Corporate Knowledge: Nightmare Spurs and the Thunder’s missing link

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J.A. Adande, ESPN.com: “We’ve been suckered by the San Antonio Spurs. We spend so much time hammering on the “Team, team, team” concept that they preach that we forget they can present some hellacious individual matchups. The Oklahoma City Thunder learned the hard way how tough it can be to guard the Spurs one-on-one, especially without the injured Serge Ibaka to provide a secondary and final line of defense. The Spurs cracked the Thunder open with post-ups and dribble-penetration, in addition to great ball movement. They were an offensive juggernaut, scoring 122 points to easily take the first game of the Western Conference finals.”

Sam Amick, USA Today: “Yes, it’s only one game, one that happened to have the same final score as the Thunder’s series-opening loss to the Los Angeles Clippers in the second round. But there are statistical oddities, then there are reams of credible research, and the problem from here on out for Oklahoma City is that everything the data told us about the loss of Ibaka and what it would mean against these Spurs came to pass.”

Dan McCarney, MySA.com: “It never felt as if the Spurs were truly in danger of losing Monday’s game. But they were definitely sweating as the Thunder rallied from a 15-point deficit to lead by one on several possessions in the third quarter, including 78-77. The Spurs proceeded to demolish them 45-27 over the remaining 16 minutes, a vulgar display of power in which Ginobili, with his second-round shooting slump appearing to have carried over, erupted for 15 points. The Spurs shot nearly 70 percent in that span to cap one of their best offensive performances of the season.”

Andrew Sharp, Grantland.com: “Kawhi Leonard is a basketball drone who was invented in a laboratory by Gregg Popovich. You will never convince me otherwise.”

Ian Levy, FiveThirtyEight.com: “Durant, Russell Westbrook and Reggie Jackson are fantastic, but their size offers less resistance at the rim than a guy nicknamed “Iblocka.” During the regular season, those three players combined to defend 6.3 shots at the rim per game. On Monday night, they defended 16. The Spurs made 12 of them.”

Adrian Wojnarowski, Yahoo.com: “Ibaka is back in Oklahoma City for Games 1 and 2 – ruled out of the playoffs with a lower leg injury – but his willingness to play with pain, his loyalty to the championship cause, has him thinking about starting some stationary shooting late this week, a league source told Yahoo Sports on Monday.”