Buck Harvey: View from Kerrville? Sounds familiar
Web Posted: 05/13/2006 12:00 AM CDT
San Antonio Express-News
DALLAS — I come before you today with yet another premise, but this time with assistance. Seconding my opinion, supporting me as he once supported Michael Jordan and Tim Duncan, is someone who knows about Spurs-Mavericks series.
He also knows how to win them.
Steve Kerr, please, tell them what we agreed upon.
"The Spurs have the Mavericks," Kerr said Friday, "right where they want them."
I couldn't have put it better myself.
Kerr won't join this series until Game 4 in Dallas, when he will work for TNT. But he's already part of this because of what he did three years ago. Coming off the bench because Tony Parker was ill, with the Spurs trailing by as many as 15 points in Dallas, Kerr threw in four 3-pointers without a miss to eliminate the Mavericks in the Western Conference finals.
He says that comes up now only about once a month — because he lives in San Diego. When he comes back to Texas, he says he hears about it when he gets off the plane.
He became part of Spurs history that night, doing what Sean Elliott did before (against Portland in 1999) and Robert Horry after (against Detroit last year). Of the three, Kerr's burst is the only one that clinched a series.
Tonight is not a Game 6, as Kerr's game was in 2003. But doesn't this one have the same feel?
I asked that. Kerr, ever cooperative, agreed.
The Spurs of three years ago were also coming off an embarrassing loss at home. They could have finished off the Mavericks in San Antonio but fell apart.
Leading Dallas then was a star named Michael Finley. His 31 points were not unexpected that night, though his five steals and eight rebounds were.
The Spurs were as responsible, however, scoring just 10 points in the fourth quarter. Kerr didn't play a minute as a 21-year-old point guard — paired with a couple of off-guards in their first NBA postseason — burped.
Coach Gregg Popovich railed on them afterward. Experience matters, he said then. But "if you have half a brain, you realize how important a game that was."
Kerr, with a whole brain, saved Popovich in the next game in Dallas.
Almost everything has changed in three years. Only one Maverick who played in that Game 6 is on the Dallas roster now, Adrian Griffin, and he's played for two teams since. Two others (Finley and Nick Van Exel) play for the Spurs.
Now the 21-year-old will turn 24 this month, and Parker has two rings. Manu Ginobili, a rookie in 2003, also has two, as does Bruce Bowen. Duncan has three and Horry six.
Add to that list those Spurs who won their first title last season, and the current team has a total of 20 rings. The Mavericks, in contrast, have none. Outside of Keith Van Horn, who has been inactive in this series, Dirk Nowitzki is the only one to even get to a conference final.
Again, leave it to Kerr to say what I would have said. "That experience is the difference," Kerr said. "A bad loss won't bother the Spurs, whether it's a blowout or a close game. They've been through too much."
Then Kerr reached for his own support, quoting Danny Ainge. A playoff series isn't the Tour de France, Ainge once said. Teams don't fall three minutes behind and have to make that up the next day. Everything is fresh with every game.
"I thought the Spurs would be in good shape if they went to Dallas with the series tied," Kerr continued, staying on my message. "Championship teams prefer playing on the road. It's Pop's line on appropriate fear. You know you are in a dangerous spot, so you have more of an edge. You tighten up your defense, and you play better. Once you win a championship, winning on the road in the playoffs actually becomes easier."
Kerr likes these Mavericks, and he think they are better than the Mavericks of 2003. That's why Kerr thinks the series will go seven games.
I do, too.
But — and I wanted to hear this but — Kerr applied the same logic to Dallas.
"Until the Mavericks actually break through," Kerr said, "they have a huge disadvantage. Until you win these kinds of series, which the Spurs have won several times over, there's nagging doubt and extra pressure."
Great read. I watched that game again from my tapes a little ago and what is forgotten (or not mentioned much) about that 4Q in Game 6 is that jackson hit 3- big 3's to get us back too!
Great emotican MomBear. I conKerr ().
At first, I thought Harvey was going to try and connect the city of Kerrville to the Spurs.
Kerr reminds me that deep playoff experience is extremely important to future successes. With the Mavs, only dirk and the coaches have some of that experience.
It is what it is -- Bruce Bowen
When everyone thinks alike, no one thinks.-- Bill Walton
What is defeat? Nothing but education; nothing but the first step to something better.
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