El Conclusión: Oklahoma City Thunder 109, San Antonio Spurs 103

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San Antonio Spurs 103 FinalRecap | Box Score 109 Oklahoma City Thunder
Tim Duncan, C 36 MIN | 9-17 FG | 3-7 FT | 8 REB | 2 AST | 21 PTS | -3After a rough start, eventually put up a solid stat line over the course of the game. One of the better games for the Spurs tonight actually. Perhaps a lower grade is unfair, but Duncan must be graded relevant to what the Spurs expect/need from him. And the Spurs need Duncan anchoring the defense and glass, otherwise the Spurs will be subject to 10-rebound disadvantages.
Kawhi Leonard, SF 33 MIN | 7-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 9 REB | 0 AST | 17 PTS | -12There will be times when the best defense in the world isn’t going to stop Kevin Durant. There were times Leonard defended Durant as well as could be expected while still getting torched. To keep your composure, hit shots, and keep competing defensively during those times is something most rookies wouldn’t do.
Boris Diaw, PF 34 MIN | 5-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 2 AST | 12 PTS | -8Had moments where he was as good an option to run the offense through as anything else the Spurs had going. Lost track of Ibaka, who shot better than can be expected.
Tony Parker, PG 39 MIN | 5-15 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 4 AST | 12 PTS | 0The Spurs have to find a way to free Tony Parker from the long reaches of Thabo Sefolosha and Serge Ibaka in Game 4 or face the threat of elimination. Has had trouble getting dribble penetration, which is allowing Thunder defensive players to stay at home on shooters instead of getting into their rotations, which is what the Spurs offense thrives against.
Daniel Green, G 20 MIN | 3-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 7 PTS | +7Can Danny Green be named thusly if he is no longer efficient and economical? His shot has abandoned him, and over the past two games the Spurs have reached a point where everything else Green provides just isn’t compensating for his lost touch.
Stephen Jackson, SG 22 MIN | 4-6 FG | 1-1 FT | 0 REB | 2 AST | 11 PTS | +5Physical tactics bothered Durant at times, the referees at others. Stephen Jackson is hitting big shots and competing defensively, which is all the Spurs could ask of him.
Matt Bonner, PF 2 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | -8The site of a Bonner upfake and dribble off the three-point line is one that no longer needs to be seen in the playoffs. Pop-willing.
Manu Ginobili, SG 25 MIN | 4-7 FG | 3-3 FT | 0 REB | 4 AST | 13 PTS | -10The Spurs systematic offense is being broken apart. They need someone to force the issue and jumpstart it. They need this from Manu Ginobili. They are not receiving it from him.
Gary Neal, PG 15 MIN | 3-5 FG | 1-1 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 8 PTS | -8One of the few Spurs quick on the trigger finger and quick with his decisions.
Tiago Splitter, C 6 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-2 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 PTS | -2This is seeming more than ever like a DeJuan Blair type series than a Splitter or Bonner series.
DeJuan Blair, F 10 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS | +6Provided a quick spark that brought the Spurs back into the game. His mobility off the screen immediately opened up some driving lanes, and his energy on defense, even if exploitable at times, is at least….something. Excellent but too brief stint for Blair. I hope to see him more next game.

Five Things We Saw

  1. Watching Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili get switched onto Kevin Durant in the fourth quarter was eerily reminiscent of the 2006 Western Conference Finals and Dirk Nowitzki.
  2. The adjustments made on Tony Parker in Games 3 and 4 have changed the entire outlook of this series.
  3. Goodbye Matt Bonner, welcome DeJuan Blair. Hello new question: Do the Spurs still legitimately go 10 deep this series?
  4. I don’t remember the last time Manu Ginobili fouled out of a game. Especially not in the meager 25 minutes he was allowed. I’ll leave it at that.
  5. If Serge Ibaka keeps shooting like that, not only will the Thunder win the NBA Finals, Spain will take the Gold.
  • km1141

    Manu’s already playing fewer and fewer minutes in the playoffs and with his poor decision making out there I can see why.  I hope Danny Green comes alive the next game.  

