OKC/SA Game 6:
I'm Drunk and Everthing Sucks
By Mike Moore
June 6, 2012
[JUST SO EVERYONE'S CLEAR: I WROTE AND POSTED THIS IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE GAME. FORGIVE ANY TYPOS YOU MAY FIND, BECAUSE LIKE I SAY, I'M DRUNK AND EVERYTHING SUCKS.]
I sent that stripped down sentence to a dozen friends via text and XX00 via Facebook with about 17 seconds to go in Game 6 of the Spurs-Thunder series. It was at that point, when Ginobli’s final 3 hit iron, air, but no nylon, that the Spurs were done for the season, and for all intents and purposes, for good.
Duncan has never played better in the past five years. Ginobli was inspired throughout this entire postseason, at the age of 34. Parker, at 29, is still in his prime, but it is difficult to say that he will be as good without THIS Duncan and THIS Ginobli around him. And yes, the rest of the Spurs roster is younger than most graduate students, but that doesn’t mean the Spurs aren’t still an Old Guard team. Emphasis on the former word, there.
Since 2009, the Spurs have been called past their prime. This year, 2012, was the year to prove everyone wrong, but that just did not happen. And that is why everything sucks.
Ten days ago, the conversation was about whether or not the Spurs would lose a game in the postseason (for the record, I said they would). They had won 20 in a row, and articles were being printed about everything that had happened in the world since San Antonio had last lost a game. Call it the DJ Gallo Jinx, I’m sure he would be flattered by that, or call it premature conclusions. Either way, the conversation changed quickly.
I won’t rehash the series, because fuck you I’m drunk, but to sum it up -- The Spurs won a close game, dominated a second, and then were dismantled for four games hence. There were moments when San Antonio was close, even an entire half in Game 6 when they looked like the team from two weeks ago, but that all was brought to naught by the time that 48 minutes had expired. Basically and simply, the Thunder outlasted the Spurs four times in a row and proved everybody right.
And that is why everything sucks.
THIS was the year that the Spurs were supposed to show everybody up.
THIS was the year that sportswriters who had written off Tim Duncan back in 2009 were to be proved wrong.
THIS WAS THE YEAR TO CAP THE DYNASTY.
And now this year is over, 6 wins too early.
I can’t say for certain that the Spurs won’t get back to the Finals next year. I have been one of the assholes saying that since 2009. But if it does happen, you and I will be equally surprised.
The worst part about this loss is that the Thunder proved the Spurs’ system to be wrong. Or at least insufficient.
Up until Game 3, the Spurs existed and flourished by not giving two shits what the other team was doing. So long as they could play well and focus on their own execution, they would win. Because no matter what the other team did, if the Spurs were playing well, they would come out victorious.
This series, the Spurs were doing their system, and they lost. Cutters were blocked, big 3s were answered on the other end, and the pick-n-rolls that seemed unstoppable throughout 50 wins were getting plugged up by Durant, Westbrook, and Harden. Teamwork lost out to star power, and nothing -- NOTHING -- could be more heart-wrenching.
My eyes mist as I type this.
I grew up with the Spurs, and I loved them. Not because I was a hometown boy, I moved to San Antonio when I was 6 (I’m a Royals fans for godssake), but because when I did arrive, I had a model unit I could look to and aspire to. David Robinson was the leader I always wanted to be. Sean Elliot was the friend and comrade to always be counted on. J.R. Reid is the community-first I still remember to this day, because he talked to me once in the doctor’s office when I was sick and he had a day rest. J. R., if you’re reading this, I still have your signed banner on my wall.
That team eventually won a championship because it was built on trust, and that carried through to Tim’s team, then Manu’s team, and now to Tony’s team. It has been wonderful, and inspiring, and film session-fodder for years. TRUST in your teammates, and you will prevail.
Until tonight, because tonight that trust lost out to three guys. It proved the formula: TEAM < STARS, and nothing could hurt me more.
Because the real pain here, is that Popovich will not win another championship. The man who has won 4 rings and developed the most talent, and who every player wishes they could play for, will not have a crowning achievement. Not to say 4 rings is anything to pish-posh at, I’m sure Scott Skiles wouldn’t mind 2, but that Pop has done his most magnificent coaching job this season (I will fight you if you disagree) and that it ended in four straight losses. Not only has he successfully turned Tim’s team into Manu’s team into Tony’s team without anyone noticing until 8 weeks ago, he’s managed a roster with an average age of 26.5, one of the youngest in the NBA, which is something completely against his grain, but he has executed magnificently.
My eyes mist because of a passing, but not a voluntary one.
You don’t take the flame from the Old Guard if they’re not willing to give it, and surely enough San Antonio was not ready (although Joey Crawford was. A conversation for another time). The Spurs fought as hard as they could, it seemed, but not for as long as the Thunder could. But they fought, and they fought, until the game was over. And even when it was, when I was sending texts with 17 seconds to go, the Spurs kept fighting.
This sounds like an obituary because it is. The Spurs will not win another championship, not with this squad. Tim Duncan will retire a Spur with 4 rings, as will Pop, and if Tony plays for another team it will feel wrong, like Emmitt Smith with the Cardinals. We will be lucky to see another squad play like a team the way San Antonio has done this past decade, and the odds are not in our favor.
I’m certain to have bastard children and I will raise them as Spurs fans. They will wear fiesta-colored onesies and their first words will be “David Robinson.” I’ll show them footage from the 1995 season through the 2012 season, and hopefully beyond. Those poor bastards. They will know about when to go from man to zone, how to properly space a perimeter team, how to flood the paint when you have the size. They will understand ball movement and interpret the genius behind Manu Ginobli’s cutters better than I ever could.
And they will also know that they should surround themselves with people they can trust, because those people will help you succeed. And even if you lose, like the Spurs did tonight, those friends and teammates will be there right along side you.
And you all can go out, get drunk, and say “everything sucks.”
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