The Margin: Oklahoma City Thunder 107, San Antonio Spurs 99

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The Spurs fell to the Thunder in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals. There are other media outlets that will give you a more comprehensive look at Game 6 or a more objective look, but that’s their job. We’re here to tell you how we see it. You know the drill for The Margin. One bullet for every point in the difference of the final score. Make sure you touch the line each time.

  • The Spurs scored 34 points in the first quarter and 36 points in the second half. What more should I say? If you watched the game, you understand.
  • Tim Duncan’s hesitation from the mid-range in the third quarter didn’t help the Spurs. Sebastian Pruiti mentioned it on our podcast Wednesday, and even more so on Grantland, but that was a big key for the Spurs. Duncan was aggressive from 15-18 feet in the first half and not so much in the second. San Antonio could’ve used some decisiveness.
  • I love Kawhi Leonard as much as anyone, but he struggled in the second half. He made a lot of mental mistakes, especially defensively, that helped do in the Spurs. Re-watch the game and view how many second half possessions that end in a Thunder basket and Stephen Jackson pointing to Kawhi where he should’ve been. Leonard will be a special player in the NBA, but he’s still a 20-year-old rookie in the Western Conference Finals.
  • Danny Green could’ve cost himself a lot of money during these Western Conference Finals, while potentially saving the Spurs millions. It’s amazing how these things turn out.
  • We saw a lot of possible narratives fall with the Spurs tonight. Included with the group were the “offense can win championships,” “you can go 10 deep in the playoffs,” and “Stephen Jackson is a crazy person” story lines. The final one is the only one I enjoyed.
  • I was really hoping Spurs Sports & Entertainment could’ve captured the elusive championship double involving a D-League title and NBA championship, proving definitively that they were the best franchise in professional basketball.
  • This was probably my favorite Spurs team of all-time. The personalities involved mixed with the mish-mash of youth and veterans. That said…
  • …defense wins championships.
  • New_Mexico_Spurs_Fan

    Losers DO blame the refs.  Losers also kick the fans of the opposing team when they’re down.

  • theghostofjh

    If you don’t like the “bitching”, go somewhere else!

  • Len

    Nobody here has said that the Spurs played great after halftime.  The 3rd quarter was terrible for the boys in black n silver.  

    But the facts are, that the game was very close in the 4th qtr.  The Thunder got a half dozen very favorable calls.  Take away 3 or 4 of those calls, and the finish would have played out very differently.  

    Anyone trying to avoid that, such as Patty ChewToy, is an ignorant troll.

    Take a lesson from 405Thunder and learn to win with honesty and class.

  • New_Mexico_Spurs_Fan

    Regarding riding high, 405 we know how you feel . . . ENJOY IT!  and kudos to you for your post and being gracious in victory.

  • theghostofjh

    Take your delusional nonsense somewhere else. It was so blatantly obvious that the calls were not even, you’d have to be blind or a liar to not admit it. That’s just a fact.

    It’s not just a game out in someone’s back yard. There’s tons of money involved, and it’s played on a HUGE stage. It therefore needs to be conducted with the utmost care to preserve the fairness and integrity of the sport. The league and its officials failed miserably throughout this series, but the 4th quarter of game six Wednesday night, June 6th, 2002, took the cake. They just put a dagger in the heart of NBA basketball. If this continues next year, it will ultimately change the game, and its fan base, for years to come. I for one will not be a party to a fraud. Truth and fairness are more important to me than professional basketball.

  • theghostofjh

    “If the Thunder out and out beat the Spurs that would be one thing, but
    to essentially have the WCF handed to them by the referees is too much
    to handle.”

    Totally agree.

  • TD BestEVER

    I agree the Spurs have plenty of mistakes that they made to loose the game….but giving KD 6 FT’s in like 3 min early in the 4th aloowed OKC to stay close and even take the lead while not playing so well…….. And then they did the rest

  • Patrick Chewing

    You’re right, I should let you guys have your self-help forum.

  • Este

     Nate, I’m assuming you’re an OKC, maybe you’re not but just in case here’s a tip since I know you’re kind of new to this winning thing. When your team wins be happy, celebrate have a good time but don’t go trolling around on other teams blogs.

  • Len

    For someone so interested in the facts, it’s odd that u hide behind sarcasm so much.  

    Hypocritical troll?  Facts say yes.

  • Toms

    I think Shaq did a grate job if guarding Tim Duncan. I just heard on ESPN that Duncan is in trade negotiations with the Phoenix Suns. We don’t want to lose Duncan-he makes great donuts.

  • theghostofjh

    Exactly. What a cruel joke.

