El Conclusión: San Antonio Spurs 120, Oklahoma City Thunder 111

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Oklahoma City Thunder 111 Final
Recap | Box Score
120 San Antonio Spurs
Tim Duncan, C 36 MIN | 2-11 FG | 7-10 FT | 12 REB | 6 AST | 11 PTS | +16

Loses some marks for the poor shooting night, but everything else was what you want from Duncan. Tony Parker can thank Duncan’s screen setting for many of the open mid-range jumpers he got tonight.

Kawhi Leonard, SF 35 MIN | 7-12 FG | 1-1 FT | 10 REB | 0 AST | 18 PTS | +9

If you wondered whether or not Kawhi Leonard could come through with a big performance in a heated playoff game, Tuesday night should’ve told you. He knocked down open 3 after open 3 and did the lion’s share on Kevin Durant… And only committed one foul.

Boris Diaw, PF 27 MIN | 4-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 2 AST | 9 PTS | +12

A stretch in the third quarter displayed exactly why he is starting for this team. First, he knocked down a open 3-pointer. On the following play, he caught the ball on the perimeter and went by his man to the basket for a verse layup. Foul trouble held him back a little tonight, but he’s still fitting in very well with this Spurs team.

Tony Parker, PG 40 MIN | 16-21 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 8 AST | 34 PTS | +15

I don’t know where to begin. He came out firing and made almost all of the big plays tonight for San Antonio. He constantly got the ball to his spots and converted at an extremely high clip. He was masterful.

Daniel Green, G 27 MIN | 4-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 10 PTS | +14

Green recovered from his shaky Game 1 somewhat, but he missed shots in the second half when the Spurs were dying of thirst offensively.

Stephen Jackson, SG 12 MIN | 1-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 3 PTS | 0

Wasn’t relied upon in Game 2 quite like he was in Game 1. So things go for a role player on a team that’s won 20 games in a row. Picked up a technical foul for good measure, so there’s that.

Matt Bonner, PF 17 MIN | 1-2 FG | 1-2 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 4 PTS | -4

Similar to Green, Bonne hit a 3 in the first half. I’m getting the feeling he’s not going to be much of a factor in this series, for better or worse.

Manu Ginobili, SG 26 MIN | 6-11 FG | 7-8 FT | 1 REB | 4 AST | 20 PTS | -3

In his Manu Ginobili-like way, he filled in the crack when it came to making big plays in this game. He wasn’t as successful defending James Harden as he was in Game 1 but Manu’s 3-pointer in the fourth quarter was as big a shot as this game had.

Gary Neal, PG 9 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 3 PTS | -6

See Jackson, Stephen.

Tiago Splitter, C 11 MIN | 1-1 FG | 6-12 FT | 0 REB | 3 AST | 8 PTS | -6

Poor Tiago Splitter was the butt of all the hack-a-_____ jokes tonight. He looked like such a sad panda when he was getting fouled. Hit 6-10 during that stretch, though.

Five Things We Saw

  1. I’m curious if it might be a good thing that the Spurs didn’t go on to blow out the Thunder in this game. Close game reps are an important thing and the Spurs didn’t seem all that pleased after this game ended, despite the win. They might need some anger or edge to start Game 3 considering OKC is likely to play with a dangerous combination of excitement and desperation back home.
  2. I’m not completely concerned with Danny Green’s performances so far in the Western Conference Finals, but I’m not comfortable either. A big performance on the road will go some ways to easing my discomfort, however.
  3. I can’t emphasize how awesome Tony Parker’s performance was tonight. It was the type that Hall of Fame highlights are pulled from.
  4. Durant, Westbrook and Harden combined for 88 of the Thunder’s 111 points. I’m curious where OKC can go from here to expect to win four out of the next five games.
  5. As of writing this, the Spurs have not lost in 48 days.
  • Jacques

    Noticed how Thunders went small in the 4th qtr and came roaring back? I have a feeling that Brooks is going to use more sefolosha and less Perkins. Otherwise, great win!

