Spurs Link-And-Roll – 6.7.12


Fran Blineburry of NBA.com: “It’s easy to say the Spurs are old, because they looked it. It’s easy to say the Spurs were worn down and worn out, because that’s exactly what happened. Don’t over-analyze it. The Thunder played like kids at recess and the Spurs might as well have been sitting in detention. The Spurs became only the third team in history to lose four straight in the conference finals after taking a 2-0 lead. In the process, they blew the largest halftime lead in franchise history in the playoffs. And in falling over the edge in Game 6, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker were gassed at the finish.”

Jenni Carlson of The Oklahoman: “Oh, the Thunder superstar celebrated plenty with his teammates on Wednesday night. But in the waning seconds of game like no other Oklahoma City has ever seen, Durant wanted a moment with his other team. Team Durant. On a night that will leave Oklahoma City with plenty of memorable moments, none was more special than his family’s group hug. Durant walked over to his mom and his brother and wrapped them in a big ol’ bear hug.”

Bradford Doolitte at ESPN.com (Insider): “The Spurs have one, basic glaring need on their roster, though they are far from the only team to have this void: They need someone who can guard the unguardable Kevin Durant. Durant is a lightning bolt that has electrified the league from basketball’s Olympus, a freakish scourge who isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.”

Edg5 of Pounding the Rock: “There will be time to analyze this season with the depth it deserves and figure out what it means for the Spurs going forward. Some players struggled making their mark, some stepped up beyond our most optimistic predictions and some came right around the middle. I wish I could offer some insight as to what could have been done differently or how to proceed from here, but to be honest with you, this series and this game in particular has been too draining for me to be able to think clearly. I’m not a journalist; I’m a fan and one that takes this types of losses pretty badly. For now, the only thing I can say is that I count myself lucky to be able to experience this heartbreak; not a lot of teams get to go this far into the playoffs and even some of the Spurs’ loyal believed that our days of actually contending for a championship were over.”

Paul Garcia of Project Spurs: “One of the most overstated messages about the game of basketball is that you have to play for a full 48-minutes. It’s not one good quarter, one great half, but a complete 48-minute ball game. The San Antonio Spurs’ season came to an end on Wednesday night as the Spurs were eliminated from the Western Conference Finals by the Oklahoma City Thunder 107-99 in six games, due to the Spurs playing just 36-minutes of good basketball, not 48.”

Tim Griffin of the San Antonio Express News: “Nothing against the real River Walk, the Alamo or even his team’s plush accommodations tucked into the Texas Hill Country. Even facing an 18-point deficit late in the first quarter, Kevin Durant was determined to make sure his team didn’t have to make another trip south of the Red River.”

Former Austin Toro Malcolm Thomas was added to the US Select Team.

Buck Harvey of the San Antonio Express News: “Gregg Popovich tried to look at this through Russell Westbrook’s rose-colored glasses, and that was a mistake. For one, Westbrook’s frames don’t have any lenses. For another, it won’t change the sting. This was the Spurs’ best and maybe last chance. They were healthy, with the home-court advantage, just two wins from the NBA Finals.”

John Hollinger of ESPN.com (Insider): “Of course, all kinds of assorted random things can happen to derail a potential dynasty; we had similar thoughts when Cleveland broke through to beat Detroit in 2007, and that remains the franchise’s lone appearance in the NBA Finals. And we’ve had several other recent dynastic hopefuls, from Portland to Houston to Chicago, undermined by devastating injuries to key players. But this one feels different. The Thunder are young, healthy and built to last — all four key players are 23 or younger. Moreover, I genuinely believe they turned a corner in Game 4 in particular; the Spurs had counted on the Thunder not being able to make the extra pass because the Thunder hadn’t all season. In this series, they made it nearly every time. Seemingly overnight, they went from relying on overwhelming talent to offset questionable decisions, to using smart decisions to magnify their overwhelming talent.”

Andrew Kennedy of Thunderous Intentions: “Kevin Durant gave NBA fans one of the great performances in NBA history in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals against the San Antonio Spurs. Durant played all 48 minutes of Game 6, scored 34 points to go with 14 rebounds and five assists as the Thunder beat the Spurs 107-99 and advance to the NBA Finals. But Durant will be the first one to tell you it isn’t about him. The Thunder won as a team. They beat the Spurs together. This is true. But Durant was nasty.”

LatinD of Pounding the Rock: “I hope warts appear in dank, out-of-the-way zones of your shriveled bodies. You have singlehandedly encouraged every NBA conspiracy theorist amongst the Spurs fanbase for the next 20 years. As much as it irks me to complains about the calls, as if that should be beneath me, I felt for once that you truly helped decide the outcome of this game. Let players play in an elimination game of the Western Conference Finals. You killed every single ounce of momentum the Spurs had, and did your very best to take Jackson out of his game, on a night where he was invincible. You awarded free throws to Durant for a play that the rules say does not call for free throws. You pushed and prodded and butted your way into the thick of this game’s flow, and did not call it evenly. Fuck you for not doing your job on a night where the dreams of thousands of fans partly depended on your performance. Fuck. You.”

