Author: Jeff Koch (page 1 of 23)

Inevitable

2017 Western Conference Finals
San Antonio 115, Golden State 129
Warriors win series 4-0

I still have nothing new to say about this game or this series.

With one twist on an ankle, every ounce of drama and suspense was drained from the series. I maintain that the Spurs were not winning this series, despite what the first 29 minutes of Game 1 told me. But my great hope was that there was data to be mined, things to be learned, weaknesses to be probed.

Instead, we got this shitburger of a series. No competition, no drama, nothing learned, nothing gained. You could argue that we learned LaMarcus is not a big moment player and not a #1 option. But we already kind of knew that. The Warriors completely erased him from this series, as they should have done once Kawhi went down. Slot him into a #2 option (or, more importantly, a #3 option), and things look very different for him. Remember, he was tremendous in the first half of Game 1 when everything was in its right place.

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Another One Bites The Dust

2017 Western Conference Finals
San Antonio 108, Golden State 120
Warriors lead series 3-0

The Spurs played better. They played harder. They competed to the best of their abilities. They still got their butts kicked.

There’s just not enough there. Without Kawhi, without Tony (how quickly we forget about him, and how useful he might be in this series), the rest of the roster falls into disarray, and the usual collective synchronicity becomes merely an accumulation of pieces.

I honestly don’t know what else to say. You can only watch the same movie over and over again so many times and find fresh takes. This Warriors squad versus what is left of this Spurs squad is simply not a fair fight.

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Capitulation

2017 Western Conference Finals
San Antonio 100, Golden State 136
Warriors lead series 2-0

For the first time in a long time, I did not want to watch a Spurs game.

I almost never watch the games live for a variety of reasons. So for the most part, I know the end result before I witness the opening tip. I’m lucky that I have more wins to look forward to than losses as a Spurs fan; but even with most losses, there’s something worth watching, a performance to marvel at, an end-of-bench player to get excited about, a hint of some long-term master plan from Pop.

Not Tuesday night, though. There was nothing. No there there. No fight. No hope. Just surrender.

Of course, a lot of us knew this before the game. After everything that happened in game one and its aftermath, game two’s result felt predetermined. Did anyone honestly believe the Spurs had a chance to win without Kawhi Leonard?

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Twist

2017 Western Conference Finals
San Antonio 111, Golden State 113
Warriors lead series 1-0

Not like this.

I didn’t think the Spurs had much of a chance of winning this series, but I at least wanted an honest go of it. I wanted the best the Spurs had to offer being pushed to their limits. I wanted to see how the team responded, and what fight they had in them to push the seemingly invincible Warriors.

We’ll still see that fight, surely; but I don’t know how much resistance they can offer without their best player and lynchpin of the whole operation on both sides of the ball.

What a start to Game 1. After 24 minutes, every Spurs fan was dreaming the impossible “what if?” A 20-point lead against a lethargic Warriors team and a real opportunity to steal one in Oakland. If there was a path to winning this series, the first half of Game 1 laid it bare: steal Game 1, catching the Warriors a bit rusty and overconfident; take 2 of 3 games in San Antonio (likely 1 of Game 3 or 4, and Game 6). Just get to that Game 7 and see what was possible.

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The Boogeyman

The Spurs are not beating the Warriors.

Having said that, let me now couch it a bit: barring a series of events as numbered as they are unlikely, the Spurs will not beat the Warriors four times in seven chances.

So why care? Because this might be the most important series for the future of the Spurs franchise.

The Warriors are the benchmark, the gauge upon which every other Western Conference team will be measured for the foreseeable future. For the Spurs to reclaim their spot at the top, they will necessarily need to get past this seemingly unbeatable Warriors team.

The first round of data gathering begins today.

This series is a science lab, a four to seven game experiment to begin to truly understand this Warriors team, what makes them tick, and where they might ultimately be vulnerable.

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