Take a visual tour of Spurs' sweep of Cavaliers
CLEVELAND - Exiting the arena with the NBA finals MVP trophy in one arm and his actress fiancee on the other, Tony Parker looked like someone who should be a megastar in America.
But Parker plays for the San Antonio Spurs, a champion everywhere but in the TV ratings. The Spurs were too good for Cleveland, but still considered too boring to be appreciated.
They are the NBA’s forgotten dynasty.
“It’s all about getting the job done, it’s not how you get the job done,” said Robert Horry, who won his seventh championship. “You don’t need to be flashy, just get the job done.”
Few teams have done that better than the Spurs, who by sweeping the Cavaliers for a fourth title since 1999 have forced themselves into the dynasty discussion. But the other teams in that category, the Celtics, Lakers, and Bulls, were all either loved or hated.
Fans don’t seem to love or hate the Spurs. They mostly ignore them.
The finals drew a record-low 6.2 television rating and 11 share on ABC, Nielsen Media Research said Friday. That was down 27 percent from the 8.5/15 for Miami’s six-game victory over Dallas last year and 5 percent under the previous low, a 6.5/12 for San Antonio’s six-game win over New Jersey in 2003. The NBA finals averaged 9.3 million viewers this year.
NBA fans love their one-name stars: LeBron, Kobe, Shaq. The only one-namer San Antonio has is Manu Ginobili — and he doesn’t even start.
“We don’t do a lot of the flashy things. The only flashy guy we got is Manu,” Horry said. “Everybody else is just basic, but sometimes basic stuff gets the job done. We are a good team and that’s the most important thing.”
The NBA’s bland boys are ready to show their wild side. They get their championship parade along the Riverwalk this weekend, followed next month by Parker’s wedding to “Desperate Housewives” star Eva Longoria in France.
“I’m going to party all the way until the end of Tony Parker’s wedding,” said Michael Finley, a first-time champion. “And then I might relax a little bit.”
Once it’s time to get back to basketball, count on the Spurs being a title threat. As long as they have Tim Duncan and Gregg Popovich, they always are.
“It starts with Pop, the fact that he never let us get comfortable,” Parker said. “He’s always behind us, always like ’Come on, focus, focus’ and I think it carries on. Every day in practice you just get that mentality.
“And then Timmy is the same way. He comes to practice and practices hard every day. When your superstar practices like that, you have to practice hard.”
Even Popovich started to wonder if the Spurs’ time had passed.
“The thought went through my head,” he said. “Are they sick of listening to me? Are they tired of hearing it? Have we run the gamut of every motivational thing or emotional button we can push? I thought about it because I didn’t think they were listening.”
Instead of trying to jump-start the team with a midseason move, Popovich made it clear that the players would have to figure things out themselves without any outside help.
“You guys are going down or you’re getting it done together, but there will be no trades here,” Popovich said. “I think it helped us turn the corner.”
PBT: San Antonio found what worked and it’s on the Grizzlies to raise their level enough in Game 2 in San Antonio on Tuesday to get a split in the series.
PBT: The Pacers were too tough for the Knicks, but Miami is a different animal. The clubs face off in the East finals, starting Wednesday night.
Video: NBA from NBC Sports
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