I love the series of events just before this shot right here:
LAC just scored to go ahead 88-82, 5 min. left in the game. Manu acts as PG, walks the ball down and to Duncan’s hands at the right area. Duncan is too far to do anything with it, trying to pound the ball slowly in to no avail. Manu cuts in between, acting as an option to receive a pass and possible hoop, but that’s iffy with 2 LAC bigs underneath.
It turns out Manu was just a ruse. As he runs across, TD passes the ball in Manu’s direction but way above his head to a waiting Gary Neal, all alone by the 3 pt line. Neal heaves and sinks it, making it 85-88 and cutting the lead to a far more manageable 3 but more importantly, removing any doubt that the Spurs are still in it.
It’s plays like these that convince me the Spurs are in it for the whole shebang.
First and foremost they have their solid plays to fall back on, such as their amazing sleight of hand in this play and several other plays. I distinctly remember a bullet quick pass to Manu by Duncan off of a misdirection play both made from a high pick and roll. Another one is Parker, with another misdirection where he makes a rainbow curl from one side to another, looking just as ready to pass as to shoot, and before the defense can react, the ball is in the air with Parker shooting one of his killer soft handed teardrops, the kind that makes the defense cry.
And the 2nd reason is the fact that when push comes to shove, the Spurs do not panic. They do not resort to big – time heroics from any single player. What they do is THEY EXECUTE PLAYS.
OKC? They go to a big shot from their big man. SAN? They execute, with the shot coming from any of their many available weapons.
Guess where I’m putting my money on.