Spurs hope to avoid a Game 7


VIDEO: Inside Trax: Gregg Popovich

OKLAHOMA CITY — It took digging Matt Bonner out of mothballs and maybe a not-so-subtle couple of days of pounding a message of ferocity into their heads to wake them up, but the Spurs have regained their spirit.

Coach Gregg Popovich has done his part. Now it’s up to the Spurs to remember who they are and close the deal on the Western Conference finals in Game 6.

“Yeah, absolutely we believe we can,” said Tim Duncan on the heels of another turn-back-the-clock night of 22 points and 12 rebounds in Game 5. “It’s a tough place to play and we’ve lost however many in a row there and they’re going to be fighting for their lives.

“All those factors altogether are not going to make it an easy game for us. But we feel we play the right way. We take care of the ball. We do the things that we’ve been talking about all series long. There’s no reason why we can’t win it.”

The Spurs have lost nine consecutive games at Chesapeake Arena, including five in a row in the playoffs. The last time Duncan and his teammates won in OKC was back on March 12, 2012 when DeJuan Blair, Gary Neal and James Anderson were still wearing silver and black.

But the core of the roster remains the same along with the way the Spurs want to play the game. They have to beat the Thunder with guile and not athleticism, with patience and poise rather than trying to go outside their character.

“This is the way we’ve been playing all season long and how we need to play to win,” Duncan said, referring to the Spurs’ 117-89 win on Thursday night. “We shared the ball real well. We moved the ball real well. We moved our bodies. We took something away from them and we made them react.”

While much had been made of the Thunder trying to re-live the 2012 Western Conference finals when they came back from an 0-2 hole to sweep four straight games, actually this series full of blowouts is almost an entirely different page out of Spurs history. After winning the first two games of the 2005 NBA Finals at home, the Spurs went to Detroit and were blown out by 20 in back-to-back games. Robert Horry saved them with a dramatic shot in Game 5, but they had to return home to pull out their second championship with Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker as teammates by going a full seven games.

“I never want to go to seven games with anybody,” Ginobili said. “I wish we could win 4-0 every time. But we are playing against one of the best teams in the league with the MVP, a very talented, athletic group of players.

“Of course, we’re going to go there and try to play our best game and try to finish the series. But if it gets back [to San Antonio] and we have to play a Game 7, we’ll do it. And we know to beat a team like them, we’re going to have to work very hard. If there’s a seven, there’s a seven.”

14 Comments

  1. Max says:

    I pray Official #14 is NOT one of the Officials tonight. All he calls are charges (that are often very doubtful) and handing out a technical. But misses such antics that Westbrook (like Lance Stepson) often do that are way outside the rules that govern the NBA!

  2. Shiv says:

    Sure, the spurs would like to avoid game 7. But there is only so much that is in their hands. The refs want a game 7 with the MVP. They don’t want the MVP (who has captured a lot of hearts with his good acceptance speech) to go away in game 6. THe refs get a cut in the increased revenue, when they play a game 7. they wouldn’t want to lose that would they? So you watch my words. There will be a lot of fouls called on spurs every time Westbrook or Durant drives to the basket, no matter what the contact is. That’s how the game will start. On the other end, they will be allowed to hack the spurs whenever the spurs go to the basket (you need to feed the home crowd). So this will take the spurs out of their rhythm in the 15 mins, then they are cooked by the time they get to the half time. The free throw disparity (not counting the garbage time foul calls) will tell you all you need to know.. if the spurs shoot the ball really well (like 60% or more) then they could make up for the free throw disparity. we will see.

  3. Arnold Pineda says:

    SPURS should start Ginobili with Duncan, Diaw Leonard and Green, Tony Parker moves to 2nd unit when Ibaka sits with Mills Bellinelli Splitter and Bonner. This is a series adjustment and can beat the Thunder on match ups. SPURS in 6.

  4. JCS says:

    Author said it was the second championship of the Spurs not the first. Please read carefully. In case they lose at Chesapeake on Game 6. They can always return to San Antonio for the Game 7 and blast the Thunder for good.

  5. JCS says:

    The author said it was the second championship for the Spurs not the first. Read carefully.

  6. Michael says:

    The author is wrong. The first championship of Duncan, Ginobili and Parker as teammates was in 2002-03 season, not 2004-05.

  7. okcDoke2014 says:

    Thunder might win game 6 but all three of Spurs home games in this series have been blowouts

  8. bill says:

    really… the spurs are hoping to not lose game 6? who would’ve thought that a sports team does not want to lose a playoff game..

  9. okc2014 says:

    I can’t wait for tomorrow!!!

  10. ix says:

    I can almost guarantee an OCK Game 6 win for sure. OKC’s strategy is drive to the basket hard..make it good..if not there is a foul called by the refs. Popovich will most likely pull out his star players early and rest them again for Game 7. I’d like the Spurs to win as they are the only team that can beat the Heat. OKC if they come out of the West, guarantees a 3 – peat title for LBJ.

  11. okcDoke2014 says:

    Pop’s Spurs close it out in game 6 or 7 ?

  12. RP says:

    So why are all these articles featuring only the Spurs players and what they have to do to win? Same with the TNT and ESPN crew on tv….they’re already talking about the matchup between the Heat and the Spurs. There has really been no thought given to the Pacers or OKC being in the finals. That may well be how it turns out but it is looking awfully funny to be choosing the finals before the conferences are even final.

  13. Chris says:

    Ibaka was back, he still got a block or two. Thunder forced a few turnovers, shot near 50% (except for from deep), their ball movement was actually pretty sweet, Perkins set some good screens, and like usual OKC shot 20+ free throws. They still got blown out. A lot of OKC’s victories over the spurs have relied too heavily on the spurs making mistakes, than using the turnover to out run them, usually resulted in fast break points.. Or the defender fouling them to avoid it. IMO that was the missing ingredient for the Thunder, spurs didn’t make enough mistakes, and I don’t think OKC can beat another contender if the other contender is not making mistakes. Watch if OKC wins tomorrow, keep an eye on the free throw attempts, and points off turnovers. If they’re not high I will be shocked.

    If the thunder want to win, Durant should take advantage of the fact that the majority of people guarding him give up multiple inches doing so and pound it down low. If Durant gets a post game, He could be breaking down Lebron’s doors very soon. This is coming from a spurs fan, but I believe KD is a post game away from being the best player in the league.

    • John says:

      KD isnot a post up player. he is a perimeter player with a awesome jump shot. KAWHI or DIAW should take it to him when they have the matchup. KD will not play defense to avoid having foul problems. if he gets into foul problems he’ll be sitting on the bench.