Spurs still smarting from playoff loss
by Yannis Koutroupis, Hoopsworld.com
SAN ANTONIO — Traditionally, media day marks the start of a new year, and teams embrace it as a clean slate.
Not the San Antonio Spurs, however, who are still reeling from losing the last four games of their season to the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference finals. After being just two wins away from the NBA Finals, where they have never lost in franchise history, they are going to use that defeat as motivation all season long.
“We’re still feeling the pain of that loss to Oklahoma City,” coach Gregg Popovich said. “When you’re in the conference finals up 2-0 and you don’t get it done, that hurts. Obviously you have to give them credit, but that doesn’t take the hurt away. I think we all still feel it very, very much. That’s a good thing. We have to use it as fuel.
“That was a very tough loss. We think about it now as we have all summer long and it’s our job to figure out what we can do to combat that youth and talent. We’ve got some ideas and we’ll see what happens.”
“I still think about,” said point guard Tony Parker. “It’s tough. Sometimes it’s hard to understand basketball. You win 20 games in a row, you think you’re playing your best. Then, you lose four in a row. It’s hard to understand. That’s the beauty of sports. Sometimes it’s great and sometimes it’s very painful. You just hope you’re on the right side of it.
“At the end of the day, the Spurs, we’re lucky that we’ve won a lot of championships. We’ll try to do it again. I like our chances. I like the fact that Pop and R.C. (Buford) chose stability and kept the same team. I think the big thing for us is all of our young guys have one more year of experience. They’ve been through the playoffs and big games. I think that’s going to be very helpful for us.”
The player the Spurs are banking on improving the most from last year is starting small forward Kawhi Leonard. The franchise invested a … [For more on Spurs still smarting from playoff loss, click here.]