For the 2nd consecutive playoff season the San Antonio Spurs have been eliminated before reaching the Western Conference Finals.
Two years ago they got eliminated in the opening round and this year after blowing out the Thunder in the first game they went out in the Conference semi-finals 4 games to 2.
The pasting the Spurs gave the Thunder in the opening game of the series 124 to 92 may well have comeback to haunt them. One, they could have used some of those 32 points in the 1 point and 4 point loses to OKC.
It also could well have angered the Thunder to get beat by 32 points and to be down 43-20 at the end of one quarter and down 73-40 at the half.
Along with Lamarcus Aldridge throwing in 41 points in game one. And then he threw in 38 in the second game which had a very disputed last 13.5 seconds.
A big reason for the upset was by going inside so much the Spurs did not adjust back to their normal pass and motion movement offense moving the ball as the Thunder adjusted their defenses to stop Aldridge in games 3, 4, 5 and 6.
The Spurs offense really became a 2 man game with Kawhi Leonard on the outside and Aldridge on the inside and the Spurs move the ball, move the ball, move the ball to get the open shot was no where to be found…..and that has to fall on the Spurs veteran coach Gregg “PoP” Popovich, the 5 time NBA Championship Coach.
In game 5 loss Aldridge was a poor 6 for 21 from the floor in their 95-91 loss.
In game 6 he was 9 for 18 in the Spurs 113-99 loss. So he was 15 for 39 for just 38.7% on shots mostly from 15 feet in the paint in the game 5 and 6 losses..
Thought rookie NBA coach Billy Donovan made better defensive adjustments then Veteran Coach Popovich did in making offensive adjustments to Donovan’s defensive adjustments.
Best of 7 games series are a lot different then playing one game and moving on to another opponent game after game during the regular season.
The winner of a best of 7 game series usually is the team that makes the better of the adjustments and in this series it was the Thunder and Coach Donovan, not the Spurs and Coach Popovich. Donovan for a lst year coach in the NBA playoffs with no type of best of 7 series experience just out coached the veteran, championship coach in the last 3 games.
The foul line was also a big reason for the Spurs early exit as the Thunder shot 36 more foul shots shooting 81.9% on 120 for 148 to the Spurs just 89 for 112 for 79.5%. The Thunder averaged 6 more foul shots per game then the Spurs.
The Spurs outscored the Thunder from the floor 239 FG’s out of 520 for attempts for 44.6% to 223 out of 488 for OKC. for 46.9% and also out scored them in total points scored 608 to 605 but only won 2 games yet they average 101.3 ppg to OKC’s 100.8, but OKC averaged 8 more points per game then the SPURS gave up in the 82 game regular season defensive ppg ave of 92.9 ppg, which lead the NBA in ppg allowed.
This was another reason why the Spurs lost this series giving up 7.9 more points per game in this 6 game series.
The Spurs made 41 out of 104 3’s for 37.9% to the Thunder’s 38 out of 137.for just 27.8%.
Another reason for OKC’s winning the series was they got to the foul line more off dribble penetration to the hoop more and SA settled for mostly jump shots from 8 to 15 feet by Aldridge, West, Parker, Diaz and Leonard.
Being a longtime Spurs fan this seasons playoff disappointment is no where near as bad as the 2013 championship series game six vs. the Miami Heat when “Pop” did not foul in two situations up 3 and under ten seconds to go which lead to Ray Allen’s three from the corner which tied the game and if the Spurs had fouled would have 99% (never seen a team have the game tied when they foul with under 10 seconds to go) chance of winning the title as they lost in overtime and then lost game 7 to the Heat.
Asked why the Spurs did not foul in that situation, “Pop” said we don’t believe in fouling in that situation. Well, coach, that belief only cost the Spurs, their fans and you a 6th NBA Title.