Spuriosity: Obituary for a great season
Published: June 13, 2012
The 2011-2012 San Antonio Spurs, a No. 1 seed seemingly destined to successfully "drive for five," fell to the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals on Wednesday, June 6, 2012, by a final score of 99-107. While anchored by the league's longest running threesome in Duncan, Ginobili, and Parker — responsible for winning three NBA championships as teammates (2003, 2005, 2007) — the Spurs met the Thunder's equally organic, albeit much younger trio of Durant, Westbrook, and Harden.
Duke men's basketball and USA men's national team coach Mike Krzyzewski once said the pass is the greatest play basketball offers because it is the physical expression of connection where five players effectively become one. Winners of 20 straight games, beginning April 5 and ending Game 3 against the Thunder May 31, the Spurs exhibited a fluidity of motion with dazzling synchronicity that intoxicated Spurs fans while demoralizing their opponents.
Coach Pop, known in some circles as the seeker of "nasty," won his second Coach of the Year award. Tony Parker dazzled throughout the regular season, posting a career-high in assists per contest and finished fifth in MVP voting. Kawhi Leonard displayed the best rookie campaign by a Spur since Tim Duncan 14 years prior, earning All-Rookie First Team honors. The Spurs said goodbye to the polarizing force of Richard Jefferson in exchange for Stephen Jackson, a polarizing force within the league, but for reasons related to personality rather than performance. "We reached our limit — and that's what you try to do every year. So their accomplishments I think were extraordinary and I'm thrilled for what they did," Coach Pop said during his final press appearance of the season.
The Spurs are preceded in playoff passing by the Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers.
In lieu of flowers, fans are asked to submit detailed letters to Commissioner David Stern demanding answers as to why Joey Crawford officiated the Western Conference Finals' pivotal Game 6 and, if you feel so inclined, root for the Miami Heat.