  • Gomezd

    I thinkthe hack a splitter worked wonders for OKC. Spliter did sort of decently not choking all his freethrows but in a game of runs and momentum the way the game slowed down was huge for OKC. I think Pop should have pulled splitter and finish the quarter with that isane momentum we had.Perhaps he had faith in Tiago and while he didnt disapoint per say the way the game changed certailnly help the thunder a lot, even if Tiago had hit em all.

  • SpurredOn

    A feel good about Danny Green: his best shooting games this season have been on the road, including a win in OKC. I suspect he’ll feel quite comfy and pressure free Thursday night.

  • Len

    Watching this game as a Spurs fan was pure enjoyment.  GSG!

  • Len

    And to point #3.  I’ve held the belief that Timmy and Manu are in the HOF already but Tony isn’t quite there yet.  I’ve said that doing something special this playoffs would be the clincher in putting him in the hall.  Tonight would definitely qualify as the start of something special.

  • theghostofjh

    That’s what I’ve been saying for quite some time. I think they still lose, but IMO it’s their only chance.

  • Niyari

     Another Finals MVP! :p

  • Tim in Surrey

    If you do a post about the third quarter, I think you should call it “El Explosion”. That was amazing.

  • STIJL

    If antics are all OKC can come up with to try and win this series…I feel very comfortable about the Spurs chances of winning this series.

    Great point made about the Thunder relying too much on Durant, Westbrook and Harden and not enough contribution from the rest of the team where in the Spurs case someone (or 2) always seem to step up in games besides just our big 3.  Game 1 it was Neal and Jackson.  Game 2 it was Kawhi.  Game 3…?

    Speaking of Kawhi…only a rookie…can you imagine how good he can become?

  • Vermont Spurs Fan

    Leonard with a double-double! 18 and 10. Only one foul. Hill was a nice player but Leonard is special. He dunks past Ibaka like Ibaka is not there. Those big hands really help on a strong dunk. This guy might be an All-Star in a few years. Maybe my favorite of the “new spurs” (although I love Tiago Splitter). 

  • Tim in Surrey

    It won’t work over the long haul–in spots, maybe, but not over the bulk of a game. That’s why Brooks hasn’t gone to it. First of all, Ibaka is a mediocre post defender and pick & roll defender. His rep and DPoY status are purely due to his work as a weakside help defender. But he can’t stop Duncan in the post and moving him to the middle also means you don’t get the benefit of his weakside shot-blocking. Worse, instead of a front line of Perkins, Ibaka, and Durant, which can dominate the glass, you’ve got effectively Ibaka, Durant, and, say, Sefolosha, which is a terrible rebounding unit. That’s ok, though, if you get better offensive production, right? The problem is that the Spurs can do that even better than OKC can. Kawhi is actually more comfortable as a 4 and is a far better rebounder than Durant–who he’s already guarding anyway. Meanwhile, against that lineup we can use Neal in combination with Manu and Tony, which makes us a stronger shooting team. So, to sum up, if OKC goes small for extended periods, they score more effectively but are weaker on defense and rebounding, while we score more effectively but AREN’T weaker on either defense or rebounding. Advantage Spurs.

    No matter what they do, OKC just doesn’t match up well with us. They’re in pick-your-poison mode for this whole series.

  • Titletown99030507d

    Did the thunder go small when Blair had those great games during the regular season?

  • Titletown99030507d

    Like mentioned Splitter hitting 6-10 during that stretch and not losing any points on the lead it was more the rest of the team not doing what they were supposed to do in responding. Splitter did his part not choking and going 1-10 the team needs to keep their focus regardless what the Thunder throw at them. This is a big boy game.
    Let’s see if they try that one again.

    On an other point Gary Neal cannot guard anybody – again!

    And when is Durant going into a slump? Man that dude doesn’t miss. But at least he’s not tearing up the paint. 

  • John T.

    Did anyone else think it was a mistake for Coach Brooks to use his big adjustment at a point in the game where he had a 20 percent chance of winning (margin was greater than time left in game)?  Granted they came back, but it seems like they provided Pop with a whole quarter of tape to figure out how to beat this lineup. 

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  • Pastrypride

    The Spurs could have had a bigger lead going into the second half if the second unit could have controlled the boards a little better. 2 rebounds between Bonner and Splitter in 28 combined minutes is disappointing. Collison was killing them on the offensive glass.

