The San Antonio Spurs experienced a good old-fashioned beating at the hands of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Kevin Durant in a 106-94 loss. But the Spurs may not be as down-and-out as most would assume. In fact, the defeat may have actually done some good.
San Antonio was looking to extend their franchise record of 19 consecutive wins but ended up assisting the Thunder in their four-game sweep of the Spurs this season. The score does not tell the whole story and will serve as a kick-start for San Antonio in the playoffs.
One reason the Spurs can walk away from this game with their heads held higher than normal after a loss of this magnitude is the fact that they beat themselves. It was terrible decision making which lead to easy transition points for the Thunder. The Spurs committed 18 turnovers and, coincidentally, Russell Westbrook had 18 of his 27 points come in transition as well.
Another positive note was the early control that the Spurs maintained throughout the first half. Most of that success was due to Patty Mills, who is the spark plug off of the Spurs’ bench. Mills finished with 21 points on 8-of-13 shooting. The Spurs out-rebounded the Thunder by three, which is an area that has been a weak point for San Antonio all season.
The fact that Oklahoma City has had the Spurs’ number all season is almost guaranteed to have lit a fire under Gregg Popovich’s backside. It looks like the NBA Western Conference Finals are a collision course set between the two tops teams in the West, but the Spurs will be prepared for that matchup with the lessons they have learned from thunderous hardships.