  • Len

    Well, the stage is set for an enormous game 5.  This series is starting to remind me of the 2005 finals.  Let’s hope it plays out the same.

  • Lvmainman

    Spurs need to make a defensive adjustment. When trying to force a player one way, don’t let them go directly to the basket. By that I mean, stay between the player and the basket. Don’t line up beside him and let them get a running start to the basket. Our defense is too slow and weak, to always force rotations by having somone leave their man and then try and scramble. We allow too many 2 on 1’s that allow dump down’s to their bigs for dunks or offensive rebounds. So, please try to stay between the player and the basket, and shade sideline after the dribble has started.

    I’d start the game by not running the Thunder off the 3 point line, until they make some shots. They’ve in the past 2 games been eager to run off the 3 point line because they get a layup or an assist for a dunk, due to the defender being left behind at the 3 point line. That’s how Durant and Fisher got 12 assists between them in this game. They’re not even looking to shoot the 3.

    Make the defensive adjustments and I think the Spurs will be just fine.

  • Titletown99030507d

    Both Bonner and Splitter are no shows and the minutes I have been lobbying for Blair before game 1 finally came but with his 9 1/2 minutes with 2 pts and 2 rebounds don’t scream solution for this series. If we lose game 5 this series is over. How can the thunder win 4 games in a row?  This thunder team is riding high and know they can kick our ass. Wake up Spurs!

  • Deeds130

    @Len
    2005 Finals? Uh, but who’s Robert Horry this time around? I’ll say this, we could use some if THAT Tim
    Duncan right about NOW, and I think we basically NEED that Manu Ginobili to bag 2 more wins.

  • Deeds130

    If not for a stone cold Durant and Ibaka, and a possible Spur’s win, Jax easily gets an A- tonight… hate to see SA waste a good night from him.

    Where are Bonner’s defenders now? If he doesn’t redeem himself this postseason, can we just put those arguments to rest forever? I mean really.

  • STIJL

     I think I would rather see the Spurs not make the playoffs due to Mat Bonner not being on the team for regular season wins than see the Spurs lose in the playoffs because Mat Bonner is on the team.  His history of playoff regression to nothing more than a blip standing out on the perimeter and hoisting miss after miss has got to end.  Even if it means losing out on the salary…Spurs have got to get rid of him.

    But…that’s not the only problem the Spurs have in the post.  The other problems the Spurs have are Splitter, Blair and Diaw.  All these guys are just one trick ponies.  Really good at only one thing and when exposed…HORRIBLE at anything else they try to do on the court.

  • STIJL

    As they say..a chain is only as strong as it’s weakest link.  Spurs have thus been able to hide their weakest link until this series.  The need for a dominant interior (both offense and defense) player for the Spurs is all too compelling in this series.  The Thunder don’t even care…don’t need to worry…and will continue to ignore as to who the Spurs throw in the mix in the post just to keep playing the passing lanes and quick close outs to the perimeter.

    They have no worries in that department and it is the ONLY way the Spurs are going to get relief from the Thunder’s zone defense and smothering perimeter contention is if somehow somebody in the post can make them pay.

    What about trying Leonard at the 4 with Duncan and starting Jack as our 3?  Then let Neal start as the 2 guard relinquishing Green to come off the bench with Ginobili and having Mills being able to bring the ball up the court faster than Neal with the second unit and play Diaw and Blair as your primary bigs off the bench to play a much faster game when the second unit is on the court in order to keep up a pace that gets the Spurs above the 96 possession range?

