First of all, rest in peace to your modern day San Antonio Spurs. Will Tim Duncan retire? Will Kawhi Leonard sign an extension or play out next season with impending free agency around the corner. Will Tony Parker's age allow him to overcome the myriad of injuries that always seem to be haunting him? Will Boris Diaw finally eat his fat ass to death? Will Manu Ginobili realize that every one in the world that doesn't share his last name hates him and finally give the whole "ceasing to live" thing a valid opportunity? Don't get me wrong. With Popovich and a culture of winning firmly in place, this isn't the end of a highly competitive Spurs team, but in all likelihood, they should look much different next year. I don't want to completely hate on San Antonio. It takes two to perform one of the most entertaining seven game tangos in recent memory. You can't fully embrace the magnitude of how big of a win this was without tipping to one of the most successful franchises in NBA history. This was Western Conference final in the guise of a first round series. I'm a little foggy on my NBA history books, but it had to be the most difficult competition that a 3 seed has ever faced. Thanks, in huge part, to a strangely befuddling playoff structure, but that's neither here nor there. The Clipper's didn't just enter a new chapter of their history with this playoff win, they turned the page on how we have come to know the San Antonio Spurs.
Remember that silly narrative that Chris Paul couldn't win in the playoffs? The same Chris Paul that battled through injury to post nearly 30 points including a last second, off angled driving layup? The same Chris Paul that has virtually been automatic when his team has needed a big basket all season? The same Chris Paul that just led his team past the reigning champs despite having a D-league level bench? The same Chris Paul that not only didn't let his team founder when Blake Griffin was out with an injury, but managed to make them unbeatable during that very stretch? Dead. It's dead. Put it in the ground. It almost takes it's death to begin to realize how ridiculous it's life was in the first place. Hey Steph, we are sorry, but we are going to need that MVP award back really quick. I know this is kind of unprecedented, but so was Chris Paul's ability to lead his team to victory after suffering two soul crushing losses at home. Not only is the thought that Chris Paul was unable to perform at his best on the biggest stage ridiculous, but I think he may actually be a better playoff performer than regular season performer. He's at the top of his craft on the offensive and defensive end. His ability to not only create for others, but create for himself is on display on a possession by possession basis. The gravity of the situation has not changed his cold blooded approach to the game at all. Chris Paul may not be the best player in the league, but I can't think of someone I would rather have at the helm as the Clippers continue this playoff run. After beating the San Antonio Sours it's pretty clear there isn't a team in the league that the Clippers aren't capable of beating. But they are going to need the same Chris Paul that we have been watching for the last two weeks. That Chris Paul will never have an issue performing on the biggest of stages.