The Los Angeles Clippers began Game 3 of their series against the San Antonio Spurs with a 24-point lead. Watching the game, they seemed to be playing against an unfamiliar opponent—a team of walking zombies, who were out-hustled and outplayed in almost every aspect of the game.
However, it took all of one quarter for the Spurs to remember who they were. The zombies suddenly came to life, transforming into the team we all know and love, playing the final three quarters in a style that was near perfection.
They chopped away at the Clippers' 24-point lead, until they found themselves down three with the ball in their hands. An "and-one" from Kawhi Leonard tied the game up, and the Spurs didn't look back.
From there they paced themselves to a 10-point win, securing a 3-0 lead over Los Angeles.
With a perfect playoff record thus far into the postseason, the team has overcome all doubts concerning their ability to make a title run this year. Today's inspiring comeback not only further proved that they are fully capable of winning it all but that they are the team to beat in this year's playoffs.
Their comeback over the Clippers has done something else, however, other than prove their dominance.
In a league run by media, few teams draw as many fans and followers as Miami, New York and the two L.A. squads. The Spurs have played in their shadow for quite some time, and despite consistently showcasing their talent, they rarely receive the respect they deserve.
This year's playoffs have been a different story. They have caught the nation by storm, and are no longer flying under the radar. The Spurs seem to be the talk of the NBA, a rarity for the San Antonio team.
Now that they are the league's standout team, Spurs fans and NBA fans alike have begun to root for the team to win the 2012 title.
Usually, fans whose favorite teams have been long eliminated, side with an underdog, but this is not the case this year. In reality, the Spurs still take a backseat to the Thunder and the Heat when discussing potential winners, but after such successful outings thus far, calling them underdogs would be quite the understatement.
Still, despite lacking the underdog status, the Spurs seem to have gained the support of new fans worldwide. Why? For the same reason that I did years ago.
When watching the team play for the first time, their cool and collected style of play really stuck out among other teams in the NBA. Fundamentally sound, every aspect of their game seemed to be near perfect.
While other teams were rising high in the air, performing spectacular dunks and wowing the crowd, the Spurs seemed content with a mere layup, as long as they finished on top.
That attitude allowed them to be classified as boring to fans looking for an exciting game to watch. However, that same attitude caught the eye of other fans, who were watching basketball with the intention of—well, watching basketball.
So what makes the Spurs such a likeable squad nowadays? Truthfully, it is the fact that they have nothing to make you feel otherwise.
They don't throw alley-oops, and even the simple dunk is uncommon for a member of the team. Instead, they play basketball. With passing, jump shots and layups; which is the reason they are currently the best team in the league.
So with the team's sudden popularity, the world can finally see another side of basketball, which the Spurs showcase for 48 minutes every game. And this perhaps is what should make them not only the favorites to win it all, but the team that should have the most support as they continue their road to the NBA Finals.