  • Tyler

    I agree OKC is in pick-your-poison position, but above all, they have to defend the PnR better. And frankly, Perkins was absolutely awful in that regard. That hurt them more than anything.

    The Spurs generate almost all their offense from the PnR, and right now they’re getting whatever they want when Perkins is defending the screener. Changing that is priority #1, 2, 3…. Brooks can’t just sit their and watch TP come off screens and toy with the defense. He has to take something away.

    I’d expect Brooks to go small and switch screens like they did in the 4th. So what if you give up a few mismatches to TP on the perimeter or to TD in the post. An all-isolation diet isn’t exactly what the Spurs want. 

  • neverthehero

    If Splitter would have made them all, would have been up over 20. I think it’s more he wanted to give Duncan his rest and there was no guarantee  that they wouldn’t have fouled Duncan anyway

  • http://www.nba.com/spurs/?tmd=1 TheRealDirtyP1

    Boy no kidding. That 22 pt lead could have been 30 without the second chance points and extended possessions.

  • http://www.nba.com/spurs/?tmd=1 TheRealDirtyP1

    I was thinking the same thing last night. The difference between the Spurs going small vs. the Thunder going small, the Spurs move the ball better. You can play two bigs against the Thunder like the Spurs did last night because 3 guys are going to get the ball, and the other two are just going to stand around. Diaw on Fisher was a good matchup. He wasn’t moving, just camped out in the corner. When he did get the ball he couldn’t get a shot over Diaw’s length and if he went past Diaw, he still had to shoot over Duncan. I say, let them go small with their big 3. They can’t play the whole game.

  • ThatBigGuy

    Small ball can’t be used all game. The Spurs are too good and will have adjusted by the end of the first quarter. They struggled early when Brooks went small ball, but adjusted well, finishing the quarter off with some nice baskets. The only reason it works in spurts for the Thunder is that they were in somewhat of a desperation mode. They can’t keep that intensity up for 48 minutes. Brooks used it in about as good of a fashion as he could, but the Spurs’ lead was too big and they’re poise is just too great. Nothing phases them anymore. 

  • idahospur

    Agreed. Even though the Hack-a-Splitter really didn’t give them much help in the points department, it slowed the Spurs down and did put the offense into a rough position. During the Jazz series when the Spurs had a significant lead (Game 3?) the Jazz were coming back and Pop had to put the starters back in to end the game. It took a few minutes to get the offensive rhythm back. If OKC uses this tactic more, it could be challenging, especially when in OKC.

  • Pastrypride

    I agree, love Leonard. He was HUGE last night. 18 and 10, as you mention, but his boxscore is even better than that might lead you to believe: 18 on just 12 FGA, 3-6 3FG, a steal, two blocks, and only one turnover. For the playoffs, he’s shooting 50% from the field, 45% on 3′s, and 85% from the line. I wouldn’t be surprised if that gives him one of the highest true shooting scores in the playoffs.

  • John T.

    I agree and I still feel like, and this is wishful thinking, the Spurs have one potential adjustment if the Thunder go small and that is to bring Blair back in to mix it up a little.  I actually wouldn’t mind seeing Blair steal some of Bonner’s minutes when Duncan is on the floor.  I am not down on Bonner but the Spurs have no shortage of guys spreading the floor and the Thunder don’t run plays in the post which forces Bonner to run around outside the paint which is not his strength.  I just think Blair’s skill set is better matched against the Thunder’s offense than Bonner.  

  • http://www.nba.com/spurs/?tmd=1 TheRealDirtyP1

    I wouldn’t mind seeing Blair if they intend to use him in the post when OKC goes small. That being said, he’s not as crisp on rotations IMO, since he doesnt have Diaw’s length he can’t close out on Fisher. Shooting is about angles, Fisher gets a more preferable angle shooting over Blair than Diaw and Blair won’t be able to recover as fast if he leaves his feet. The current rotation works well and I don’t see Pop changing anything with the success they’re having.

  • Titletown99030507d

    Small ball works for them if Parker has a very bad game.

