get everything it wanted, inside and out. Parker spent the first quarter showing Kyrie Irving exactly how to play PG in the NBA (Irving is a very good player who has potential to be great). Danny Green exacted a little bit of revenge on the team that had him first. Everybody got into the act, with the ball flying around, usually ending up at the basket in one of the bigs hands, or on the perimeter, with a wide-open uncontested 3. Again…it was a joy to watch.

More importantly, Patty Mills and Boris Diaw were able to get a lot of court time and get comfortable with the new team. Diaw is great insurance as a 5th big, opening up so many rotation and player combinations. There will be games/match-ups that don’t favor him, and he’ll probably sit most of the game (like Indiana). But he’s also showed great value in certain other match-ups that, come playoff time, could make him invaluable. (Dirk comes to mind.) Either way, the team needed another frontcourt player, and now they have him.

Mills also showed his value. He is a shooter and a scorer. And if he gets it going, boy can he score. He’s kind of like another Gary Neal type. Which is nice to have. Some nights, Neal just doesn’t have it, and it will be good to have some insurance for that backup-PG/shooter/scorer off the bench role. Plus, outside of Parker, he’s probably the fastest player on the team.

Tim Duncan towers over the Anthony Parker. (Lonnie Timmons III / The Plain Dealer)

The Spurs have a brutal closing schedule that will most certainly include some losses (probably pre-ordained by Pop, in many cases). Tomorrow night at Boston could be one of them. It’ll be a fun match-up, as both teams are playing really well right now, and are in similar places, chasing a last ring with an aging core.

Meanwhile, it’s good to bank those easy wins when we can.

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