Veterans Hoping for First Ring With Spurs
Posted Jun 13 2007 11:39PM
But for both players, in the twilight of their careers, winning the NBA championship would still be special.
"It's going to hit Michael a little harder than it's going to hit me,'' said Horry, who may soon have a seventh ring. "People are like, 'It's old hat for you.' No, it's not old hat for me and I enjoy it to the utmost just as much as Michael does. ... If we can win this ring, and if I get my seventh ring, that's going to be like a feather in my cap.''
The Spurs are just one win away from their fourth championship in nine seasons and third in the past five. Up 3-0 over the Cleveland Cavaliers, they have a chance to complete a sweep on Thursday.
"Every year that we've won we've had some guys on the team that have been around the league, have been journeymen, have done it year after year and just unable to kind of get to this level, get this opportunity,'' said Tim Duncan, who will likely soon have his fourth championship ring and perhaps a fourth finals MVP title. "So every year you're really proud to have a person like that.''
It would be the second ring with the Spurs for 15-year veteran Horry, 36, who has two rings from his days with the Houston Rockets and three with the Los Angeles Lakers. The forward said he keeps them all in a bathroom drawer at home and only wears a couple of them now and again for charity events.
"Rob's got enough. Forget him, forget him,'' San Antonio's Bruce Bowen joked Wednesday. "I would really like to accomplish this goal'' for Finley and the other veterans without a title.
Finley, 34, is in his 12th year in the league. He spent most of that time in Dallas before joining the Spurs in 2005 after they won their most recent title.
"He's had to go a different route, whereas he was the man on his team and now he comes to a team where he's no longer the man,'' Bowen said. "It's an adjustment, and I think that shows what type of basketball player he is.''
Finley has acknowledged struggling at times with his stroke while in San Antonio. But he's found it when it mattered. He made a franchise playoff-record eight 3-pointers in Game 5 of the first round against the Denver Nuggets.
He started just 16 games during the regular season and has remained in the starting lineup for the playoffs, where he's started all 19 games.
"A win is a win. I think everybody will enjoy it the same, everybody for different reasons. If we're fortunate enough to win, for me to have my first ring it would be a blessing,'' Finley said. "For some guys to have multiple rings it still would be a blessing. Because this season hasn't been all hunky-dory. We had some struggles early, within the middle.''
Backup point guard Vaughn is a veteran who has bounced around over his 10 years in the league. This is his first year with the Spurs.
"Jacque has been on some bad teams and he's a professional,'' Bowen said. "He's a guy that you would want on your team any given day, because of what he represents, how he prepares for the game and how he respects the game.''
Oberto, of Argentina, is in his second year both in the league and with the Spurs.
"He's played on the big stage throughout his career. Europe, Olympics, now the NBA,'' Bowen said. "I think it's great for guys like that to be able to experience this and I really really really would like for them to have the opportunity to celebrate in a championship.''
On Thursday, that just might happen.
"It's nice to have those guys in this situation, to be able to win a championship after being in this league for so many years and playing the game the right way for so many years. Such good guys,'' Duncan said. "It means a lot more to just add one and win one for them.''
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