San Antonio Spurs: Turning Point of the Season Came with a Loss

Garrett Jochnau@@GarrettJochnauCorrespondent IIApril 22, 2012

SAN ANTONIO - APRIL 29:  Forward Tim Duncan #21 of the San Antonio Spurs greets Dirk Nowitzki #41 of the Dallas Mavericks after a 97-87 win in Game Six of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2010 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center on April 29, 2010 in San Antonio, Texas. The Spurs win the series 4-2.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The Spurs are about to finish yet another fantastic season. Currently holding the second-best record in the league, the Spurs look to enter the postseason has the West's best team.

But the team did not begin the season as one of the league's most fierce competitors. They had a mediocre start, going just 12-8 to start the season. In those 20 games, nine were played on the road, where the Spurs managed only two wins.

However, from there things picked up. The Spurs went on to win 34 more, only losing eight.

So what shifted the momentum for the Spurs? In fact, it was a loss.

After going 12-8, the Spurs set out for the American Airlines Center, where they would face their Texas rivals and the defending champs, the Dallas Mavericks.

The Mavs jumped off to a quick start, as Jason Terry helped the team gain a large lead. Midway through the third, the Mavericks gained an 18 point lead, before Pop decided to call on the reserves to finish the game.

At that point, the Spurs' entire season changed. A rotation consisting of Gary Neal, James Anderson, Danny Green, Matt Bonner and Tiago Splitter played the final minutes of the third, cutting the Dallas lead down to 11. They went on the play the entirety of the fourth quarter, in which the team tied Dallas' score.

With the score tied, San Antonio gained position as the final seconds began to tick away. With 0.5 seconds remaining, Green received the inbounds pass and put up a fade-away shot that swished cleanly through the net.

However, after the refs took a second look, the shot was ruled off, forcing the game into overtime. From there, the Mavs outscored San Antonio by one leaving the Spurs with yet another road loss.

The heart-breaking ending left fans stunned, sad and upset. However, the team itself took it another way. They used the loss as motivation, winning their next eleven games, eight of which were played on the road.

The miracle performed by the Spurs' bench jump-started a consistently impressive performance from the reserves for the remainder of the season.

The team became contenders, only losing another seven games.

Now, as they prepare themselves to make a run at their fifth title, we wonder whether they would be in the same situation had the game against Dallas played out differently.