  • Titletown99030507d

    I’ve been saying that since the series started. If we get in a pickle they could throw Blair in there and shake up Brooks strategy besides Blairs a good free throw shooter and his rebounds could come to life  with these match ups. That’s the same team they played during the regular season. He’s good for this series as well.

  • Titletown99030507d

    Compare Blair’s numbers when he played the Thunder during the regular season to Diaw’s numbers now.

  • Titletown99030507d

     So they take it to 30pts and then they bring it back to 6. So what? It’s a game of runs anyway.

  • Titletown99030507d

    Obviously Splitter did more than Bonner, Jackson, or Neal on the offensive side and at least they didn’t loose the lead or shave that many points off the lead when Splitter was in. His rebounds will come. Not worried about that. 

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  • theghostofjh

    Agree.

  • Pastrypride

    I agree, Splitter is usually a good rebounder. I guess it’s more Bonner I’m worried about. In past years, he’s faded in the playoffs, and he seems to be doing it again this year. Getting a little more out of him would really help that second unit, which I believe finished with a negative +/-.

  • theghostofjh

    As I already acknowledged, the Spurs are a tough number to crack for any team, including the Thunder. A small ball, run at every opportunity strategy is their only chance of breaking through, albeit, it’s a limited one. But they need to emphasize/optimize their core strengths: speed, youth, length, and athleticism. That means playing the following players more and more minutes as you go up this scale: Ivey, Perkins, Cook, Fisher, Collison, Sefolosha, Ibaka, Harden, Westbrook, and Durant.

    There goal should be to out-run us, and use their long arms, quick hands, and great hops to cut-off, disrupt, block, and deflect driving lanes, passes, and shots (forcing excess turnovers) in both transition and half court defensive sets. They need to try and trap Parker unpredictably, and they need to be smarter and more aggressive in guarding the pick and roll, fighting through screens where possible, but also using switches well when appropriate. Duncan’s a tough cover for the Thunder anyway you look at it, but they’d do just as well if not better with a tag team of Ibaka/Collison, especially if they can keep the tempo at a fever pitch. But to try and do all this, they need to play their fastest and most athletic guys the great majority of minutes, and constantly push the pace (95+, and score at least 105+) in an all out effort to score in bunches out in transition.

    And in regards to the rebounding, they get a lot of their boards from their wings and Ibaka (Perkins is 26th in total rebound rate among 32 league-ranked centers). Durant is actually the Thunder’s best defensive rebounder, and one of the best rebounding SF’s in the NBA. He’s ranked 7th, just behind Kawai in total rebound rate for SF’s, and he’s number one in defensive rebound rate among all SF’s. Ibaka leads the Thunder in offensive rebound rate, and is #5 in the league among PF’s, tied with DeJuan Blair. Westbrook is second in the league among PG’s in offensive rebound rate. And their SG’s are in the top 20% in defensive rebound rate league-wise among all SG’s, with Thabo, Harden, and Cook ranked 16th, 18th, and 21st.

    The fact is, OKC cannot match up with us in either offensive or defensive half-court sets. Neither Ibaka nor Perkins are offensive threats in the half court, particularly in the low post. Thus, their spacing in the half court is not good, and their offense is too imbalanced, with WB & KD getting close to 80% of the starting units shot attempts.To attempt to compensate for these problems, they need to push the pace with WB & Harden leading the attack, Durant and Ibaka running the lanes, and spot up shooters spreading the floor (e.g., Cook and Fisher).

    Will this allow them to beat the Spurs in 4 out of the next 5 games? Probably not (and hopefully not!). But in my view, it’s the only chance they have.

     

  • theghostofjh

    No, not more than usual, although Perkins minutes were limited to 16 because of foul trouble.

  • theghostofjh

    Blair is actually a good match-up on Perkins. Perk can’t stay with him on the pick and roll, and Perk has trouble exploiting Blair’s defensive weaknesses.

  • theghostofjh

    “The only reason it works in spurts for the Thunder is that they were in
    somewhat of a desperation mode. They can’t keep that intensity up for 48
    minutes.”

    Probably not, but they need to give it a full-fledged try, because IMO, it’s their ONLY chance. And even at that, it’s a slim one.

  • Daniel T

     How can you say Blair is a good free throw shooter when his regular season average was lower than Tiago’s?  Against OKC in the three regular season games he was 4 of 9 from the FT line. 