  • Este

     Are you high?

  • Len

    Az handle sounds like a Suns fan jumping on the Thunder bandwagon.  

    A bitter Suns fan?  Who would have believed it. :)

  • theghostofjh

    “Don’t get me wrong, I think OKC was the better team in this series, but
    they’re good enough without the benefit of so many questionable calls.”

    No, not necessarily. The foul discrepancy was so great, particularly in the 4tyh period, that it literally gave OKC game six. That is unquestionable, which heretofore had been rare in key NBA games. We win game six, and we have a GREAT chance ant winning game seven, AND the series.

  • theghostofjh

    Totally agree.

  • Esco

    I just wish the refs would call the same call for each team. It seemed like the last few minutes every defensive foul and more than half of the offensive possetions were fouls. I think the Thunder were pulled into winning game 7 by bad calls.

  • theghostofjh

    “The game of basketball is a shameful matter when refs tip the scales. 
    Congrats to OKC for having a great team…but tainted is their trip to
    the finals by wrongful acts of officiating.”

    Exactly. I like OKC. They’re a good team, and well-coached. However, unfortunately for them, they should not be rewarded for being the beneficiary of a fraud committed by league game officials. As a result, I will now be rooting for Boston to get to the finals and beat them. If Miami gets there, I will not be watching.

  • spurINhouston

     Dude, what era are you living in? 1) the word “grate” is only used when in the context of cheese, 2) the only thing Shaq is guarding these days is a TNT microphone, 3) Duncan would never be traded — especially to the Suns, 4) Dunkin-Donuts is spelled with a K, not with a “c”, 5) you are terrible at trolling.

  • theghostofjh

    Great list. Amazingly enough, I’m not sure it’s complete. I’ve been watching NBA basketball for decades, and I’ve never seen anything even close to being this one sided. This was an absolute disgrace and a fraud that leaves a nasty stain on the sport, a sport that I’ve loved for most of my life. This is in a word, cruel. There’s no other way to describe it. The corruption in our culture is now spreading insidiously into the sublime realm of sport. What a crying shame.

  • theghostofjh

    It’s completely unacceptable. It’s an outright fraud.

  • theghostofjh

    That was just one of many key calls that were just flat out wrong. There’s absolutely NO excuse for that call. NONE. Harden created that contact, moving into Manu after he passed the ball, and then he did his acting number. What a crock!

  • theghostofjh

    I couldn’t even count them all. I don’t have it on DVR. But I wouldn’t be surprised if you even missed one or two calls, and/or 50/50 calls. I couldn’t believe what I was watching. And sorry, my friends, but 6+ poor calls that go against you in a tight game is more than enough to throw the outcome of that game. There’s no question, this was one of the few outright thefts of a key NBA game that I’ve ever witnessed. Disgusting.

  • theghostofjh

    ” ….. meanwhile, Russel Westbrook slaps Kawhi on the head after a rebound that causes him to dribble out of bounds.”

    Yup. One of many too numerous to count without carefully going over a tape of the game. 

  • theghostofjh

    LOL! Way to skewer these trolls.

  • theghostofjh

    No, losers are losers, and you’re it.

  • theghostofjh

    Well done.

  • theghostofjh

    If anyone needs help it’s you. A trip to “Cuckoo’s Nest” hospital in Oregon is where you belong.

  • theghostofjh

    Absolutely NO question at all about that.

  • Neil B.

    As someone with no rooting interest in either team:
    1) That technical was weak. Unless he said something to Mo Cheeks (he tilted his head in response to SJax), there was no need for a tech.
    2) The Manu charge on Durant was 50-50, as you pointed out. Charge was an acceptable call.
    3) The Manu moving screen would have been interesting if Harden actually went for Leonard. Manu and Harden would have collided and that could definitely have been interpreted as a moving screen. Instead, Harden clearly went for Ginobili and then flopped. Terrible call.
    4) I was wondering where the Parker foul was on that and-one. I still have no idea.
    5) The Manu foul on Durant was hardly the worst call of the night. Ticky-tack is a better description.
    6) Jackson illegal screen? I don’t remember this – but if you’re referring to the Oscar-winning Harden flop when he was guarding SJax, that was an embarrassingly bad call.
    7) Fisher’s flop on Duncan rivaled Harden for Flop of the Night.

    Overall tally: 3 terrible calls on flops, a phantom foul, a weak tech, and less egregiously a ticky-tack foul and 50/50 call.

    More than “all of the calls going against the Spurs”, this was a case of the refs rewarding flopping – which is completely unacceptable. I think the game would’ve been extremely tight (even more than it already was) and compelling if the refs had just swallowed their whistles.

