In case you missed it, Tim Duncan made national headlines this past Saturday for uttering one of the most innocuous statements in NBA playoff history. After beating Oklahoma City in Game 6 to win the West, Duncan, when asked about a Finals rematch with Miami, said, “We’ll do it this time.”
Oh, no, he didn’t!
Yes, he did.
He really, really did.
“Tim Duncan is the furthest thing from (a trash talker),” Spurs forward Matt Bonner said on The Doug Gottlieb Show. “He’s the furthest guy on the planet from that. I think him – along with all of us – are really excited and feel fortunate to be in a position where we have a chance to be back in the Finals and after letting it slip through our hands last year, to have an opportunity to get another championship.”
“That’s always one of those tricky things to me from a logic standpoint,” Bonner continued, reflecting more on Duncan’s statement. “What are you supposed to say? No, we’re not going to win it? You want to have confidence going in. I don’t really think he meant it in (an) arrogant or cocky kind of way.”
Needless to say, the Spurs are happy to be back in the Finals, especially after their heartbreaking loss to the Heat in 2013. They’re even happier to have home-court advantage. Game 1 is Thursday in San Antonio.
“For us, it means a lot,” Bonner said. “It’s a long, hard process – physically and mentally – to come back from a pretty crushing defeat last year in the Finals and rebound and bounce back and put ourselves in this position. The Western Conference was really tough this year. There were a lot of really talented teams, and being able to get past Oklahoma City – which has basically dominated us the last few years – was great. We’re just excited to be here and make right from last year.”
Of course, the Heat will have something to say about that. In fact, they already have. LeBron James’ reaction to Duncan’s comments, were, in essence, “You want us? You got us.”
“I don’t think we have the individual star power that the Heat have,” Bonner said when asked to compare and contrast each team. “And that’s not to say they’re not a great basketball team – because they do a great job playing as a team and moving the ball, and their role players can step up on any given night, just like us. But . . . we don’t have those guys like LeBron and Dwyane Wade that you can just give the ball to and they’re talented enough to just be able to break down their defender – multiple defenders – and create for themselves or others. We’ve got to really focus more on team ball movement and execution and playing smart.”
Bonner, to his credit, has seen an increase in playing time as the postseason has gone on. After not playing more than seven minutes in any game in the first two rounds, he played 14+ minutes in each of the last three games of the Western Conference Finals.
Bonner, 34, has not been told if he will start Game 1 against Miami, but he would relish the opportunity.
“Of course,” he said. “Myself, everybody on our team wants to help our team win, whatever we’re asked to do. If I’m asked to start any of the games, I’ll be ready to go.”