Imagine the Golden State Warriors didn't blow a 16-point lead in the final four minutes of regulation in Game 1 of their Western Conference semifinal series against the San Antonio Spurs. Where would this series be right now? Perhaps the Warriors would now be ahead 3-1 in a series few thought they could win.
Heroics from Manu Ginobili, Klay Thompson and Tony Parker have knotted the series at two games apiece. Not even a slowed-down version of Stephen Curry, three early fouls to Andrew Bogut or a double-digit second-half deficit could stop the Warriors from mounting an improbable fourth-quarter comeback in Game 4.
"[Curry] said, 'I'm going to give you what I got, coach.' That's not the language he speaks. I knew right away that he was not 100 percent," Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. "Once again, it's that same spirit flowing through that locker room that refuses to quit."
However, with the series shifted back to San Antonio, Golden State might have possessed the last victory, but the upper hand should still belong to the Spurs. As Ethan Sherwood Strauss pointed out, San Antonio's demise has been greatly exaggerated.
Every year, every series someone wants to write them off, and yet here they are churning away. While talent might sometimes override experience, the collective playoff savvy of San Antonio's big three of Tim Duncan, Parker and Ginobili tilts the series advantage toward the Spurs the longer the series goes.
The Spurs should find a way to win this series and it starts with Duncan.