    (aside: Spurs fans, keep in mind that Manu is no less of a flopper than Harden. He’s gotten plenty of calls over the years with his exaggerations – recall the double flop earlier this series, in which Manu “won” the call. It doesn’t at all justify Harden’s behavior in this game, but it’s very much a taste of your own medicine.)

  • Guest

     Or I can just laugh at you bitching.  

  • Guest

    How quickly you geniuses have forgotten the Spurs being in the bonus in Game 5 faster than anyone can blink, or the free throw disparity in that game.  Very convenient to blame the refs, maybe that piss poor defense was the reason you lost, or here’s a great concept, you were playing a better team.  Got spotted 2 games then swept lololololol

    Guess your guys didn’t have enough “nasty” after Game 2.

    You mad?

    You mad!

  • Guest
  • Lvmainman

    Spurs were up 7 points with 5:05 left in the 3rd qtr, then the Joey Crawford effect kicked in.
     
    Kawhi Leonard gets offensive rebound, gets clubbed on the back of the head, stumbles and loses ball out of bounds – No foul – Bad call
     
    Capt Jack gets a technical for staring at the Thunder bench, not saying a word after making a 3 while players stood up to yell at him. Just like Harden stared at Splitter after a missed dunk attempt in Game 3 – Bad call
     
    Ball is being inbounded, Harden wraps his arms around Jackson, Jackson gently shoves him away – Foul on Jackson – Bad call
     
    Tim Duncan blocks a dunk attempt by Durant at the rim – Foul on Duncan – Bad call
     
    4th qtr starts
     
    Durant triple teamed, turns to shoot and loses ball straight up in the air – Foul on Neal – Bad call
     
    Fisher runs into a Duncan screen, Duncan loses balance and falls down – Foul on Duncan – Atrocious call
     
    Durant post up Leonard, goes left stopped, goes right stopped, shoots turnaround jumper with NO contact – Foul on Leonard – Bad call
     
    Ginobili makes layup and Durant slides under him – Foul on Ginobili – Questionable call
     
    Westbrook shoots FT line jumper, misses, Spurs get rebound, whistle, TNT shows replay in slow motion, Reggie Miller and Steve Kerr admit on TV that they don’t see a foul – Foul on Ginobili – Atrocious call
     
    Ginobili passes to Leonard, Leonard makes corner 3 pt basket – Foul on Ginobili – Questionable call
     
    Stephen Jackson has arm out, Durant swings thru for FT’s – Foul on Jackson – Questionable call
     
    Backdoor layup by Westbrook as Parker trails 2 feet behind – Foul on Parker – Bad call
     
    That’s 12 calls in the last 17 minutes of a basketball game for 18 points against the Spurs
    3 – Questionable calls
    7 – Bad calls
    2 – Atrocious calls
     
    In a game lost by 8 points, the Spurs according to ESPN had more baskets made, more points in the paint, more assists, but lost the game.

  • Lvmainman

    Popovich let me down when he benched Diaw because he had 4 fouls. If he fouls out who cares? There is no tomorrow.
    Then he benched Ginobili with 5 fouls with 5 minutes left in the game, so Neal could give up the corner 3 to Fisher. Why? IF the refs foul Ginobili out by calling 4 fouls on him in the 4th qtr, so what???

    Fight with your best, then improvise. Don’t improvise before you want to. Especially after benching Duncan when he got 2 and 4 fouls early in the last game didn’t work.

    Why does the press, media, journalists NEVER ask Pop the question, “Why let foul trouble dictate your rotation in the last game of the year?”

  • theghostofjh

    No, but you’re acting like an ass, and an ignorant one at that.

  • theghostofjh

    Do whatever you want. Just do it somewhere else. We don’t cater to trolls on here.

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  • Tyler Conrady

    Thank you Spurs fans, I got a good laugh out of your whining. You complain about bad calls when you have the world’s greatest flopping team. Every time Manu touches the ball and thinks he got touched he looks to the refs and cries like a soccer player. At least lose like a champion and don’t blame the refs. The refs didn’t cause your shots not to fall in the second half and did not cause the thunder to hit big shots when it mattered. Win like a man, lose like a man.

  • theghostofjh

    From that last comment, you sound like a long-time Suns fan. We’ll never know though.

  • Lvmainman

    The Spurs were up 7 points before the Joey Crawford effect kicked in. You know Joey Crawford, right? The ref who publicly declared his hate for the Spurs, was suspensed for the entire playoffs for verbalizing such hate for the Spurs, and now miraculously can fairly officiate Spurs games. If you believe that, I’m sure you’ll take your money and leave it in investments from Madoff, Milken, or Corzine.

