The Margin: Death by Blowout
Editor’s note: We’re doing The Margin for each of the playoff games during the Spurs’ conference finals series against the Oklahoma City Thunder. For those readers not familiar with this format, let me get you up to speed. Stolen blatantly from our friend Rob Mahoney, The Margin is a bullet point for each point in the difference in the final score.
Spurs 112, Thunder 77
An email thread between the 48MoH staff writers last night:
Me: Guys if they keep blowing people out I’m not doing the Margin anymore … This shit’s too much.
Andrew: YOU’LL DO IT AND YOU’LL LIKE IT
Trevor: Hahaha, Don’t be a hero Matt! OR get really drunk and have some fun.
So here we are. Thirty-five — THIRTY-FIVE — bullet points for your dome piece.
- The Spurs just won a game by 35 points against the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference Finals. Have we all let that sink in yet? Literally everything is working for this team right now, and as each game moves along the success just morphs into a runaway snowball. The starters, the bench, Manu — everything’s in working order.
- San Antonio once again had a paint party, as I would consider 54 points a shindig at the very least. If you’re into math, that gives the Spurs *whips out calculator* 8,443 points in the paint through two games of the series. Oh no, wait, that’s 120 points. Still.
- Danny Green went 7-of-10 from the 3-point line, and there were a lot of open looks in there. The guy is just ridiculous when he’s rolling. One of the crazy stats from last night: Danny hit seven 3s; the Thunder totaled seven 3s and free throws combined (2-of-20, 5-of-10).
- Of course, when you’re getting passes like these…
- Nobody has pounded the “Serge Ibaka injury is a major problem for Oklahoma City” drum more loudly than me, but I’m not sure it would’ve mattered last night anyway. The direct impact of his absence is devastasting at times, as is the indirect impact he has on the rest of the rotation, but I’m not sure one guy would make the difference with the way the Spurs are playing basketball at the moment.
- Russell Westbrook hit a pull-up jumper to give the Thunder a three-point lead, 36-33, with 7:47 remaining in the second quarter, then the Spurs went on a 79-41 run over the final 31:33.
- Speaking of Westbrook … the OKC point guard had a ROUGH night. He had just 15 points, missed 17 shots and didn’t get to the free-throw line once. All that led to him being -32 in his 29 minutes on the court.
- Kevin Durant wasn’t much better. He, too, put up 15 points, but the league’s leading scorer took just 16 shots. So in case you’re keeping count, Westbrook missed more shots than KD even attempted.
- Cameras caught the two Thunder stars jawing at each other late in the first half, but I’m not getting into that. Teammates do that stuff. Still, it was just one of many frustrating moments for KD and Russ, especially defensively. But if those two combine for just 30 points, OKC can’t beat anybody.
- The 2012 narrative keeps coming up in discussions after the 122-77 blowout. Yes, we remember what happened after the Spurs went up 2-0 in that series, but these teams are not the same. Not only are the Thunder without Ibaka and James Harden, the Spurs are completely different. In the deciding Game 6 of that series two years ago, Kawhi Leonard went for five points and two rebounds, Green didn’t even get four minutes of run, and Tiago Splitter was on the court for 39 seconds.
- Oklahoma City’s starters are giving their All-Star duo ZERO help. Thabo Sefalosha hasn’t even scored. Through two games, Thunder starters not named Westbrook or Durant have chipped in a TOTAL of nine points. Nine.
- Reggie Jackson hasn’t done much at all in this series after killing the Spurs all season long. He’s had some flashy moments, but he’s only scored 21 points through the first two games after averaging 21.3 against San Antonio during the year.
- The 35-point margin is the largest playoff loss in the Seattle/OKC franchise’s history. It’s also the largest ‘Margin’ I’ve ever had to do. So we should be equally pitied.
- Kawhi Leonard played only 16 minutes last night and the Spurs won by 35. That’s gonna hurt his on/off plus/minus numbers for the postseason.
- Two things that must die: Sprint’s ‘Framily’ commercials and the creepy seductive dancing DirecTV marionette.
