Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Youth gets served

Posted By on Tue, Jun 17, 2008 at 12:00 AM

Watching the Celtics-Lakers series from a San Antonio-centric perspective, one fact has stood out to me: While the Spurs were dogged thru much of the post-season for being too old, no one has pointed out that the Celtics have prospered with a trio of stars older than the Spurs' Big Three.

Ray Allen will soon turn 33, Kevin Garnett is a 32-year-old veteran in his 13th NBA season, and Paul Pierce is 30. By comparison, Tim Duncan is 32, Manu Ginobili is 30, and Tony Parker is only 26. Certainly the Spurs' bench has logged more miles than that of the Celtics, but it's not as if Sam Cassell or James Posey just qualified for their driver's licenses.

The Lakers' triumph over the Spurs was seen as proof that a younger, more athletic team couldn't be stopped by the kind of methodical, graybeard group the Spurs put on the court. Hasn't anyone noticed that the Celtics are taking apart the Lakers with exactly the kind of grind-it-out offense, dogged defense, and veteran wiles that the Spurs built their dynasty upon? When Ray Allen blew by Sasha Vujacic in Game Four, it wasn't his quickness or athleticism that made the difference, it was intelligence and determination. The Spurs had a thin bench and a hobbling Ginobili in the Western Finals, and they were beaten by a hotter, better team. But can we finally get over the knee-jerk age angle?

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