The Spurs popped the Thunder 101-98 Sunday night in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals, a game not as close as the score indicates, even though the Thunder led by nine with 111/2 minutes left.
And here’s the sobering fact for the Thunder: these Baby Boomers, despite performances that drift between exhilarating and maddening, always seem to play to playoff form. They are wonderfully consistent in this regard. The Thunder has played six playoff series the last three seasons. All six have been won by the higher seed.
When the Thunder was supposed to win, it won. When it was supposed to lose, it lost.
Look at it. The Thunder lost to the Lakers in 2010 and the Mavs in 2011 when Los Angeles and Dallas had homecourt advantage. The Thunder dispatched Denver and Memphis in 2011, and Dallas and the Lakers in 2012, when Oklahoma City had homecourt advantage.
So that portends doom for this Thunder squad. Hard to beat a team like the Spurs. Hard to beat a team like the Spurs. Hard to beat a team like the Spurs when they have homecourt advantage. Hard to beat a team like the Spurs when they have homecourt advantage and win Game 1.
For the Thunder to win this series, it now doesn’t have to win four of seven. It has to win four of six. And if Game 2 is lost, then the Thunder must win four of five. That makes Game 2 paramount.