  • ThatBigGuy

    Agreed. If something worked a little, you have to see if it can work a lot. But I just can’t see this team and this coach not be able to adjust over 48 minutes.

  • Daniel T

     Which game are you referring to?  Collison had all of one offensive rebound, which was out past the FT line that he took away from Green on a long rebound.  The rebound prior to that one was so long that when Fisher caught up with it he stepped out of bounds.  From what I recall there were a number of offensive rebounds by OKC that were the result of the ball bouncing out long over everyone’s head, and boxing out wasn’t the problem.  OKC did not turn them into a whole lot of points either. 

  • Daniel T

    If you were to look carefully enough through a play by play account, OKC only scored about 5 more points than the Spurs from their Offensive Rebounds.  Considering that had about a dozen additional chances to get an OR due to all of their misses, it was much less significant than some people seem to think.

  • http://www.nba.com/spurs/?tmd=1 TheRealDirtyP1

    Daniel, even with statistics, you look at possessions. Offensive rebounds take a possession away from the defense, and at the rate the Spurs were scoring at over 50%, that 16-8 edge on offensive rebounds is 8 more possessions, which is 8 more points at 50% fg. Right? If we’re looking at blaring differences in the box score, that one sticks out along with fast break points 26-10 Okc edge.

  • theghostofjh

    True. Obviously Blair and Tiago still have work to do on their free throws.

  • pastrypride

    I’m referring to game 2. Collison definitely gained control of the ball after multiple OKC misses against the SA second unit. Maybe they didn’t all qualify as rebounds. This happened on several consecutive OKC possessions in I think the 2nd quarter; the commentators emphasized it, it was quite striking, and led to baskets for OKC when they’d missed their first and in one case second try. I can’t tell you much more than that, since I was listening to the game, not watching. If they were all due to long bounces, that would be great.

  • Daniel T

    You could possibly have a point if they had actually gained 8 points.  But when the guy grabbing the offensive rebound gets called for a 3 second violation (Perkins), steps out of bounds (Fisher), has their followup blocked by Kawhi (both Westbrook and Perkins), Boris (Ibaka) or Tim (Ibaka again); you wind up with a number of rebounds that didn’t lead to scores.  Six ORs in the second half led to 2 points of FTs.  

    I don’t see how each OR can take a possession away from the opposing team.  So if Ibaka had 4 tips on OR during one possession and missed them all, that is 4 lost possessions by the Spurs?  If the original shot had gone in, there would have been no rebounds involved.  There is added value to missing a shot and 4 tips that come within a matter of seconds by somehow taking away four possessions, despite the offense getting zero points from it?    

  • Daniel T

    It must have been the series near the start of the 2nd quarter.  Fisher missed a three pointer and OKC had a team rebound while Manu was charged with a foul on Collision.  Eight seconds later and Collison misses a jumper and another “team rebound” (out of bounds off a Spur?).  Fisher misses and that results in a defensive team rebound, the ball going to the Spurs.  That took 34 seconds off the game clock with no points for OKC, and then Bonner hit a three.  Next possession for OKC and Fisher misses a jumper with the rebound bouncing back out to him but he steps out of bounds.  Next time Harden misses a 17 footer and Green started to get the long rebound out near the top of the key but Collison rushing away from the basket beats him to it.  That led to a layup by Harden 11 seconds later.  So after all that activity in a minute and a half, Collison showed a lot of hustle and the Spurs outscored them 3-2.

  • http://www.nba.com/spurs/?tmd=1 TheRealDirtyP1

    With the fg% the Spurs were shooting, they nullified any advantages OKC had on OR’s. If the Spurs aren’t shooting well, the OR’s will stick out much more.
    How can you argue that getting an OR and pulling the ball out to start another possession is not taking away a posession from the defense? When you talk about OR from tips or putbacks, those are a given. The OR’s that get pulled back out and another play run is taking a possession away, no?

  • Spinetrine38

    “I’m curious where OKC can go from here to expect to win four out of the next five games.”…still curious?

  • http://48minutesofhell.com Andrew A. McNeill

    No that’s become readily apparent. Thanks for trolling today.