  • Justinray

    all you fair weather fans riding the tide when its high and complaining and moaning when we lose 2 on the road to a WESTERN CONFERENCE FINALS opponent. amazing! dont bother jumping back on if the spurs win game 5 and 7. i get sick of weak fair weather fans. dont praise the team one day after 20 straight wins and kick them 3 days later smh. the thunder had their backs against the wall at home for 2 consecutive games. now our back is against the wall playing at home

  • STIJL

     Haven’t seen too many complaints more so than rightful concerns.  OKC adjusted remarkably well to the Spurs.  Spurs need to serve back with adjustments of their own.  Other wise…Spurs don’t win this series. 

    Now, IF it ends up the Spurs don’t win this series…it’s been a great season.  More than what could have been expected.  But that’s not to say the team stands pat (in plan and lineups) and expects to win it all with who they have if they don’t adjust.  Weakest links need to be strengthened.  Any GOOD company will dispose of their worst 10% in order to remain at the top and stay competitive.  As of right now…you don’t “dispose” of any of the players but the worst 10% on this team needs to be moved to the end and/or not be played at all while the better producers given more time.

    To me that’s not complaining…that’s reality.

  • MSteele_in_Eire

    Come on man, Diaw is anything but a one trick pony. What a ridiculous statement

  • junierizzle

    I think they did enough offensively to get a win on the road. But I’ve got something to say about the offense in a minute.

    The D sucked. In games one and two they let Durant and Westbrook go one on one. Now they’ve suddenly allowed them to take the entire first half off and let other guys beat them. So it’s no wonder a FRESH Durant carved them up.  It was too easy for the Thunder, drive and kick, drive and kick. They had Fisher looking like CP3 out there. I know its a natural tendency to want to collapse on driving player but come on, stay with your man. I don’t want to hear about how Thunder have an advantage inside. Ibaka and Perk got all their points on jump shots and easy dunks on our guys because for turning their heads looking into the paint. Both can be easily prevented. Let Durant go nuts let him get 5o points. But you can’t let Perk and Ibaka combine for nearly 50 points. I wouldn’t complain if Durant ended up with 12 points, but HE STILL GOT HIS. Stop the other guys.

    As for the offense, pick and roll baby. They stop doing it just becaus Perk shows harder?????????????????????????????????????  The Spurs game all year is to Pick and ROll, if they stop one they do it again and again, over and over. What’s with Manu not even calling for a Pick? They finally made a run when, Blair ran the PICK AND ROLL. Don’t change it up. Keep it simple.

  • STIJL

     Ridiculous statement?  Meh…perhaps with regards to generalities.  But regarding this series…not so much.  Take away his facilitating strengths and every other aspect of his game is well short of spectacular.  Is not rebounding well.  Does not provide scoring punch in the paint to warrant concern by the Thunder. Playing less than stellar defense.

    But by all means I would hope he could prove that statement ridiculous before this series is over because somebody in the post other than Duncan is going to HAVE to play at a level higher than what’s being played now.

  • TD BestEVER

     Blair when playing well is your answer……We have seen Blair go for 20 and 10 several times over the past few years…… And he should be able to put up positive numbers in this series as well.  Just him crashing the boards alone will slow down the OKC fast break and occupy their bigs.

  • TD BestEVER

     Allowing players to run right around them has been driving me nuts……They are so worried about Durants jumper that they give him layups……. that makes no sense…..make him keep shooting those shots and don’t double a jump shooter…….

    These last 2 losses are on POP for not making the right adjustments

  • TD BestEVER

     Splitter hasn’t played as bad as is being portrayed.  He just can’t make a free throww to save his llive it seems…..But his defense, and shoot making are still good.  The thing is he isn’t getting many chances to score and when he does he is getting fouled alot. 

    Bonner should be shot and hung for STEALING SPURS PAYROLL FOR 6 YEARS NOW……….

    Blair also had a key block, steal and charge taken in those 9.5min

    I see Blair playing along side Splitter. We can’t keep going small and getting hammered on the glass like we have the past 2 games

  • junierizzle

    Exactly. I don’t know what Pop is doing.

