Quotes: Spurs @ Thunder Game 6: 6/6/12


Gregg Popovich

Manu Ginobili

Tim Duncan

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Gregg Popovich

GREGG POPOVICH:  Congratulations to the Oklahoma City organization, Clay Bennett, wonderful man.  Sam Presti, who assembled that group, and of course Scott Brooks and his staff did a wonderful job, the players and the city, enjoy the heck out of it as they should.  Congrats to all of them.  Great, great stuff.
From our end, we had a wonderful season.  Everybody wants to be the last team standing, but in many ways this group may have even overachieved.

            Q.  Can you talk a little bit about the third quarter, what did you see that was different?
GREGG POPOVICH:   Well, we had a bad third quarter instead of the second quarter it seems.  We've had bad second quarters, and we just haven't been able to sustain our offense for four quarters, and for us to beat those guys, we needed to score.  And the third quarter, it was like playing in mud.  So that was our downfall as much as anything.  They have a lot of shot makers at the end of the game, and Harden hit a big one, Fisher hit a big one, but you don't want to be in that position.  The lack of offense in the third quarter was tough.

            Q.  Can you talk about the way you shot the ball in the first quarter?
GREGG POPOVICH:  We shot it well.  I don't know what else you want to  but you have to sustain it.  This is actually a  as sad and disappointed as we are, you really have to think about it's almost like a Hollywood script for OKC in a sense.  You know, they went through Dallas, last year's NBA champion, then they went through the Lakers, then they went through us.  Those three teams represent 10 of the last 13 championships, and now they're going to go to The Finals and play either Boston or Miami, and that'll be 11 of the last 13 championships.
I don't know if anybody has ever had a run or gone through a playoff playing those kinds of teams.  It's just incredible, and I think it's pretty cool for them.


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Manu Ginobili

Q. First half, first quarter in particular, you guys really had the offense flowing, second half it was tougher to score. What was the biggest change that they made?
MANU GINOBILI: I don't know. Probably they were more energetic, they played better defense, they were more aggressive, and we were not as sharp, as lucid, to find the open teammate. We played in an uptempo mode, and we found easier shots. In the second half we kind of stopped, and we couldn't find anything, anything easy really.

Q. Did any or much of it have to do with the fact that they're 22, 23, and they're younger?
MANU GINOBILI: Maybe, maybe, of course. We can't have their legs, their energy. We're never going to jump as high or run as fast. But first half, we played a great job. We just moved the ball, found teammates, made shots, and in the second half, as I said before, they were very active and we couldn't find anything easy. So of course probably at the end of the game, they were more fresh.
But bottom line also, they made the shots that they had to make. Fisher from the corner was one huge one. Besides the runs, Harden had one from the left wing that was tough on us. We were making a run. We were feeling good about ourselves, and he brought the game back to seven, I think. So those were two tough shots, and we just couldn't make them.

Q. Tell me what you've seen from the Thunder in the last several games, and what do you see their future as?
MANU GINOBILI: Of course it's very bright. When your best three players are 22 and 23, it's hard not to be optimistic about the future of this franchise. They are great. They have so much talent, and they are so athletic, and they've got a great front office. I mean, we know Sam Presti. He's a really sharp guy, and he pulled this basically out of nothing. So they've got a very bright future really.

Q. Obviously the way the NBA generally works, it takes a while for teams to get going before they hit the NBA Finals. This is just the fourth season of existence for Oklahoma City. Are you shocked how quickly they've been able to move up from a team that won 23 games in the first season to a team that's going to the NBA Finals?
MANU GINOBILI: Yes. Of course it's not something that is going to happen very often. You need a little luck, also. You get the No. 1 pick for the most important tie of the decade with Durant and LeBron probably, and then they had a bad season, Durant's first, so they had an opportunity to get another two, I think it was the following year. They made great picks.
They are well coached, so it is impressive what they accomplished in such a short period of time. So got to give not only the front office but everybody credit because coaching staff and players have been amazing, really.

Q. We've talked a little bit about the Thunder. Tell us where the Spurs go from here with your age, an older team?

MANU GINOBILI: Same place we've been going the last eight years. We've been always old. We've been always criticized for that. We still compete. We won the West  well, regular season, of course. We are fine. a We trust Pop and RC to make good decisions, bring talent. I think they did an unbelievable job this year. I think we had the best record in the league. I mean, what else you can expect, right?
We just faced a great young team, and we wish we would have had the opportunity to eliminate them. We lost a very important Game 5, but there's not much to complain about. We had a great run, we just couldn't beat these guys.

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Tim Duncan

Overall thoughts
“Obviously it is disappointing, but all the credit to Oklahoma City…We had a great first half, we got control of the game. They continued to fight and get back into the game and their talent was just impressive. I don’t think it was lack of effort on our part, I think we laid it out there and we gave all we could but they were the better team.”

What do you think changed in the third quarter?
“They made shots and we did not. I thought our effort and execution was there they just made shots through a stretch there and got back into it. Then down the stretch it seemed like they got every whistle possible and that really changed the tide. We were playing tough defense and trying to get stops but the whistle kept blowing and they went to the line.”

After Tony Parker’s big half do you feel like he slowed down in the second half due to fatigue?
“I have to imagine he got pretty tired but I don’t think that was the reason. I thought OKC did a great job in getting back and crowding the lane. We still did a pretty good job of passing the ball and hitting shots. We can talk about it all we want but the bottom line is they out played us for a stretch there and they out played us when it mattered.”

Is this more disappointing after the type of season the team had?
“It is very disappointing. I thought this was our time to get back to the Finals and push for another championship. That was our singular goal, but obviously it ends here.”


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