Coming off of their fifth NBA title in 2014, the 2015 San Antonio Spurs were looking to finally accomplish what they'd never been able to do in the past: repeat as champions. Unfortunately for them, a terrible playoff seeding rule ended up playing a big role in preventing that.
Finishing with a record of 55-27, San Antonio was tied for the fourth-best record in the Western Conference, but a rule stating division winners were guaranteed a top-four seed gave the Portland Trail Blazers (51-31) the fourth seed in the West. Because of that, the Spurs had to open up their 2015 postseason on the road against the third-seeded LA Clippers (56-26).
The series turned into a seven-round bout of heavyweights that had no business taking place in the first round. The fight ultimately led to the Spurs being knocked out of the playoffs early and the Clippers running out of gas in the next round against the Houston Rockets.
In a recent episode of The Old Man & the Three, Redick recalled how their playoff season came to an unexpected end thanks in part to the Clippers' brutal first-round series against the Spurs.
"You're like, 'we're still better than these guys [the Rockets].' We go to Game 7 and came out of a timeout in the second half. I was like, 'I don't think I've ever been this tired in my life.' "
The Clippers were in another heated battle in a Game 7 after just having won an emotional, two-point, loser-goes-home game against the Spurs in the previous series.
"It was an accumulation of the series against the Spurs," said Redick to former teammate Blake Griffin on the podcast. "In that Spurs series, we were so mentally locked in," responded Griffin. Redick then revealed just how much of a mental toll that series took on him
"It's so weird because I've played in a lot of playoff games and it was the only series I cried after that we'd won," said Redick. "They were the defending champs and I feel like we took their best shot." While it was Chris Paul that ultimately sunk the Spurs, Redick was a key factor in the Clippers' narrow series victory, scoring 13.7 points per game on 41.7 percent shooting from the outside.
After the 2015 playoffs, the NBA's Board of Governors decided to seed playoff teams by best record only, preventing another situation that cost San Antonio dearly that season.