  • (formerly) Vermont Spurs Fan

    I was reading the Tao Te Ching again yesterday before the game. I was reminded that the universe is perfect and that everything that happens is meant to happen. The team that is meant to win will win. I did not watch the game last night. It is the first Spurs game that I have missed watching this entire regular season and post season.I see here in this article that the Spurs lost a close game. 
    I have come to think that it is selfish to pick a team and desire that team to win. Why is it my place to put that energy out there in the world? Instead I will simply be pleased with whatever outcome the universe deems best. Think about how great that championship was for the Mavs last year. How that made Dirk and Jason Kidd and “the Jet” Terry feel. I want someone else to feel that, too. What would a title do for LeBron James’ pysche? What would it do for the state of Oklahoma? I have been struggling the past few weeks with the decision to get rid of Television entirely. My wife wants to make this leap as well. We have each lived without television for years long ago but have had it for the last 5 years. We decided to do it – to get rid of the satellite. If the Spurs win a championship I will not see it. I will read about it the next day.

    After I wrote here of my impressions of live sporting events and other people let me know that the NFL is a worse atmosphere, that NASCAR is worse, etc; after seeing all of the ways in which women are still the ones who lose out in pro sports (they are not the athletes but are expected to “cheer”, they are harassed at many games, and worst of all athletes who do not perform well are compared to women in a way that keeps the stereotypes in place); and after seeing how pro athletics is about having “your” team win – I am done with it. 

    The athletics in my life were always the games that I played and the races that I ran. Pick-up basketball is amazing. There really is no winner and no loser. The most powerful reason I had for wanting to win was that winners got to run again on the b-ball court, while the losing team had to wait their turn. If there were just 10 people in the gym then who cares if you lost since you got to “run ‘em back.” When you participate in sports like that it is about fun. exercise and camaraderie. Only pro sports seem to leave so many people feeling bad. Not the athletes only, but the fans as well. 

    Playing sports helps you to understand that we are all the same. As long as it is not overly competitive, you come to respect your competition. At the end of something like a marathon run you see people leaning on each other as they together reach the finish line. I want to do one of the new obstacle course events because these seem to be like that as well. On the other hand watching sports deepens the illusion that we are all different. Check out an ESPN chat board and see the hatred that people spew. 

    The Spurs are the classiest organization in sports and I wish the players, the organization, and the fans all the best. After 20+ years of being a Spurs fan (while living in six different states but never Texas!) – a fan of the Admiral and Sean Elliot and Bowen, Pop and particularly Duncan and Ginobili I am going to let that go (I had already given up everything but the Spurs). I will still be pulling for those guys and I wish them the best – they are better than the society in which they play. But I just do not like the way that pro sports makes spectators of us all. Time for me to take down the dish and reclaim all of my life. 

    Best of luck to everyone. 

  • Jim

    1) I want to see Manu play 30+ minutes2) I don’t want Bonner on the floor3) I’ve been asking for Duncan to post up more, but he clearly can’t do it effectively for some reason4) Neal should start and guard Thabo. Green is not a good matchup5) We need to force Westbrook, let him try beat you 1-1, don’t allow him to pass6) Play like a man Tony. Are you going to play closer once in your life? Manu always has to bail him out

  • Jdini

    This is what I feared since the start of the playoffs.Going ten deep is only good if 1) your second unit is a lot better than their second unit, or 2) their first unit fatigues because of the minutes they have to spend on the court. In this case, OKC’s first unit is on the court, and they don’t look tired. Our second unit can’t stay with them.

