San Antonio Spurs legend Sean Elliott joined Ric Renner of Fox Sports Southwest to discuss his legendary shot in the 1999 Western Conference Finals.
The Spurs faced a talented Portland Blazers squad, but went on to complete a 4-game sweep en route to the NBA Finals. After a slim 80-76 loss in Game 1, the Blazers were determined to even the series. In the following game, Portland raced to a 48-34 lead after halftime. However, the Spurs outscored the Blazers 52-37 in the second half.
The Spurs went on to win 86-85, but could not have done so without Elliott hitting the most important shot in franchise history during the game’s final seconds.
However, it originally was not meant to be his.
In the interview with Renner, he explained the ball was meant to end in Robinson’s hands. He mentioned the play was meant for him to set a baseline screen for Steve Kerr, who then would receive another screen from David Robinson to initiate a post entry. However, Portland opted to receive a delay of game infraction to get a sneak peak of the set. As a result, the play had to change.
“Back in the day, you can cause a delay of game by stepping out of bounds on the in-bounds passer, so that’s what Portland did because they wanted to get a look at our set,” Elliott continued. “So when that happened, Steve and I had switched spots. So now, Steve was setting the screen and I was coming off the screen from David (Robinson) to the corner to catch the ball and throw it into David.”
He stated once the ball was thrown in and he turned around, all he saw was the basket. From there, history was made.
Once the series shifted to Portland, the following games weren’t nearly as close as the previous two. From there, Elliott mentioned this as the moment he knew they were going to win an NBA championship.
“I realized it when we came off the court after sweeping the Blazers, I saw Jay Howard in the hallway and looked at him and said we’re going to win it all.”
What’s most remarkable about Elliott’s performances throughout the playoffs is the fact he was playing while needing a kidney transplant. When asked how he was able to push through, he didn’t have the words.
“I just continued to play. I don’t know how I got through it if I’m going to be honest with you, I was a pretty sick puppy,” he said. “But it was one of those things where I think anybody faced with my situation, where you’ve worked so hard for something in your lifetime and it was right there in your reach, I think you could overcome a whole lot to get there.”
The Spurs went on the win the first title in franchise history by defeating the New York Knicks 4-1.