The NBA playoffs have been filled with dominating performances by superstar players. Lebron James and Dwayne Wade for Miami. Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo for Boston and Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili for San Antonio. However, the most riveting single performance thus far has been that of San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker. I recently wrote that Chris Paul was the best point guard in the NBA. I now amend that and place Paul and Tony Parker on equal footing, with a slight edge going to Parker. Parker's three championships rings separate the two.
Due to his speed and quickness, Parker is a difficult cover for any defender. He has given Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook, one of the most athletic guards in the NBA, fits while Westbrook tries to defend him in the Spurs pick and roll offense. Parker is great at using a teammate's pick to allow him to separate from his defender. He is then able to make a basket by shooting a jump shot or taking it close to the basket and finishing with an array of floaters or runners. He is adept with both hands and can finish with either. He is also a master dribbler which allows him to get anywhere on the court he would like.
When he first joined the Spurs as a 19-year-old rookie, Tony had good individual skills. Over the years, he has refined his skills, becoming a better shooter and dribbler, and acquiring a great understanding of the concepts of team basketball. He along with future Hall of Famer Tim Duncan and super reserve Manu Ginobli make San Antonio the favorites to win the 2012 NBA championship. The Spurs have won 20 straight games and are making the Oklahoma City Thunder and their three budding stars, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden, seem miniature on the big stage. In the last game Parker had 34 points, 8 assists, and 3 rebounds.
I predicted that the Thunder would win in seven games; however, after watching the first 2 games, I would be surprised if the Thunder can extend this series to six games.
There's nothing like that been there done that experience, especially when the talent is on par with the opponent. To be great in the NBA, you have to go through great teams. The Detroit Pistons with Isaiah Thomas had to go through the Celtics and the Lakers. The Michael Jordan led Chicago Bulls had to go through the Pistons, and now it appears that the Thunder will have to take their lumps from the Spurs.
Tony Parker has been in the league for 11 years but only turned 30 this month, he'salready won three NBA titles was previously married to high-profile actress Eva Longoria. He is clicking on all cylinders, and appears to have his team in position to win another NBA title. At this juncture the only team that can realistically stop the Spurs' march to a title are the Miami Heat, who have withstood every attack the Boston Celtics have mounted against them through two games of the Eastern Conference Finals. Whether the eventual Eastern Conference champion can halt Parker's quest for a fourth title remains to be seen but it will be an intriguing journey to watch.