  • Titletown99030507d

    I’m ready to see that Blair come game 5 at tip off. It wasn’t a mirage what he did against this team in  3 games against them in the regular season. I have given up on Bonner it’s time to start Blair or bring him off the bench for Diaw and Splitter needs to get open like you said to get some kind of offensive rhythm going not just for him but for everyone else. 
    Besides the one thing Blair does well on offense is run well with the boys and is Manu’s go to guy to the rim. Just make em Blair and we’ll be fine.
    Blair sharing minutes with Diaw, and Splitter would do more than what Bonner is doing in this series. I used to complain about Blair’s minutes during the regular season because of Splitter’s lack of playing time but I realized Pop wasn’t going to play the twin towers. That went out the window when we got to the last 15 games of the season and still no sign of the two of them on the court together and really Pop intended all this time Splitter’s reason for being on this team is to sub for Timmy so he can give him a few minutes rest. So now I’d rather have some one who’s going to contribute on the offensive side like Blair especially if they run, run, run. Let’s hope he can get into sync again being gone for so long. I really didn’t think Pop was going to sit him that long in the playoffs. He needs Bonner’s minutes.

  • Titletown99030507d

    I get sick when Pop doesn’t make the adjustments after a blow out in the playoffs. But of course he looks good when core3 are playing good. I thought he was going to make the right adjustments but instead let his team loose the 2-0 advantage that he had. Oh well he’s the coach of the year he’ll find a way to get us to the finals. That is his job right?

  • Titletown99030507d

    Wow. I don’t even know you but I had this feeling of sadness as I read your post. Good luck Vermont Spurs Fan.
    GSG!

  • Titletown99030507d

    They need to unclog that paint on the offensive side and clog the paint on the defensive side. No being lazy on the perimeter on the defensive side and run like it’s 12-21-2012 on the offensive side. Parker get your points by shooting from the outside and by snaking in to the paint under the rim. Manu please save us. Timmy make your shots early. Splitter make your free throws period! And Danny Green your stock is going down fast! You better show up. And Bonner well I really feel bad for you. Please eat your favorite samich or something to get back your regular season mojo. Comon guys it’s killing me but not really.

  • Growndhawgg

    I hope it’s Diaw with Splitter. Ginobe needs the spacing and Parker needs Blair to take up space and finish inside. Overall Blair can clean up the glass on Defense.

    Start Blair and bring Diaw off the bench to match-up with Collison.

  • SpurredOn

    I don’t see OKC defenders staying at home on shooters. I see them staying in or near the paint to cut off Tony & Manu (much as the Spurs have done to them) and are willing to them run at shooters. Green missing wide open shots, Bonner unwilling to shoot, and Duncan no longer trusting his elbow jumper were the Spurs’ offensive mistakes showing as the best OKC defense.

    Good question about Manu fouling out. I’m also certain the last playoff game he fouled out of was officiated by Joey Crawford (the beginning of his vendetta vs the Spurs) in gm4 of the 2006 Semis. That game had far worse officiating but stands as a note of how unlikely it is for Manu to foul out, especially in such limited minutes.

  • theghostofjh

    Agreed.

  • Tyler

    Contrary to popular belief, I thought the Spurs played well. I think it was just a matter of the Thunder playing excellent – Durant stepped up and was what you expect from the the 2nd best player in the world, guys knocked down shots, etc. FWIW, it’s not like the Spurs shot it horribly or turned it over constantly. They just got beat. Simple.

    I think this is exactly how we want to play the Thunder – force anyone outside of the big 3 to beat us. Unfortunately, not even the most optimistic (pessimistic?) predictions could have forseen Collison, Ibaka, and Perkins go 22/25 from the field. Outside of a few bad rotations that led to a few dunks, the low post men from OKC were shooting mostly perimeter jumpers – right where we want them too. If instead of 22/25 they go for, say, 15/25, the Spurs are coming back up 3-1.

    In the all-important game 4 I think we’ll see same defensive philosophy. The Spurs have to give up something and I think perimeter jumpers to those 3 is the best course of action.

  • Tyler

    “Guys, stay between your man and the basket.”

    If it was only that easy.

  • JT

    Why do we have to give up open jumpers, they don’t give us anything. The play man up in your face defense, we need to do the same. We need to start switching everything on pick and rolls, all dunk by Ibaka, perkins, were because of failure to switch on PnR, leaving Perkins wide open while his man both defenders chase after the pick guy. Thunder learned this lesson, we need to follow up as well, better to have a mismatch than a wide open shot.