Sebastian Pruiti of Grantland delved into the simple yet devastating set that Oklahoma City ran.

Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman: “The stench of cigar smoke didn’t fill the air inside the home locker room at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Not a single champagne bottle was in sight. The celebration — if you dare deem it such — that capped the biggest victory in Oklahoma City Thunder history was about as constrained as it could possibly be. Because the job is not done. The Thunder is advancing to the NBA Finals for the first time in the franchise’s Oklahoma City era after a 107-99 win over the San Antonio Spurs in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals on Wednesday night.”

Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News: “The final horn sounded on a disappointing end to an unexpected season, and Tim Duncan began scanning the floor of Chesapeake Energy Arena, a man still on a mission. The vanquished Spurs forward gave a laudatory hug to every Oklahoma City player he could find, to Thunder coach Scott Brooks, to half the coaching staff. OKC had just banked a come-from-behind 107-99 victory in Game 6 of the Western Conference finals Wednesday, closing out the Spurs to punch its ahead-of-schedule ticket to the NBA Finals. Congratulations complete, Duncan began the long, slow walk toward the losing locker room and into a future more uncertain.”

Aaron McGuire at 48 Minutes of Hell: “Alright. I’m gonna be honest. Before the dismal, dismal Game 5 performance by the Spurs, I had a day where I could barely eat food. I ate less than a quarter of a Chipotle burrito and a small handful of fries from my girlfriend’s burger. The entire day. There was a pit in the bottom of my stomach as deep as the Mariana Trench. I spent the following day eating very little as well, with nerves and sadness overcoming the unyielding hunger I felt rattle my bones. I couldn’t eat because I felt as though any food would make me vomit, any food would cause me to immediately regret the action of consumption — I was that worried about my team. I’ve told many people this, and it’s true — this is one of my favorite Spurs teams of all time.”

Andrew McNeill of 48 Minutes of Hell: “I love Kawhi Leonard as much as anyone, but he struggled in the second half. He made a lot of mental mistakes, especially defensively, that helped do in the Spurs. Re-watch the game and view how many second half possessions that end in a Thunder basket and Stephen Jackson pointing to Kawhi where he should’ve been. Leonard will be a special player in the NBA, but he’s still a 20-year-old rookie in the Western Conference Finals.”

Mike Monroe of the San Antonio Express-News: ” After a season in which he didn’t miss a single game because of injury, his scoring and rebounding averages up, his energy increased to a level that had the entire NBA trying to figure out the location of the fountain of youth in which he had bathed during the long offseason, the end of the Spurs season hit team captain Tim Duncan hard Wednesday. Duncan made 11 of 23 shots, scored 25 points, grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds, blocked two shots and had two assists in Game 6, doing what he could to extend the season.”

Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman: “A city that seven years ago didn’t even have a pipedream of being an NBA port now is on the league’s grandest stage. With streamers falling and the crowd still yelling, Thunder chairman Clay Bennett told the fans and a national television audience, “All I can think of is how this incredible group of young men has unified this city and this state.”

Wayne Vore of The Big Fundamental: “I watched game 1. I went to game 2. I saw game 3 in a bar with friends and beer. I haven’t seen a minute of game 4. I watched most of the fourth quarter of game 5. Finally, with life almost returning to normal, I watched all of game 6. I’m not sure what happened between games 2 and 6, but the Spurs were a completely different team by the end. No depth. No confidence. No patience. No believe in teammates. No discipline. It’s an awful thing to watch in your team. Especially after they have spent all season proving to you that they have exactly those qualities.”

Royce Young of the Daily Thunder: “Just as he has in every other home game of his career, Kevin Durant left his postgame media availability walking through the underground halls of Chesapeake Energy Arena shaking hands with ushers and security guards, thanking each one. He was on his way back to the court, a place he just brilliantly performed on, to see his friends and family. He arrived, kissed his mother, shook hands with his friends and stood and talked. He took pictures with about 40 different people. Then like any other night, Durant and his family exited the floor together, but this time were walking to somewhere different, somewhere new. Somewhere he’s dreamed about, somewhere he has seemed destined to be.”

Trevor Zickgraf of Project Spurs: “Losing to a team like the Oklahoma City Thunder is fine, but it’s the losing in general part I have a problem with. You always want your team to win a title, but there are certain years where you get “that feeling” and most Spurs fans had it really up until somewhere around the Game Four or Game Five loss. I didn’t even want this as a selfish fan, but for the head coach that made almost every right call there was to make this season. I wanted it for the 2011 NBA All-Star who accepted his role as a Sixth Man again. Most of all I wanted it for Tim Duncan. To see him catch Kobe in the ring department, possibly double him up in the Finals MVP collection, would’ve been possibly my favorite moment ever as a Spurs fan. Watching him the last couple of games you could almost tell that might have been his favorite moment ever too (getting another ring anyways, who knows if he cares about Kobe).”