OKLAHOMA CITY – It’s easy to say the Spurs are old, because they looked it. It’s easy to say the Spurs were worn down and worn out, because that’s exactly what happened.
Don’t over-analyze it. The Thunder played like kids at recess and the Spurs might as well have been sitting in detention.
The Spurs became only the third team in history to lose four straight in the conference finals after taking a 2-0 lead. In the process, they blew the largest halftime lead in franchise history in the playoffs. And in falling over the edge in Game 6, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker were gassed at the finish.
What happened to Manu?
After piling up 34 points, seven assists and six rebounds in San Antonio in Game 5, Ginobili could never find a spark in Game 6, winding up with just 10 points on 4-for-12 shooting.
“We can’t have their legs, their energy,” he said of the Thunder. “We’re never going to jump as high or run as fast. But the first half we did a good job. We just moved the ball, found teammates, made shots. In the second half they were very active and we couldn’t find anything easy.”
What happened to Tony?
Parker was like a Roman candle at the starting, streaking to 21 points and 10 assists in the first two quarters as the Spurs built an 18-point lead that was still 15 at the intermission. Then in the second half, Parker was mostly a dud fizzling out with just eight points and two assists.
“I don’t know. I don’t what happened,” Parker said with a shrug.
So one more time, Parker had no answers just as he could never find a consistent response to the way the Thunder mostly shut down his play on the pick and roll through the final four games. After a regular season that was splendid and vaulted him into the MVP conversation, Parker couldn’t adjust and couldn’t make the OKC big men pay for jumping out aggressively to cut off his path to the hoop.
“I tried to find Timmy [Duncan],” he said. “I don’t know what happened. It’s too early.”
Actually, too late.
It was Stephen Jackson who cut through the shrugs and empty looks and the meaningless chatter.
“In the first half we were running and playing our game, taking it to them,” Jackson said. “Then the third quarter we were like running in quicksand. We didn’t play fast. We slowed the ball down. We let them get back into it.
“Look, I’m not gonna take anything away. Those young kids can play and they’re the better team. But if you look at what happened, we stopped playing. You can’t run from that.”