The Margin: Oklahoma City Thunder 108, San Antonio Spurs 103
AT&T CENTER — 20 wins in a row feels so long ago. That streak ended four days ago. That’s how life goes in the playoffs. It’s less “win or go home” and more “what have you done for me lately.” After the praise and celebration that has been heaped on the Spurs over the last month or so, they stand just 48 minutes of game action away from summer vacation. You should know the drill by now, one bullet point for each actual point in the difference in final scores.
- For all of the depth the Spurs possess on paper, only a handful of players in silver and black have produced in this series. In Game 5, five players played 30 minutes or more in the game. Only one of the remaining six players who entered Monday’s game played more than 15 minutes, Boris Diaw. Matt Bonner and Danny Green, both of whom are slumping/disappearing/choking/whatever you want to call it at the absolute worst time combined for five minutes of playing time. DeJuan Blair added seven. The Spurs have figured out who can contribute when things get tight and those are the players getting minutes. After the game Stephen Jackson was asked if he could play the full 48 minutes in Game 6. He said that before he was traded to the Spurs he was top 5 in the league in minutes; he’s ready.
- Outside of the 3-point shooting from Manu Ginobili (5-10) and Stephen Jackson (3-6), the Spurs finished 1-8 from behind the arc in Game 5. The catch-and-shoot 3 was believed to be a significant advantage for the Spurs entering this series, but the Thunder have done a good job running the Spurs shooters off the line. Jack seems like one of the few players willing to take a shot with a hand in his face. Most other Spurs are pumping faking and putting the ball on the floor when OKC players close out, usually with no positive results to show for it. Once the Spurs dribble off the line, the Thunder is too quick and too long defensively for the Spurs to get a good shot. They need to simply take the shots that are presented to them from the arc in Game 6.
- Kawhi Leonard had just four points and shows up as a -2 on the +/-, but was extremely valuable for the Spurs on Monday night. He grabbed 10 boards and was credited with one steal, though he deflected several passes away from Kevin Durant and made a big play on Thabo Sefalosha when the Spurs were down three points with just a few second left, knocking a pass away and off of Sefalosha in the back court. It was one of the bigger four point performances you’ll see.
- The Spurs scored 31 points in the fourth quarter of Game 5 and 28 in the third. It wasn’t the beautiful, free-flowing offense that we saw in Games 1 and 2, and really, the 30+ games prior to that, but it was an improvement. Manu Ginobili found his offensive rhythm in spades and the Spurs did more to get Tony Parker on the move away from the ball. Parker eventually started to find his favorite shooting spots that he attacked so well in Game 2, but the Thunder defense was still effective enough to keep the Spurs at bay. While San Antonio didn’t have the disastrous second quarter that they experienced in the previous two games, they still put themselves in enough of a hole in the first half to lose.
- It’s no secret that the odds heavily favor the Thunder after winning Game 5. Even more so when OKC just won said Game 5 on the road. Luckily, though, it’s not over. The Spurs still stand a good chance doing the same thing the Thunder just did Monday night. When we’re talking a matter of just a few plays going either way, there are no absolutes in the outcome. We’re talking about the way a ball bounces here, anything can happen.