Spurs Click & Scroll – Thunder breakdown, Spurs a favorite in Italy

Thunder roundtable: Are the Spurs now the Western Conference favorites? | News OK

Beat writers from NewsOK got together to break down the San Antonio Spurs and discuss if the Spurs were now the favorites to win the NBA title and picked their winner for tonight’s game against the Thunder and the winner if both teams matched up in the playoffs next month. It was a clean sweep with all four beat writers picking the Thunder over the Spurs tonight and in May.

Mayberry –Thunder on Thursday. Thunder in May. Oklahoma City is just too talented for San Antonio these days. The Thunder puts a ton of pressure on the Spurs, and San Antonio simply doesn’t have enough counters for OKC’s weapons. The games always will be competitive, but the Thunder has matured over the past two seasons to find a way to execute down the stretch and make just enough plays to come away with wins.

All four writers also agreed that the Spurs were not the favorites to win the title, picking the Miami Heat and Thunder instead.

• Mad About Marco | Spurs.com

In his latest column for Spurs.com, Ken Rodriguez talks about how Italy celebrated when Spurs guard Marco Belinelli won the three-point contest during All-Star weekend, become the first Italian player to win. Aside from having Belinelli on the Spurs, Rodriguez also notes that Italian NBA fans are big fans of the Spurs also because of Manu Ginobili, who played professionally in Italy before coming stateside to join the Spurs.

“The people in Italy hold the Spurs in such high esteem,” says Flavio Tranquillo, the voice of the NBA for Sky Sport Italy. “I suspect it’s a by-product of those four titles and of Manu being there. I can tell you that when a game is on National TV, Pop’s interviews draw a lot of attention. There are lots of fans and even more admirers who believe the Spurs play and win the right way.”

• The Spurs are doing Spurs things. Again. | Ball Don’t Lie

Yahoo’s Kelly Dwyer says regardless of how this season ends for the Spurs, fans should be paying attention and taking note of how great this run could be and how it could possibly end with Tim Duncan hoisting up his fifth Larry O’Brien trophy.

And if it doesn’t, Dwyer says it will simply be because of basketball reasons.

These are the Spurs, and they know what they’re doing. And if they lose on Wednesday, Thursday, for good on May 20 or for good on June 19, it will be because the matchups didn’t work in their favor, and they missed some shots they usually make. There is more to this team than any other club in the NBA, nothing is as complex and as layered as their offensive and defensive schemes, and yet they are the easiest read in the NBA.

• Why Did We Write Off The San Antonio Spurs… Again? – Hoops Habit

Luke Duffy of Hoops Habit tried to answer the age old question of why the Spurs continue to be overlooked, and then surprise everyone in the end. The Spurs’ age leading to their decline and then their demise, was supposed to happen long ago, well before they took the Miami Heat to seven games and then went on a 19-game winning streak this season.

Duffy says some credit for the Spurs’ continued success should be attributed to their bench players like Patty Mills and role player/x-factor Kawhi Leonard. Aside from that, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich’s ability to plug players in around the big three is definitely a contributing factor.

• Spurs never chased No. 1 seed | Steve Aschburner

NBA.com senior writer Steve Aschburner took to twitter to talk about a conversation he had with Spurs coach Gregg Popovich about going after the first seed.

About Michael A. De Leon

Michael founded Project Spurs in 2004. He started The Spurscast, the first Spurs podcast on the Internet, in 2005. Michael has been interviewed by the BBC, SportTalk, the Sports Reporters Radio Show, MemphisSportLive, OKC Sports Wrap and ESPN radio among others. He is a credentialed member of the media for the San Antonio Spurs and Austin Toros. He is also the founder of Project Spurs' sister sites, Toros Nation and Stars Hoops.