Aron Baynes has become an unexpected but welcome source of Washington State Cougar pride in the NBA Playoffs this season, helping the San Antonio Spurs into the second round and playing a key role in the teams’ first game blowout of Portland.
As George pointed out yesterday, Baynes nearly collected his first Playoff double-double in just 15 minutes of stellar play on Tuesday. His 10 points and seven rebounds were never so dramatized as when he set a screen for, then nimbly (I say that with just a hint of sarcasm) followed Manu Ginobli to the hole for a thunderous tip-jam to end the 3rd quarter. The game was out of reach by that point but it was most unequivocal play to sum up both his and the team’s performance.
So even with Klay Thompson’s Golden State Warriors out of the Playoff picture and now looking for their next coach, we Cougs still have a talented alum to cheer for. I have never been a Spurs fan and have despised Tim and Manu since their arrival into the league for reasons I cannot fully explain. After their ousting of Golden State in last year’s Playoffs, I became even less of a fan… until they played the Miami Heat in the Finals. I found that I actually kinda like the way they play ball.
With sharp-shooter Danny Green, slashing wing-man Kawhi Leonard (whom I’ve followed since his days at San Diego State) and now Aron Baynes coming on I can see myself giving the Spurs a fair shot for a while. Heck, I don’t have a dog in the fight right now anyway so it will be nice to pick up a semi-favorite for the rest of the Playoffs.
You can see some highlights from Game 1, including that jam and a couple other nifty moves HERE. Baynes and the Spurs tip it off in Game 2 against the Portland Trail Blazers tonight at 6:30 pst.