TONY PARKER DRIVES PAST GRIZZLIES DEFENDER (AP Photo)
by Teresa M. Walker
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP)—It may seem as if the San Antonio Spurs are playing for an NBA title every year. Tim Duncan and Tony Parker know only too well how very long it’s been since their last chance.
Now they’re back in the Finals with their first chance at a championship since 2007, a really long time for a Spurs team that knows a thing or two — or three — about hoisting trophies.
“Honestly, it feels like it’s been forever since we’ve been to this point,” Duncan said after the Spurs advanced with a 93-86 win over the Memphis Grizzlies. “We’ve been on the verge of kind of getting here. We still feel like we were in contention, but we can’t get over that hump. To get over that hump and get back in the Finals, it’s an amazing feeling, honestly.”
Parker scored 37 points to lead the Spurs, who finished off their second sweep this postseason for their fifth Western Conference title. The Spurs were just two wins away from a trip to the Finals a year ago before blowing that lead in six games to Oklahoma City.
Parker said he has learned just how tough it is to get there after winning his first NBA title at the age of 21.
“In 2007, we won our third one in five years and you think it’s going to keep coming,” Parker said. “And I’m 25, and six years goes by and every year it gets tougher and tougher. Every team wants to beat you, and that’s why it makes it even more special to go back after all those years playing at a high level with the same coach, with the same big three but changing a couple pieces.”