There’s something particularly frustrating about an overtime loss. Losing by a significant margin leaves so many potential explanations up for grabs and can even feel fated. But the close loss, and particularly the overtime loss immediately gives you at least two conclusive statements.
One, that your opponent suffered from moments of real vulnerability. And two, that in spite of the aforementioned vulnerabilities, your team was unable to capitalize on them.
Neither of those thoughts are particularly comforting; they make it difficult to contextualize the loss in a way that favors a more positive interpretation. You can’t just chalk it up to a poor shooting night, or tired legs. The harsh truth is that the opposition held no more advantages than your team did, and your team still fell short.
It can feel like an incontrovertible verdict on the character or willpower of the players and coaching staff; an enduring tribute to something ethereal that the team simply lacks. You can point at possessions and rotations that lacked execution, or a visible lack of enthusiasm displayed by certain players while the game still hung in the balance. In an overtime loss, all offenses are prosecutable, and everything is an indictment.