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The Final Horne: In the end will the old skool Spurs win it all?

 

The Final Horne - With James D. HorneClarksville, TN – The NBA Playoffs are upon us and we’ll find out if the new guard in the NBA, the Oklahoma City Thunder, the LA. Clippers, the Miami Heat, the Chicago Bulls and the Memphis Grizzlies, can finally wrestle away the championship for the old guards, the L.A. Lakers, the San Antonio Spurs, the Boston Celtics or the Dallas Mavericks.

NBA Playoffs

It wouldn’t surprise me if any of these nine teams made it to the NBA Finals, although I admit I’d would be if the Grizz were the team to actually win it all. That’s not a slight, but in order my top contenders are Bulls, Heat, Thunder, Spurs, Lakers, Clippers, Celtics, Grizzles and then Mavericks.

And I know it may seem strange to call Miami and Chicago part of the new guard, but the Heat changed basketball with the landing of the big three, LBJ, D-Wade, C-Bosh, and this Bulls squad has risen from the ashes like a Phoenix and become a brand spanking new organization after falling the way it did in the post-Jordan, and to be fair, Pippen years — remember neither man won a title without each other.

Except for the Heat in 2005 (an old-skool Shaq-Pat Riley led team), it’s either been the Mavs in 2010 — and the Mavs are old school because of Dirk Nowitski, Jason Kidd and Josh Terry — Lakers (1999-00, 2000-01, 08-09, 09-10), Celtics (07-08), Spurs (98-99,0 2-03, 04-05, 06-07) or not-in-the-playoffs Pistons (03-04) that have won championships since Jordan’s Bulls ended the final part of their last trifecta of titles from 1995-1997.

And even after that  NBA winners were the Houston Rockets back-to-back, the Bulls first three-in-a-row, Pistons back-to-back and Lakers back-to-back in 1986-87 and 1987-88.

So it’s been a long reign for the old guard in the NBA and it’s time to see if any of these newbies: King James, Derrick Rose, CP3, Blake Griffin, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook or Rudy Gay, can finally get it done and it looks like everything should be going the new guard’s way.

But then a funny thing happened in the West, the Mavs upset the Heat for the NBA Championship last year and the Spurs won the best record this year further showing the old dogs could learn new tricks.

Most of the year, I’ve gone back-and-forth between the Heat or Bulls winning the East and trying to find reasons why Oklahoma City shouldn’t win the West. And in all truthfulness it wasn’t until recently that I thought the Bulls would actually have a chance to beat the Heat.

Picking winners is part of the job so I’m going to stick with the Heat as the Easter Conference champs in seven over the Bulls. But as I write this today, I’m really 50-50 so neither winning would surprise me.

And I WANT the Oklahoma City Thunder to win! No matter your loyalties you have to respect Kevin Durant’s game and the way he leads the Thunder.

But the pesky old skool threesome of Timmy Duncan-Manu Ginobili-Tony Parker and gruffy coach Gregg Popovich just linger there like a popcorn shell caught in your throat, reminding you constantly that it’s there until you finally get rid of it.

And that’s ultimately what the Thunder have to do to the Spurs, spit the Spurs out like a seed. And I’m not forgetting the Lakers, as long as Kobe Bryant, the epitome of old skool, (weird to think that I know, but it’s true) has a breath in his body — and two big centers — you can’t count the Black Mamba.

I just don’t know if the Thunder have enough in them to possibly have to get by both to get to the NBA Finals.

And let’s be honest, yes the Grizzlies upset the Spurs in the first round last year, but that was with out Super Manu.

As long as they stay healthy, I can’t see the Spurs getting beat this time in the West.

So Spurs-Heat and Spurs in seven, I can’t believe I picked that either, but I’m old skool to my core!

NBA Playoffs Bracket

Eastern Conference

1 Chicago Bulls Chicago Bulls (50-16)
Games Remaining:
0 (0 Home, 0 Away)
vs
8 Philadelphia 76ers Philadelphia 76ers (35-31)
Games Remaining:
0 (0 Home, 0 Away)

 

egular Season Series: Chicago wins 2 – 1 Feb 1: at Philadelphia 98, Chicago 82 Mar 4: Chicago 96, at Philadelphia 91 Mar 17: at Chicago 89, Philadelphia 80

 

2 Miami Heat Miami Heat (46-20)
Games Remaining:
0 (0 Home, 0 Away)
vs
7 New York Knicks New York Knicks (36-30)
Games Remaining:
0 (0 Home, 0 Away)

 

Regular Season Series: Miami wins 3 – 0 Jan 27: at Miami 99, New York 89 Feb 23: at Miami 102, New York 88 Apr 15: Miami 93, at New York 85

