The Spurs lose! The Spurs lose!
Twice, in fact, to the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
I spent Thursday and Saturday evening in front of the big screen at Carleton College's Sayles-Hill campus center. After missing half of Games 1 and 2 of the Western Conference Finals, I decided that I wouldn't miss another minute of the Spurs playoff run. And so, I settled into the couches of my alma mater, only to watch San Antonio get manhandled twice by the Thunder.
Since April 11 the Spurs had won twenty straight games. As I pointed out here, very few of those games were decided in the final minutes. In fact, since falling to the Lakers in San Antonio on April 11, only once had the Spurs been involved in a game that came down to the final possession (vs. Clippers on May 20). Thus, their comprehensive defeats to Thunder felt doubly like a horrible nightmare that I couldn't wake up from. Not only were the conference finals headed for a nail-biting, almost-must-win Game 5 back in San Antonio, but the Spurs' almighty offense, impervious to any challenge for nearly two months, could not overcome the Thunder's pesky, virile, athletic, physical defense.
Many will point to San Antonio's failure to contain Kevin Durant in the fourth quarter of Game 4 as the reason why they are headed back home with the series knotted up. I'll rely instead on the wisdom of Gregg Popovich, who, when asked to analyze the two losses in Oklahoma, pointed to San Antonio's miserable play in the second quarter of both games. Despite leading by two in Game 1 and being tied in Game 2 following the first quarter, San Antonio headed to the locker room at halftime in both games down double digits, having scored only seventeen points in the period on both occasions. Minus the second quarters, the Spurs and Thunder are even at 185 points apiece.
Here's to a focused Spurs team in the second quarter, to go along with consistent effort elsewhere, in Game 5!