Friday, June 07, 2013

Spurs' Tony Parker Appreciates the Moment (VIDEO)

''When I was 21 and I won my first one, it was kind of fast and we think it's going to happen every year. We think it's easy. But after a lot of years in the league, you realize it's really hard to go to the finals,'' Parker said. ''Now we take nothing for granted. We appreciate every moment, and we'll see what happens." 

--Tony Parker, San Antonio Spurs, talking about the Spurs return to NBA Finals in 2013.

Parker may have solidified his place in NBA history with his clutch leadership, particularly in the fourth quarter, and his buzzer-beating circus shot to clinch Game One of the 2013 NBA Finals against the Miami Heat.  His mastery as the point guard of the San Antonio Spurs, led to a crucial road win in which the Spurs only had 4 turnovers the entire game.  If Parker continues as he has in the playoffs so far, he will win his second NBA Finals MVP trophy as well as his fourth NBA championship as a member of the Spurs.

Parker has matured and takes nothing for granted.  

However, there is a long way to go and the Miami Heat have a history of coming back after a loss both in the regular season and the Finals. Enjoy the series!

Excerpt from (6/5/2013).

Thursday, June 06, 2013

San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat Square Off in the 2013 NBA Finals

“Those three guys have a lot of character and they make it easy for whoever we bring in to adjust and understand their role on the team. They help me do my job.

“Actually, it’s more important what they do than what I do as far as making those players feel comfortable, not intimidating them and giving them the time and the space to form their own games around them. They’re responsible for allowing that to happen over the years."
--Gregg Popovich, talking about the Big Three of the San Antonio Spurs: Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, the evolution of the franchise and its winning tradition.

The 2013 NBA Finals will begin tonight. This much anticipated match-up will pit the NBA most consistent and respected franchise of the last 15 years, the San Antonio Spurs; against perhaps the most scrutinized, criticized, and talented team in the league the past three years, the Miami Heat.

The Heat have the MVP and best player in the world, LeBron James. James can single-handedly take over a game and a series. The Spurs have an experienced, well-oiled machine that relies on precision, execution, and team play.
 Asked to explain the team’s continuous success, Popovich said: “It’s a total function of who those three guys are. What if they were jerks? What if they were selfish? What if one of them was, you know, unintelligent? But the way it works out, all three of them are highly intelligent. They all have great character.”
The San Antonio Spurs have been maligned for years for being old and boring, too long in the tooth to be considered serious championship contenders. However, it has been the Miami Heat that have looked old and tired in their Eastern Conference final against the Indiana Pacers. The Spurs' last NBA championship was earned in 2007, while the Heat are defending champions. Despite having the NBA's best regular season record including the second longest winning streak in NBA history, the Spurs appear to have the momentum and an increasingly strong support base in the media. 

The Spurs bring a structure, a system, a culture and a strategic approach to sustained winning that has been unmatched in all of sports in the last three decades. Will this be enough to overcome a team brought together via free agency to win and win now? Will an organization built for the long haul be able to beat a superstar-oriented team of hired guns?

We have as many as seven games to watch and learn. Enjoy the battle. 

Excerpts from (06/02/2013 & 06/05/2013).

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Serena Williams Having Fun at the French Open

"Just looking back at a few of my matches years ago and looking now, I definitely feel like I'm getting into that zone that I have always wanted to be in, and I feel a lot better about it.
"I have been playing a lot more tennis. I have been spending more time on the court.
"I felt this past year coming back I had nothing to lose and just really wanted to enjoy my career. In the past when I played I was always so stressed out and always wanted to win, win, win.
"And now I'm definitely having a lot more fun than what I used to have on the court and really enjoying every moment of me walking out there. So I think that definitely makes a big difference." 
--Serena Williams, discussing her mindset at the beginning of the French Open. 

On Tuesday, Serena reached the semifinals of the French Open by defeating fellow former champion Svetlana Kuznetsova at Stade Roland Garros.

The 31-year-old Williams held off the unseeded Kuznetsova, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3, as the American overcame a 0-2 deficit in the final set.
Since last year's French Open which she did not win, Williams has lost only three of the 70 singles matches she has played, winning 10 tournaments, including Wimbledon and the Olympics.

The only surprise was the upset in the Australian Open quarter-finals, when she was beaten by fellow American Sloane Stephens, although an ankle injury was certainly a factor.

"Sometimes I think, 'Should I be happy that I lost last year?'.

"You never know what can happen in your career and why things happen.

"So it's been great for me just realizing that every match counts. I have always realized that, but also realizing what I need to do to get better and to stay on top and to be the best tennis player that I can be."

Roland Garros has not been a lucky venue for Williams, with her only title and only finals appearance coming 11 years ago, when she beat sister Venus.

"I just remember going into the final," she said. "I definitely didn't expect to win, so I think that made me really calm and really relaxed.

"I felt like, 'Okay, I'm not going to win this match, but I'm going to go out there and have fun'. Next thing I know I was winning.

"I won the first set, and I thought I could win it after that. So learning from that, I think I can learn about just how relaxed I was. I felt no pressure and no anything. I just felt really good."

Could her attitude lead to a French Open victory?  

Excerpts from (6/4/2013).