One week after losing to Oklahoma City in the playoffs, the San Antonio Spurs are still trying to make sense of what could have been.
“Obviously every team that doesn’t win the championship ends the year on a sad note,” Spurs forward Matt Bonner said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “This year, we had pretty high expectations going into playoffs after winning 67 games in the regular season, which was a franchise record. We had a great group of guys and wanted to try to do something special – like we do every year. It just didn’t work out for us. The Oklahoma City Thunder played great.”
The Spurs couldn’t have started their second-round series with the Thunder much better, taking Game 1 by 32 points. Even after the Thunder came back to win Game 2 by a point, San Antonio beat Oklahoma City in Oklahoma City in Game 3.
Then the Spurs lost three straight to close the series, including Game 5 at home.
Thus, after going 40-1 at home during the regular season, the Spurs went 1-2 at home against Oklahoma City, losing two games by a combined five points.
“I thought we had two games that could have gone either way – Game 2 and Game 5 – where, really, if we made one or two shots, made one or two more plays down the stretch, we come away with wins in those games and we might not even be having this conversation right now,” Bonner said. “But we didn’t. They’re a great team. They have two of the best players in the league in Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook and they stepped up when they needed them. Over the course of the series, outside of Game 1, we really didn’t shoot the ball great. That’s something you can’t always control, the ball going in the hoop. You do your best to get open shots. Some nights they fall; some nights they don’t. The general trend for us in that series was we just didn’t have a good shooting series. But I thought we competed, we brought it and left it on the court effort-wise and competitiveness-wise every night. They just played better and got us.”
Each Spur will spend the offseason in his own way – Bonner and his family will vacation in New Hampshire, where he is from – but all will be awaiting Tim Duncan’s retirement decision. Has he played his last game, or will he come back for one more season? Time will tell.
Bonner was asked about what Duncan is like behind the scenes.
“Not to dodge the question, but one thing – and I’m sure people can get this about him – he doesn’t like the spotlight. He doesn’t like the attention,” Bonner said. “Not that he wouldn’t like me talking about him, but I don’t think he would even care, if that makes sense. Just super professional, super focused, knows what matters in his profession and in life and doesn’t waste time with all the other nonsense that you can get caught up in. But he’s got a great sense of humor, a really dry sense of humor. He’s funny. He wears really fun T-shirts a lot of times. I love going to him for recommendations for movies, TV shows, stuff like that. It’s just been a pleasure and an honor to witness his greatness for 10 years and see how he does it because he does things the right way.”
One show that Duncan recommended for Bonner? Big Bang Theory.
“Big Bang Theory?” Gregg Giannotti said with mild disgust, prompting laughter from Brian Jones. “That’s so Tim Duncan, isn’t it?”
“I had never seen it before,” a chuckling Bonner said, defending the recommendation. “I watched it and it was hilarious.”