It's been two years since the 2012 WCF where the Spurs lost four in a row to the Thunder, who went on to be walloped by the Miami Heat. We haven't lived it down since. We constantly hear how the "old" Spurs can't handle OKC's youth and athleticism, but we can beat everybody else. I am certain that the Spurs CAN beat the Thunder. I only get nervous when the Spurs have to beat the Thunder AND the referees.
In the aforementioned 2012 WCF, I witnessed Tony Parker getting mugged going to the basket, but no call. Tim Duncan held and grabbed and hacked but no call. Yet, Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Russell Westbrook paraded to the free throw line a gazillion times on comparatively touch fouls or plays where they jumped into a defender. I saw at least three blatant goal tends by Serge Ibaka in key moments that were not called.
And then there's the infamous game 6 of the 2012 WCF where during the latter sequence of the second half, EVERY official call in the book went against the Spurs to eradicate what had been a comfortable lead to little of nothing. The Thunder won a close game after the damage was done. Of course the Spurs took the high road and said they didn't make plays, etc.
Last night, I saw officials hand the Thunder another "hard fought" victory. I don't even like Chris Paul. Blake Griffin hasn't done enough to receive all the hype that he gets. To the Thunder's credit, they DID rattle Paul and the Clippers over the last 3 minutes. That being said, OKC should have lost anyway! You can't give the Thunder the ball, then reward them with 3 free throws on at best a touch foul!
Remember Manu being assaulted going to the basket after Ray Allen's game-tying three in game 6 of last year's NBA finals; (I counted at least 3 uncalled fouls on that play), but commentators explained away that refs can't determine the outcome, because even one free throw would have virtually sealed the NBA title for the Spurs.
My point, I hate NBA bias, because it seems to always go AGAINST the Spurs; it did during the old Laker rivalries and again recently when facing the Heat and Thunder. If the refs in last night's Clippers-Thunder game wanted to be fair, they could have called for a jump ball. At least that gives the appearance of impartiality. The Thunder played well enough to win, but they got help. That's my fear when the Spurs get on the big stage, not they aren't good enough to defeat the Thunder or Heat, but that they have to defeat their opponents plus the officiating, and we may not possess the skill to do both.