Thunder-Spurs: The truth may hurt, but the better team won

COMMENTARY — The Western Conference Finals proved the Thunder is a good team that can be great, but the Spurs are better and showed it in their 112-107 overtime victory in Game 6.
by Berry Tramel Published: June 1, 2014

But the Spurs are smart and wise and skilled. They’ve got young guns themselves, in Leonard and Green, plus ageless veterans in Tim Duncan and Ginobili. The Thunder thought it had caught the Spurs two years ago, with that West championship, but the Spurs are better now than they were then.

If nothing else, this San Antonio team is a great lesson for the Thunder. The general ascension/decline of teams, based on age and experience, is not absolute. The Thunder doesn’t automatically get better just because its stars are young. The Spurs didn’t automatically get worse just because their stars were old.

“We’ve worked every day since July to be in this position, to climb to the top, and we came up six games short,” said Scotty Brooks. “We have to keep our heads up and move on.”

Said Westbrook, “We’re definitely not going to give up. Come back next year and be better and be stronger, be wiser.”

The Thunder was plenty wise enough. The Spurs just made more plays in Game 6, the only tight game of the series.

The biggest play was Ginobili’s 3-pointer that gave the Spurs a 100-99 lead with 27.1 seconds left in regulation, courtesy of an illegal screen by Duncan. But those things even out. Ibaka’s block of a Ginobili layup a possession earlier looked very much like goaltending.

Then in overtime, the Spurs countered the Thunder’s moves, taking advantage of OKC’s small lineup to free Duncan for seven points.

Turns out, the Spurs were just better. Now they get to play Miami again to find out if they’re best.

Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at . He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.


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...
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