Spurs rely on togetherness to overcome collapse

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 19, 2013 at 6:13 pm •  Published: June 19, 2013
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In an effort to keep the team together and not dwell on the opportunity that just slipped away, the Spurs went to dinner — together, of course — after Game 6 to share some stories and clear their heads.

"It helped," Duncan said. "It did. The other option is a bunch of us go back to our rooms and sit in our rooms and sit there by ourselves and beat yourself up. So it's always good to be around teammates and kind of get some stuff out in the open. We did exactly that.

"We'll be ready to rock."

This is not the first difficult defeat the Spurs have ever had. There was Derek Fisher's prayer of a shot with 0.4 seconds on the clock in Game 5 of the 2004 Western Conference semifinals. There was Ginobili's foul on Dirk Nowitzki late in Game 7 of the 2006 Western Conference semifinals that allowed the Mavericks to force overtime and eventually beat the Spurs. And there was a home loss against the Detroit Pistons in Game 6 of the 2005 NBA Finals that pushed the series to seven.

But the Spurs have never been this close to having their hands on the trophy and failed to close it out. These robotic Spurs finally let their guard down last night, showing the raw disappointment that comes with such a defeat. Ginobili, who turned the ball over eight times and couldn't convert a layup in the closing moments of overtime, took it particularly hard.

"A competitor feels it deeply, and really, really tough loss in that regard," Popovich said. "I expect Manu to feel like that after the game. But he'll be fine."

Ginobili will turn 36 in July and is in the final year of his contract. Duncan is 37 and Popovich is 64. Once again, everyone is wondering how much longer these Spurs can stick together.

Right now, the only thing that matters is that they can do it for one more game.

"We are close. We've been through a lot of stuff," Ginobili said. "Not like this, but we believe in the challenge. We think that it can make it even sweeter.

"And besides, there's no other option."

As Ginobili said after Game 6, there is no Game 8.

"I think everybody wants to be ready for (Thursday)," Parker said. "Because if you're not ready for tomorrow, you're going to regret it for the next 10, 15 years."

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Follow Jon Krawczynski on Twitter: http://twitter.com/APKrawczynski

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