Tuesday, May 24, 2011

05/24 (OKC Choke) Quickie

That was just about as big of a choke as you will see in sports: Losing a 15-point leads in the game's 5 minutes -- playing at home, in a must-win playoff game no less.

This doesn't feel like the kind of loss that you rally from, at least this season. It feels indelible. The Thunder go to Dallas to try to steal one in Game 5, bringing the series back to OKC for Game 6. Then -- if they win that -- a toss-up Game 7 with all the momentum back.

But this doesn't feel like that kind of loss. This feels like a door-slamming, come-back-when-you're-old-enough loss. This feels like the loss that fuels your workouts all summer and toughens you up for the next playoff opportunity when you are up 15 with 5 minutes to play.

It doesn't feel like the kind of loss where you simply bounce back, then win three straight -- including two on the road against a veteran team playing better than anyone right now.

I don't want to lean back on the easy narrative -- young team folds in face of vets. In any systemic failure like we saw, it's not a single thing, but (per Hollinger) at least a dozen things that all had to happen for this to end like it did. If any of those individual things breaks differently, the Thunder win and it's "what gritty competitors!" as the narrative.

But they didn't win -- they blew it and it almost assuredly cost them their season. I'm not sure that OKC wins 2 of 3 from Dallas had they tied the series last night. I'm sure they don't win 3 straight.

Not against a Mavs team so sure of itself that even a 15-point deficit with 5 minutes to go isn't enough to finish them off.

If you didn't drop by Quickish yesterday, there were some incredible must-reads from Shanoff/Quickish favorites -- Jeff MacGregor on Lance, Wright Thompson on Harvey Updyke, Tommy Craggs on Chris Bosh -- and just a bunch of other good stuff. (Be sure to check out that "save of the playoffs" by Bruins goalie Tim Thomas.)

-- D.S.

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