Someone is going to lose tonight, in more ways than one.
If the Spurs lose, Duncan all of a sudden has some serious legacy problems (what is he without Robinson? did he choke?).
(Pistons immediately crowned the Pats of the NBA)
If the Pistons lose, they get branded a one-year fluke, who wouldn't have even made it this far if Wade hadn't gone down.
(Duncan cements his legendary status, a million analysts remind us that they picked the Spurs to win in the pre-season)
All of the above are somewhat true, but how much so, we'll only know after tonight.
Do we think of Game 7's as the culmination of a series and a season, when everything that's gone before comes to a head. Players bear their true selves, all lessons learned are put into action, glaring weaknesses come back to haunt in decisive fashion, you get a meaningful ending to the tale of might, doubt and longing that we call the 2004-2005 NBA.
Or is it just another game between two (as of late) erratic teams in a truly incomprehensible Finals, the last contest of the year but hardly a culmination of 2004-2005 or even Spurs vs. Pistons?
Again, both are probably true. But I'm not going to go flying off in one direction or the other until I see it with my own eyes.
And if it sounds like most of what I've just said is about Duncan, well, it is. This is his time.