Storylines To Look Out For In Remaining Stages Of NBA Playoffs

2013 NBA Playoffs
2013 NBA Playoffs
May 21 2013 San Antonio TX USA San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan 21 drives for the basket between Memphis Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph 50 and center Marc Gasol behind in game two of the Western Conference finals of the 2013 NBA Playoffs against the Memphis Grizzlies at ATT Center Ronald MartinezGetty Images Pool Photo via USA TODAY Sports

Three small market teams in the NBA Semifinals doesn’t instantly feel like a recipe for dramatic success. But nothing could be more untrue. These 2013 NBA Playoffs have had a thick band of drama draped across their forehead before they even took to the court, and like LeBron’s headband, it is only getting thicker as the days go by.

Any good basketball junky should have an eye out for the many possible scenarios that can arise from a battle of this postseason’s Xs and Os. Some have “ Possible Playoff History” written all over them.

Do The Spurs Redeem Their 2011 Selves?

SJN has Spurs clinching this series, so yes. But the long answer is more involved.

In 2011, the 63-19 San Antonio Spurs (with a record better than this year’s No. 1 Western Conference team, the 60-22 Oklahoma City Thunder) were routed by the 8th-seeded Memphis Grizzlies. If that Spurs team hadn’t let Memphis pull off one of the greatest upsets ever, they might have had a relatively easy path to the Finals. That championship saw the Dallas Mavericks take advantage of a still-raw Miami team, which is something San Antonio could easily have done as well. By giving up the first-round series to the Grizzlies, the Spurs might have robbed themselves of a fifth championship.

In order to truly redeem themselves from the 2011 nightmare, the Spurs won’t just get revenge from Memphis. They’ll have to win the trophy that could have been theirs two years ago.

Tim Duncan Catches Kobe

Not all basketball aficionados put Kobe ahead of Duncan as their era’s best player. Bill Simmons is one of a select few who make a pointed case for “The Big (And Mostly Silent) Fundamental.” If he’s able to power by the Grizzlies, which a 2-0 lead in the series suggests just that, and can either dominate the Indiana Pacers or match Miami’s expected brilliance in the Finals, Timmy will have snagged his 5th ring.

If Duncan is the best player on a winning championship team, he’ll have matched Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s feat of winning Finals MVPs fourteen years apart; he would also have secured twice as many Finals MVPs as Kobe (or, 4).

Winning the fifth chip, and hence tying Bryant’s ring exploits, might shift the “best of their era” storyline in the right direction. That is, not toward L.A.

LeBron James Serves Cold Dish Of Revenge In Heat Uniform

If San Antonio is able to finish the job against Memphis, and the Heat can dispose of the Pacers, James will find himself staring down an old adversary.

In 2007, LeBron suffered his first Finals disappointment after getting swept by a resurgent Spurs team. Though James was able to lead his team at a very young age to the NBA Finals, it would be the start to almost a decade of intense public scrutiny. He was able to get rid of some of that scrutiny after finally getting past the Boston Celtics in the 2011 Playoffs, but there are still sects of diehard fans out there that won’t stop nitpicking at LeBron.

If the King meets his past foes in this year’s final contest, and is able to overcome them, expect his legacy (and ego) to get some extra padding. And for more LeBron dissenters to quiet their mouths.

Is Paul George Made Of Superstar Mettle?

As the recipient of this year’s Most Improved Player Award, George has long been on the collective radars of basketball minds despite only being 23 years old. But with a choppy offensive game, some worry that he won’t live up to his superstar potential.

George has posted better numbers in the playoffs than he did in the regular season but has shot significantly worse (40.4 FG%, 27.1 3P%, & 71.0 FT% compared to 41.9 FG%, 36.2 3P% & 80.7 FT% – per Unlucky for him, he’ll have to get through a major opponent in the Miami Heat to help silence any doubters. That won’t be an easy feat, as he’ll be chasing LeBron James for long stretches of games.

If Indiana’s leading scorer is able to will his underdog Pacers past the champs, he’ll have solidified his superstar status.

author avatar
Bogar Alonso
Bogar Alonso is a dedicated student of the hardwood, soccer pitch, boxing ring, and tennis court. He is a regular NBA contributor to XN Sports. His work, involving more than just sports, has appeared on The Creators Project, A&E Networks, XXL Magazine, and others. Follow Bogar on Twitter @blacktiles