"There should be stars for great wars like ours." Sandra Cisneros.
If you're like me, then you're still in awe over the epic Spurs v Grizzlies triple overtime game. I started writing something else today. I really did. But the gravity of what happened sucked my thoughts back to last night. Both teams had their complaints. The Spurs were without two of their best players, and the Grizzlies had just beaten the best team in the NBA the night before. Neither team was at full strength, and sometimes when this happens, one team bows out early, deciding the fight is just not worth it.
That is not what happened last night, in what I can only call a war of attrition.
The thing being attrited was not just Mike Conley's speed, or Tim Duncan's lateral movement. It was both teams' collective will. It was ZBo's ability to tie his own shoe, so focused is he on conserving every ounce of energy to bull his way left past Boris Diaw one more time. It was my belief that history was too great to overcome, that Manu would wade into open waters on an inbounds pass again, that the ball would bounce left when it should have bounced right, that the Spurs and Grizzlies story was written already, and that Popovich had captured the book and burned all the pages that held anything good for the Grizzlies.
I can't watch the Spurs any other way. These two teams have too much history for any one game to stand alone. It will always be, for me, part of a larger whole. When Danny Green takes an open three from the corner, I flash through years of open corner threes, all the ones that went in, or could have.
We're married, and every skirmish in which we engage now engages the past as well.
We're boxers, neither of whom is willing to dance around the other, neither of whom is fighting for a decision.
And there's no room to breathe. It will happen again in eleven short days. Kawhi may never smile again, and neither may ZBo. The Spurs will beat us again, and we them. The buzzer will be beaten again. Diaw will saunter into the lane again, and Parker will drop a snowflake of a floater over men twice his size. Marc will guard both players on the pick and roll again. Conley will leave defenders in the dust again, ZBo will go left again, and Timmy will remind us all that, oh yeah, he's still Tim Duncan. Again.
But in eleven days, at least I'll have a memory to cling to that wasn't from 2009.