San Antonio Spurs: New Motivation Is Repeating

Jun 18, 2014; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs guard Danny Green (4) waves to the fans during the NBA championship parade at San Antonio River Walk. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 18, 2014; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs guard Danny Green (4) waves to the fans during the NBA championship parade at San Antonio River Walk. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports /

All summer long, after losing the 2013 NBA Finals, the San Antonio Spurs had revenge on their minds. San Antonio played the whole year with the goal of avenging a seven-game series defeat to the Miami Heat.

When the 2014 NBA Finals came around, Miami was San Antonio’s opponent. Tim Duncan made no mistake in calling out the Heat. Usually mild-mannered, Duncan candidly said in an interview with the Washington Post:

"“It’s unbelievable to regain that focus after that devastating loss that we had last year. But we’re back here. We’re excited about it. We’ve got four more to win. We’ll do it this time.”"

Timmy added that he was happy the Spurs were playing Miami again. Five games later, the Big Fundamental had his arms stretched out in celebration. Duncan’s singular words became a reality thanks to San Antonio’s unselfish teamwork.

San Antonio Spurs
Jun 15, 2014; San Antonio, TX, USA; Miami Heat forward Chris Bosh (1) fights for a loose ball against San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan (21) in game five of the 2014 NBA Finals at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports /

Silver And Black Atone For 2012-13 By Winning the 2014 NBA Title

The Spurs were responsible for the fall of the Heat empire. Miami was on the cusp of a three-peat in 2014. Instead the Heat (more than half their 2014-15 roster will be new) disbanded. LeBron James took his ball and went back home. Joining James with the Cleveland Cavaliers next year will be Kevin Love, Shawn Marion and Mike Miller while Miami will try to start anew.

Conversely, San Antonio doesn’t have to rebuild or do anything close to that. All the Spurs need to do is refuel. Pat Riley spoke this summer about the Heat needing to retool, not rebuild after 2014 (all that was before LeBron left).

San Antonio did neither, bringing back virtually all of their championship roster. Only Aron Bayes has not returned.

Can the Spurs renew where they left off and repeat? It’s an odd year, so before you discount the silver and black, consider this.

San Antonio won their first four titles in 1999, 2003, 2005 and 2007. The Spurs were a Ray Allen (currently is weighing his options- could retire, rejoin Miami, go to Cleveland, come to the Riverwalk or go elsewhere) clanked three-pointer away from winning in 2013.

Alamo City Looking Forward To Trying To Repeat

In the past 15 regular seasons San Antonio has won at least 50 games, which has often resulted in a high seed in the loaded Western Conference. The Spurs have made the playoffs all 17 years since Timmy’s entered the league.

San Antonio, though, has never once repeated. After all San Antonio was knocked out after the first round, conference semifinals twice and conference finals prior.

The Spurs went 1-3 during the 2000 postseason and were 6-4, 7-6 and 9-8 in the playoffs their last three title defenses.

There is hope though, Spurs fans. The Big Fundamental, however, did not play during the 2000 postseason. With Duncan returning, along with Gregg Popovich and at least a dozen other 2013-14 Spurs, San Antonio will be a threat once again.

San Antonio Spurs
Mar 11, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; San Antonio Spurs small forward Kawhi Leonard (2) is defended by Chicago Bulls shooting guard Jimmy Butler (21) during the first quarter at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports /

Silver And Black Title Defense Concerns Include Age, Health And Overconfidence

Besides health, the Spurs need to guard against arrogance. San Antonio knows they’ll get every team’s best shot. Fatigue may settle in. That’s where Pop resting his players will possibly be the most crucial.

Warding off injuries is also key. If the Spurs are able to do that and grab another 50 or so victories during the 2014-15 regular season, another ring could be in their grasp.

Of course San Antonio would ideally like to steer clear of the Oklahoma City Thunder until the Western Conference Finals. But if luck has them squaring off earlier, so be it.

The Spurs understand repeating will be more difficult with the regular season’s intensity heightened. Three of the four previous title defenses had San Antonio finish second in their division with win totals of 57, 63 and 56 games. In 2000 the Spurs won 53 times and finished first in the Midwest.

No longer is San Antonio hunting. It’s like 2008 all over again, the Spurs are being hunted again. Only this time San Antonio knows it could be their Big Three’s final opportunity. And because of that it’ll be fascinating what tale unfolds.