    If Spurs don’t get their mojo back tonight, its all over for them, no way they in OKC.

  • Tyler

    Or to put it in simple terms – the Spurs missed shots, the Thunder made shots. That was the difference.

    It’s a pretty easy game when you make shots.

  • Tyler

    The Spurs lack the same type of personnel as the Thunder (i.e. length, athleticism, etc). What works for them won’t necessarily work for us. 

    I like how we played defense, save a few changes: Cut out the easy buckets/dunks by Ibaka, Perkins, and Collison and you probably wipe away 10 points from their total. Ibaka, Collison, and Perkins probably don’t go 8/9 from 14 feet and out again. That’s probably another 6 points they won’t consistently get. 

    All told, if those three don’t shoot lights out, the Spurs win. Philosophically, I think this is how we need to play them – force someone other than their big three make a play to beat us.

  • Titletown99030507d

    Plus Danny Green needs to play like he did in the first two games. Mainly make his shots early along with Timmy as well. Early shots need to go in. no 5- for 15 crap again.

  • Titletown99030507d

    We’re not going to win focusing on defense on Durant we just need to score more points than them. I bet come game 5 there aren’t going to be any adjustments on defense just a race to the finish line with points. That doesn’t favor us but I bet that’s how the game is going to be like. Scary.

  • Jimbo

    Good post Tyler, spot on observations.  

  • Hassan

    Must have manu in the starting line up tonight to throw off sefolosha and westbrook, or we are toast…
    Also play blair more he is annoying to the thunder bigs..

  • JT

    Finally Spurs front office decided give up some money and get some white shirts, lets see if the SA crowd does us proud tonight, lets outdo OKC.

  • Ace Smith

    They really have found a good cure for manu in this series and even though they have done this i dont still dont think they will be able to beat the spurs three games in a row and i wrote why and how to bet it on my blog here http://nbawagers.com/2012/06/durantula-preys-upon-spurs-to-tie-series-at-2-apiece/

  • idahospur

    Looking at this team, it appears that there are many places that the Spurs can make adjustments and should benefit. Hollinger argued that Manu and Parker should both start, forcing Westbrook on Parker and Sefalosha on Manu. I hope this then lets Green calm down and be more productive off the bench, but would like to see more minutes for S-Jax as well. Bonner can come in for a late 3 or some garbage time, but cannot be further trusted in this series.
    I do wonder if we may be better off seeing Duncan-Blair start with Diaw-Splitter off the bench (and occasional S-Jax at the 4)? If Spurs can claim a good victory tonight with some adjustments it should also help propel a Game 6 win in OKC as well.

  • Zain521

    Guys no need to worry. We would’ve won game 4 if not for the combo of ibaka/perkins/collison going 22-25. Those three will never play that great offensively again this season. Playing on their home court really fueled their players and I have a feeling that Westbrook will have a good 8 turnovers because he will try to be an assist man again and miserably fail. also I think Stephen Jackson will bump Harden back in game 5/6/7 from when he got bumped in game 3 by harden. Our role players will play better and Green will go 4-5 from three point range. GO SPURS GO! (these predictions are just what i hope happen, not necessarily what will happen even though i hope it does happen. )

  • http://twitter.com/jimmy_frich Jimothy Pimwell

    Game 3 wasn’t all Pop’s fault. But I didn’t bother watching Game 5 because I knew he wouldn’t adjust. Pop’s stubborness with his rotations and minutes has been reduced this year and he has been more willing to experiment. I hope he doesn’t lock up now.

  • STIJL

    The line up NEEDS to be Duncan, Leonard, Parker, Jack and Neal.  1st off the bench…Ginobili, Green, Diaw, Blair and Mills.

    I’m telling ya’  IT WILL WORK.  Somebody trust me… Please!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-Paterson/100000762584235 John Paterson

    just lost game 5 though