Thanks to LatinD for the help in translating this. Manu wrote it for LaNacion, the Buenos Aires newspaper.
SAN ANTONIO. - The night after the game was the most difficult of all. It's the journey back home that you do not want to take, with all your teammates with their heads down, not talking. Then you cannot sleep a wink, and a thousand things go through your head. Your body relaxes because the tension is over and everything hurts. Of course, at 7.30 at home the kids' biological alarm clock rings and they heal all wounds.
We have nothing to regret. There comes a time when you face a team that plays better than yours and they beat you, period. It may sound simple, but that's how it is, that's sports. Oklahoma City has more talent than us and they beat us fair and square.
I do not think the series was defined by a matter of X’s and O’s, (Note from LD: Manu called this "crosses and circles", trying to explain it to Argentina) as they call tactical matters here. They have an above average talent and exploited it at the moment that counted most. Things came easy for them, naturally, and they always found good shots. Everything cost a lot more for us.
And about talent? It especially happened in the fourth game, when we were playing well. We had a close game and then Kevin Durant put all the responsibility in his hands. He is very long, measuring 2.06 meters, but he seems to be 2.10. He gets in a groove and you cannot stop him. We did not know what to do! There is no way. If you double-team him he scores anyway or finds someone with an open shot. He's the kind of player who makes these things happen. It was he who tipped the scale in the decisive moments.
Somehow, we too have been in the situation of having someone like him when we won the championships, with some shot by Robert Horry in 2005, or some by Tony in 2007. There are always plays like those that determine the winner in such a close series. This time it was Durant.
Nevertheless, it is logical that it hurts because we were up 2-0, and finding yourself so close, after such a great season, fed our illusions.
All in all, it was a spectacular season. Nobody considered us in their predictions. Indeed, some even put us out of the playoffs, and as always, we found a way to stand out, even winning the Western Conference during the regular season, which is the most even of the conferences, the most difficult. And we were first with a very high winning percentage, playing well, overcoming injuries.
Pop did a great job giving young players a place, some of them unknowns, as Danny Green; Gary Neal, who had played the previous year without even having passed through the draft; Kawhi Leonard, a 20-year-old rookie starter, and Tiago, with a great season. All were added to the usual base.
We clearly surpassed expectations. I'm not happy, because I'm in one of the best teams in the NBA and the goal is always to win the championship. But if I gain some perspective from the frustration, I quickly realize that it was a good year.
About the future, I can say that it is always the same. Everyone says that the window is closing, that our chances are over, that we are old, but we still finish at the top. We won the West again. I don't know if the team can be repeated, I don't know what will happen with those whose contracts are finished, but I'm sure that Tim will renew his and continue with us. I have blind trust that the front office and Pop will put together a team with a chance to win the championship, which is what I always felt in my 10 years playing in the NBA. Next season we will have a serious team and we will fight near the top again.
What's left in front of me is a short vacation, and in 15 days I will be in Buenos Aires with the national team. Somehow it's good not to stop for such a long time, because after so many years, it is more and more difficult to start from scratch, and falling out of rhythm makes preseasons more difficult. So, a short break and then to start thinking of London.