Brooks earned 403 of a possible 615 points, including 62 first-place votes, from a panel of 123 sports writers and broadcasters. Kevin Durant of Oklahoma City and George Hill of San Antonio tied for second with 101 total points.
So for those of you who still don’t know who this George Hill guy is, well you should know after Game 4. Still, he was creating a stir around the league before now and this is just further evidence that the Spurs know how to draft talent and will not fade into obscurity as the Big Three get older.
Blair celebrated his 21st birthday just three days earlier. Hill will turn 24 in another week. The Spurs don’t usually win with players so young and with their stars contributing so little. Still, all of their championship teams owned the same trait: From Mario Elie to Stephen Jackson, from Steve Kerr to Bruce Bowen, from Malik Rose to Fabricio Oberto, the Spurs’ supporting casts were cut from the same sturdy fiber that Hill and Blair now share. There’s a reason why Jaren Jackson left the Spurs with a championship ring and Hedo Turkoglu didn’t. To survive in San Antonio, one must not only withstand the heat of the playoffs, but also Popovich’s personal fire.
More props given to Hill and Blair. It seems that finally more people are noticing that the Spurs have not just stood around and waited for their stars to get old while adding on a vet here and there (McDyess, Jefferson). In fact, the Spurs have been developing other talented players too like Malik Hairston and maybe even Ian Mahinmi, not to mention other players they picked up during the season such as point guard Garrett Temple.
Knowing that the slightest hint of bravado might have given referees an excuse to call a double technical — the better to clean up some of the chippiness that characterized the second half of the Spurs’ 92-89 victory — Blair beat a hasty retreat toward the Spurs’ bench.
One more reason we have come to like Blair so much. Not only is he a maniac on the glass, prone to ripping off the arms of future-draft busts, and a beacon of hope to ACL-less people the world over, but he has a rare trait known as “common sense” that keeps him from getting into trouble with the refs during big games.
This isn’t about effort or desire or any other intangible. This is about the Spurs, a franchise with championship pedigree, finding ways to win, while the Mavs, a franchise with a history of choking in the playoffs, finds ways to lose.
Uh oh, don’t look now but it sounds like trouble in paradise. The home team is getting berated by their own newspaper, but it’s not like they don’t deserve it. You can only rip out a city’s heart with uninspired play for so long before they show up with pitchforks and torches.
“My body kind of needs it, and I want to play the (2012) Olympics, so I decided to pass on this one.
“Besides, there’s another little factor here: My wife is going to have twins in a month. Those are the times you don’t want to miss. Both, one next to the other, makes me take this tough decision.”
Thank goodness. I figured his better sense would prevail over his competitive side this summer. Plus it looks like the Spurs have a chance of going deep in the playoffs this year so he will need the rest.