I hate losing. I really hate it. Last year in the finals, I couldn't watch the games. If we won, I'd go watch a replay, and the soak in as much of the media as I could until the next game. If we lost, I would hide in a closet until the next game (metaphorically). So, when I say that I'm glad the Spurs got destroyed tonight, I hope you don't take me wrong.
I remember 2012. 10 game win streak to end the season. Blow through two rounds of playoffs without losing a game. Get halfway through the third round, and hit a brick wall. Yeah, it got hard. But the problem was, there had been too much success. Little things like putting some zip on passes, hyper vigilant ball care, fighting through screens, staying on top of hot shooters, not over-helping, shooting with strength and confidence when guys are bumping and holding and you're not getting calls, and other little things, well, they got out of the habit of doing them. And they were facing a team that was very close to them in terms of overall caliber.
Now, they are facing a team that is not nearly their equal. And almost to a man, they look flat. They do not look like they have a sense of mission or a sense of urgency. They look like they are trying to do the bare minimum required to get past this team. They've gotten into this habit. This is normal for them. They are in regular season mode. In the regular season, if one night a team comes out in playoff mode while you're in regular season mode, it's just one loss. But most of the time, it is enough.
The playoffs have arrived, but most of these guys aren't in playoff mode, mentally, or physically. They aren't ready for the extra contact. They aren't ready for the smaller space on their shots. They aren't ready for the quicker rotations. They aren't ready to match intensity. After all, it's been enough up until now. I'm really not even sure if the coaching staff has been as good as they could have been. Part of coaching is providing a sense of the moment, especially to younger players. Part of it is lighting a fire under them.
With this loss, and with the previous poor outing, SA is looking like hey did last year against GSW. They look bad. Dallas looks like they are the better team. Dallas is playing in a higher gear. Dallas is looking like they are going to pull off the upset. You can expect to hear that over the next few days.
I expect the Spurs to come out and play differently. I expect this to like a splash of cold water. I expect that they realize that they need to be quicker, stronger, faster, sharper, not rely on being better. I'm hoping that we see playoff spurs in the next game. I'm expecting it.