- Not one Spur played more than Tim Duncan’s 28:51 and there are three full days off before the teams play again. Fatigue is of little concern at the moment.
- Over their last eight playoff games (7-1), the Spurs are outscoring their opponents (Dallas, Portland, OKC) by 22.3 points per 100 possessions (116.7 ORtg; 94.4 DRtg).
- Also during that time, Green is shooting better than 51 percent from the 3-point line and is a team-high +14.6; when he’s in the game, the Spurs are blowing opponents away by 33 points per 100 possessions. The guy is absolutely killing it after being smothered for the majority of the first six games against the Mavericks, boasting a true-shooting mark of 72.5 percent since Game 7 of that series.
- Sticking with the same timeframe, San Antonio is shooting 50.9 percent as a team, including 41.3 percent on 20 3-point attempts per game, and is only turning the ball over 10.1 times a night.
- While the offensive fireworks are most obvious, the Spurs defense has been stifling. I mentioned the defensive rating a few bullet points ago, and since that Game 7 blowout of Dallas, San Antonio is grabbing nearly 10 steals per game. That’s a ton. This team is almost averaging more steals than turnovers on a nightly basis since the Mavericks woke them from their sleepwalk.
- The odds of the Spurs winning the title are now set at 10/13 … what?
- About that, if the Spurs are going to play like this there isn’t a team in the league that can beat them in a seven-game series. Not even the Heat. As good as last year’s San Antonio team was, this one is playing at an exponentially higher level. It’s just ridiculous to watch.
- We learned last night that Tim Duncan will sometimes yell “Light it!” at Green when he frees him for a 3-pointer. Sounds about right. From Green: “When I’m running down the floor, I always hear Tim yell ‘light it’ and I get kind of excited a little bit. It gives me more confidence to take the shot because I already know he’s ready for me to shoot.”
- Speaking of quotes, Boris Diaw is letting his words flow freely: “(The Thunder) gave up on the game pretty early.”
- Really running out of material here, so I’ve turned to you, the people. Everybody loves some Twitter follower submissions! (Not checking for accuracy): “Durant, Westbrook, Ibaka’s combined age is a whole tony Parker (32) younger than spurs big three.” — @kiestaster
- “Well I’ve always thought that Cory Joseph sounds like a hockey goalie.” — @andytobo (It does, Andrew. Thanks for your input.)
- “Best ive seen splitter play. That guitar nonsense during halftime was terrible. Diaw ability to dribble/handle ball is HUGE.” — @attillcus
- A text from a friend regarding his coworkers who are Heat fans, unsolicited: “Confident but quietly shitting their pants.” At least they’re doing so quietly.
- An email from a well-known writer: “Can’t tweet it but (the Spurs are) winning the title.” (It’s kind of looking like that’s probable BUUUUTTTTT let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves.)
- “I believe Danny Green is now the highest percentage 3-point shooter in NBA history among those with 200+ attempts. For now.” — @marktremayne
- “Tony Parker needs 1 more assistant for 1,000 playoff assists. Only 9 Hall of Famers have done it.” — @marktremayne
- “Spurs have now won 6 straight WCF games since the 2012 series.” — @Brant_Freeman
- Back to me for a second. It’s really awesome seeing Manu play the way he is right now. Less than a year ago he was being slammed to the point even HE thought he was done. But here we are, getting a Ginobili worth MUCH more than the $7.5 million he’s being paid, and the Spurs are on the doorstep of the Finals again.
- I know we’ve talked about how these teams are different, and that 2012 series result isn’t something you can compare to this situation, but it’s still in the back of my mind. Things are currently going swimmingly, but we’ve seen how freaking difficult it is to win a title, and six more wins is still a long ways off. There’s a ton of reason for optimism, but Durant, Westbrook and the Thunder are going to keep playing. This thing isn’t over yet, especially with the series heading back to OKC. All San Antonio has done is hold onto home-court advantage, though it’s done so convincingly. Buckle up, because it’s only going to get more interesting from here.
- ‘Here lies Matthew Tynan. He’s dead. Killed by bullet points. RIP. LOL. GSG.’