Spurs super sub Manu Ginobili said, “We cannot take anything for granted. We had a great start and ended up losing the series (two years ago).”
Lots can change in two years’ time, and yet, both of these teams are largely the same now as they were then. The Thunder still has seven of its top eight players from that series — James Harden is the only one who’s departed — and while the Spurs have parted ways with Stephen Jackson and Gary Neal, eight of their top nine players were around two years ago.
The guys in black and silver don’t have to talk about what happened, though Ginobili said they did discuss it in the locker room after Game 2. Everyone knows the hurt that they felt. They were there, experiencing the disappointment, living the heartbreak.
Remember, too, that Spurs team was on an utterly amazing run. Those first two wins of the Western Conference Finals pushed San Antonio’s winning streak to 20 games. It had won the final 10 games of the regular season, then swept through the first two rounds of the playoffs.
It was only the fourth team in NBA history to win 20 games in a row.
And yet, the streak that stands out to the Spurs from that season was the four-game losing skid that ended their year.
“We’ve been here before in the past against these guys,” Green said.
That might be a Thunder refrain these days, but it’s every bit as much a Spurs’ rallying cry as this series moves to Oklahoma City.
The fellas from the Alamo City remember.
Jenni Carlson: Jenni can be reached at 475-4125. Like her at facebook.com/JenniCarlsonOK, follow her at twitter.com/jennicarlson_ok or view her personality page at newsok.com/jennicarlson.