The last time the San Antonio Spurs were in the NBA Finals, Tony Parker was not quite a star and Tim Duncan was not quite over the hill (I think). Parker dominated that four-game sweep of the Cleveland Cavaliers, led by a precocious LeBron James, by averaging 24.5 points per game and shooting 56.8 percent. It was Parker's moment and emergence as one of the best point guards in the league.
Finals MVP in tow, Parker has not quite carried San Antonio back to the promised land.
Now he has. A 93-86 win over the Grizzlies was all about Tony Parker, as was this entire sweep in the Western Conference Finals it seems. Parker scored 37 points on 15-for-21 shooting and dished out six assists to lead the Spurs into the NBA Finals since 2007.
Parker scored 24.5 points per game and 9.5 assists per game in the four-game series against the Grizzlies. It was Tim Duncan who came through in overtime in Games Two and Three but it was Parker who carried San Antonio through most of the series with his ability to get into the paint, draw the defense in and dish it back out.
Game Four was not the thorough domination San Antonio put on in Game One, but it was a strong showing. The Spurs did not trail from the midpoint of the first quarter on, using a 22-6 run in the first quarter to build their lead.
The Grizzlies were not a group to go down without a fight and the lead always seemed within reach, but never within sight. If that makes any sense.
Quite simply, San Antonio proved in four games that its offense could break down Memphis' defense with its constant motion and the strong play from Duncan, Danny Green and Tiago Splitter at various times throughout the series.
It all revolved around Parker though. Parker was the one making things go and it was when he struggled that Memphis had its most success.
There were obviously few moments. The Spurs, once thought to be "over-the-hill" on more than one occassion since that title six years ago, are back near the top once again. Patiently waiting an opponent to complete a fifth title.