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Oklahoma City Thunder: Spurs prove it's hard to win in West

by Berry Tramel Modified: May 23, 2014 at 9:53 am •  Published: May 23, 2014
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photo - San Antonio's Manu Ginobili (20) gets by Oklahoma City's Reggie Jackson (15) during Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals in the NBA playoffs between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the San Antonio Spurs at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Wednesday, May 21, 2014. Photo by Sarah Phipps
San Antonio's Manu Ginobili (20) gets by Oklahoma City's Reggie Jackson (15) during Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals in the NBA playoffs between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the San Antonio Spurs at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Wednesday, May 21, 2014. Photo by Sarah Phipps

2009: As a No. 3 seed, the Spurs were beaten 4-1 in the first round by the Dallas Mavericks. That was not a vintage Mav team, but San Antonio won just four more games (54-50) than did Dallas during the season.

2010: As a No. 7 seed, the Spurs returned the favor against Dallas, upsetting the No. 2 seeded Mavericks. But third-seeded Phoenix swept the Spurs in the West semifinals.

2011: As a No. 1 seed, the Spurs were upset by Memphis 4-2 in the first round.

2012: As a No. 1 seed, the Spurs were beaten by the Thunder 4-2 in the West finals.

So in five seasons, the Spurs went 5-5 in series. Think about that. Gregg Popovich and Ginobili and Tony Parker and Tim Duncan, with all kinds of pieces around them, went .500 over five playoff seasons.

It’s a valuable lesson. It’s hard to win in the NBA West.

by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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