Where did that much talked about Spurs “experience” go last night? The Spurs were up 65-45 midway through the 3rd quarter and completely collapsed in losing to the Lakers 89-85 in the first game of the Western Conference Finals. Many might blame the Spurs quick turnaround from their game 7 win on Monday or their plane being stuck on the tarmac overnight in San Antonio, but, the Spurs have been prone to offensive droughts. It happened towards the end of the regular season and happened again in the playoffs.
In the last 22 games of the season, the Spurs went 13-9. But, in their 9 losses, they were held under 20 points in 10 quarters and were outscored by an average of over 11 points in those quarters. The trend is even more apparent in the playoffs. In the Spurs three losses to the Hornets they were outscored by an average of over 21 points in the second half.
The Spurs are often called experienced and fundamentally sound, but they are also often called old. The average age of the Spurs is 31.6 years old and that age showed in the last 18 minutes against the Lakers. In the first half, the Spurs limited the Lakers fast break chances by hustling back on defense and preventing transition buckets. But, in the second half, the Lakers just looked quicker than the Spurs and were able to get more chances in transition than they had in the first half.
Are the Spurs done? Obviously they can’t be counted out, especially since Gregg Popovich is probably the best at making adjustments from game to game. But, Phil Jackson is very good at putting team’s away in the playoffs when he has the lead. How good? Try 40-0 when winning game one of a playoff series.