 

3 Indiana Pacers Indiana Pacers (42-24)
Games Remaining:
0 (0 Home, 0 Away)
vs
6 Orlando Magic Orlando Magic (37-29)
Games Remaining:
0 (0 Home, 0 Away)

 

Regular Season Series: Orlando wins 3 – 1 Jan 24: Orlando 102, at Indiana 83 Jan 29: Indiana 106, at Orlando 85 Feb 4: Orlando 85, at Indiana 81 Mar 11: at Orlando 107, Indiana 94

 

4 Boston Celtics Boston Celtics (39-27)
Games Remaining:
0 (0 Home, 0 Away)
vs
5 Atlanta Hawks Atlanta Hawks (40-26)
Games Remaining:
0 (0 Home, 0 Away)

 

Regular Season Series: Boston wins 2 – 1 Mar 19: Boston 79, at Atlanta 76 Apr 11: at Boston 88, Atlanta 86 Apr 20: at Atlanta 97, Boston 92

Western Conference

1 San Antonio Spurs San Antonio Spurs (50-16)
Games Remaining:
0 (0 Home, 0 Away)
vs
8 Utah Jazz Utah Jazz (36-30)
Games Remaining:
0 (0 Home, 0 Away)

 

Regular Season Series: San Antonio wins 3 – 1 Dec 31: at San Antonio 104, Utah 89 Feb 20: San Antonio 106, at Utah 102 Apr 8: at San Antonio 114, Utah 104 Apr 9: at Utah 91, San Antonio 84

 

2 Oklahoma City Thunder Oklahoma City Thunder (47-19)
Games Remaining:
0 (0 Home, 0 Away)
vs
7 Dallas Mavericks Dallas Mavericks (36-30)
Games Remaining:
0 (0 Home, 0 Away)

 

Regular Season Series: Oklahoma City wins 3 – 1 Dec 29: at Oklahoma City 104, Dallas 102 Jan 2: at Dallas 100, Oklahoma City 87 Feb 1: Oklahoma City 95, at Dallas 86 Mar 5: at Oklahoma City 95, Dallas 91

 

3 Los Angeles Lakers Los Angeles Lakers (41-25)
Games Remaining:
0 (0 Home, 0 Away)
vs
6 Denver Nuggets Denver Nuggets (38-28)
Games Remaining:
0 (0 Home, 0 Away)

 

Regular Season Series: Los Angeles wins 3 – 1 Dec 31: at Los Angeles 92, Denver 89 Jan 1: at Denver 99, Los Angeles 90 Feb 3: Los Angeles 93, at Denver 89 Apr 13: at Los Angeles 103, Denver 97

 

4 Memphis Grizzlies Memphis Grizzlies (41-25)
Games Remaining:
0 (0 Home, 0 Away)
vs
5 Los Angeles Clippers Los Angeles Clippers (40-26)
Games Remaining:
0 (0 Home, 0 Away)

 

Regular Season Series: Los Angeles wins 2 – 1 Jan 26: at Los Angeles 98, Memphis 91 Mar 24: at Los Angeles 101, Memphis 85 Apr 9: at Memphis 94, Los Angeles 85

 


NBA Champions since 1997-98 (last of three by Bulls)

2010-11
Dallas Mavericks
Miami Heat
4-2
Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas
2009-10
Los Angeles Lakers
Boston Celtics
4-3
Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles
2008-09
Los Angeles Lakers
Orlando Magic
4-1
Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles
2007-08
Boston Celtics
Los Angeles Lakers
4-2
Paul Pierce, Boston
2006-07
San Antonio Spurs
Cleveland Cavaliers
4-0
Tony Parker, San Antonio
2005-06
Miami Heat
Dallas Mavericks
4-2
Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat
2004-05
San Antonio Spurs
Detroit Pistons
4-3
Tim Duncan, San Antonio
2003-04
Detroit Pistons
Los Angeles Lakers
4-1
Chauncey Billups, Detroit Pistons
2002-03
San Antonio Spurs
New Jersey Nets
4-2
Tim Duncan, San Antonio
2001-02
Los Angeles Lakers
New Jersey Nets
4-0
Shaquille O’Neal, Los Angeles
2000-01
Los Angeles Lakers
Philadelphia 76ers
4-1
Shaquille O’Neal, Los Angeles
1999-00
Los Angeles Lakers
Indiana Pacers
4-2
Shaquille O’Neal, Los Angeles
1998-99
San Antonio Spurs
New York Knicks
4-1
Tim Duncan, San Antonio

About James D. Horne

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