  • NYC

    If you don’t like the “bitching,” why are you visiting a Spurs blog?? Troll.

  • Lvmainman

    How quickly you forget that the Spurs were in the bonus with 9:44 left in the qtr and NEVER shot ANY FT’s.

    The Spurs stopped the Thunder for 5 minutes straight in the middle of the 4th qtr from making a basket. But, somehow the Thunder scored 8 points?!?

  • Adam Rendon

     I know, I know… in this town Popovich is beloved as much as the
    almighty himself. It’s a love and fear sort of thing.  And no one
    questions the almighty.  …”Corporate Knowledge”.  Yea ‘Corporate’
    reporters too.  Some people in this town are afraid to question the
    “Pop”. 

    But, I’m not afraid.  Why Pop?  Did you panic Pop, when your team was
    blown out in game 3?  Why did you abandon your rotation, was it because
    you figured the Thunder were just too good for your full squad?  Did
    you not think that Danny Green was more valuable than just a spot up
    shooter?  Isn’t Tiago your best pick and roll big man defender? I could
    have sworn I heard you say that once before. What message did you send
    to the bench when you didn’t call there name anymore? 

    How dare I question the great Pop?  Easy, he’s human. And humans,
    even Pop make mistakes.  He’s a great coach, but he wasn’t great in this
    series. In this series his biggest mistake was that he progressively
    abandon his deep rotation in game 4, 5 and 6.  Why? Was it because the
    whole team came out overconfident and flat in game three and were blown
    out because of it?

    Yep, Pop panicked.  He tighten up, then he tighten up the rotation. 
    By game six, and with a game every other day, his seven man rotation
    just didn’t have enough legs to finish the game.  Late in the first
    quarter, and with an 11 point lead he leveled Splitter after only a
    whopping 12 seconds because he was late on a rotation that resulted in a
    foul.  Wow – what an over reaction.  I bet he was projecting Scott
    Brooks would implement the ‘hack-a-Splitter’ routine to ruin the
    momentum they were enjoying at the time.  Did you see the look on Tiago
    face when Pop was ripping into him. It reminded me of on over reacting –
    paranoid parent whose teenager came home a few minutes late from a
    date.

    Playing Tiago would have given the rest Timmy needed for the second
    half.  And with such a great Spurs start Parker and Manu would have been
    fresher if the rotations were what they were during the streak.  So
    what if the reserves might, (stress) might have eventually lost the
    lead.  It was eventually lost anyway.  Only, the way Pop played it, the
    vets were without gas in the fourth.  No legs, no shots.

    Face it- Pop was going to need the same rotation that got them 20 straight victories, to get them through the ‘Thunder’ storm. 

    Don’t be surprised when free agents Neil and Green go else where this
    summer.  Why wouldn’t they give up on Pop and the Spurs, Pop gave up on
    them. 

  • NYC

    Well said, Este. You exemplify the Spurs organization. 

  • NYC

    “You are terrible at trolling.”

    OMG, I am literally laughing out loud at that. Bwahahahaa!

  • NYC

    We are the silver and black. Even in our trolls we expect the best. LOL

  • NYC

    Good point, dude. Perhaps keeping Ginobili from fouling out was done with possible OT in mind, but Diaw with 4 fouls and not exactly being irreplaceable should have been allowed to foul out if necessary. Pop always complains that the media don’t have substantial questions to ask, but that is one great question I would like to hear him answer. 

  • NYC

    Well, I can see you clearly have the “win like a man” part down. Thank you so much for sharing your profound wisdom with us! If you have any more life tips, like how to go on the losing team’s blog and be gracious in victory or perhaps how to trip a blind person without him knowing, please don’t hesitate to share. We could always use pointers in how to improve our flopping. Thanks again, Tyler Conrady. You are such a big man for being so generous with us, and we are so small in comparison to your magnanimity. 

  • NYC

    I agree with you. Pop is not beyond reproach, even though I have defended him at times. I think it was clear that the starters were plain gassed by the 4th if not straight out of halftime. In hindsight, not having faith in bench players may have costed us game 6 by overtaxing the starters. And as you pointed out, an exhausted starting squad lost the lead anyway so why not just let the bench play? 

    When the bench almost came back to beat Dallas around Chirstmas, that was what galvanized our win streaks and late season success. That game gave them tremendous confidence. By the same token, benching Splitter and Green may have shot their confidence to hell in this series. Perhaps Pop is to blame for the poor play by our rotation guys. I dunno. The good Lord giveth, and the good Lord taketh away…