Thunder-Spurs series is as unexplainable as it gets

How do you explain what is happening in this series? These were the two best teams in the entire NBA during the regular season, two heavyweights, and every time they’ve played in the past week or so, one of them has struggled to stay within two touchdowns of the other.
by Jenni Carlson Published: May 30, 2014

Gregg Popovich has as much basketball knowledge in that head topped with short-cropped gray hair as anyone on the planet.

Even he is struggling to explain this wacky series.

Thursday night, after another blowout by the home team, a reporter asked Popovich how in the heck he explains five games, five shellackings in these Western Conference Finals. The Spurs coach sat and stared for a long moment.

“You’re serious?” he finally asked. “You really think I can explain that?”

The reporter kept after it.

Reporter: “In simplest terms.”

Pop: Smirk.

Reporter: “I know you can.”

Smile.

“The question is, will you?”

“Good Lord. And they pay you, don’t they?”

“Very little.”

Big laugh.

“Thus the question. You’re not worth much.”

And that was that. A fun exchange. A good time was had by all, but there was still no answer to the question — how do you explain what is happening in this series? These were the two best teams in the entire NBA during the regular season, two heavyweights, and every time they’ve played in the past week or so, one of them has struggled to stay within two touchdowns of the other.

“It’s the craziest series I’ve ever been involved in,” said Tim Duncan, the most veteran of all the veteran Spurs. “The back and forth, the changes, the leads and the wins. I don’t know how to explain it.”

Craziest series ever? That’s saying something. Duncan and the Spurs have been involved in some doozies over the years. Legendary series. Memorable series.

But on the crazy scale, this one ranks at the top.

“It is pretty strange,” Spur super sub Manu Ginobili acknowledged. “I remember the Finals in ’05 against Detroit. We won both games here by 20, and we lost the first two over there by 20. Then, Game 5 went to overtime.”

In that series, the home team won five of the seven games as the Spurs claimed their third of four titles.

Even though it seems likely that Game 6 on Saturday night in Oklahoma City will be close — the Spurs seem to have figured out a way to solve their Serge problem — San Antonio’s role players have struggled on the road. Oklahoma City’s have been super at home. So, maybe another blowout is coming.


by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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