Well, everything I predicted about this game was wrong.
I figured we had to get a lead and keep it at the end of the game, given the Spurs prowess in the last 5 minutes of any game. But they straight up handed this game to us on a silver platter as we came from behind. It was like two aristocrats standing at a door, insisting the other go first. Absolutely unbelievable.
Until 3:38 in the fourth quarter, the Thunder were consistently playing 5-7 points down. But then a close shot by Westbrook put us within 4. Then, the Spurs missed 3 consecutive shots, and Durant made a jumper. The thunder were then within two. Then, both teams committed a turnover, the Spurs got blocked, and both teams missed a shot. Lastly, Durant tied the game, and Ginobili made two freethrows. I say lastly because the last basket was Durant's. 3 Shots were taken in the last 32 seconds of the game, all of them missed. Ginobili split some freethrows, but that's it.
So, let's break this down. Only 6 points ahead, the Spurs didn't hit another field goal for the last 3:49 of the game, and only scored 3 more points. They gave us 9 opportunities to score in that time, and if we could have taken advantage of only 5, we would have won. That doesn't sound like an experienced win to me, it sounds like a whole lot of luck.
And it wasn't defense, either. The Thunder were getting some seriously open shots, and committing bad turnovers. Sefolosha had a wide open shot for the win that barely rimmed out.
Some people say that it was a mistake for Sefolosha to come off the bench and shoot that potentially game winning 3, but I didn't have a problem with it. Name me one thing Kevin Durant has done in the way of game-ending shots lately. That, and the fact that he'd probably be double or triple teamed as he took the shot. Besides him, it's not like the Thunder had a hot hand to feed. The team shot 15.4% for the game, and hit 2 3-Pointers on the whole, with green being 1-3 and Durant being 1-4. Thus, having Sefolosha coming off the bench without having shot a 3 all game was probably a good thing. It was a surprise, and allowed the Thunder a completely open shot that barely rimmed out. As a coach, you can't ask for much more.
Below: Analysis, Awards
But, aside from the late-game antics, there were still lots of problems we had in this game. First and foremost was the massive failure of both our point guards. They didn't turn it over, as that was the job of our Small Forwards and big men. Rather, they couldn't score. For most of the fourth, we had both Maynor and Westbrook out there, and I really have no idea why. Maynor hit one bucket all game, and Westbrook barely broke 10 after missing lots of shots. They both hit key shots down the stretch, but they both also missed key shots down the stretch. Honestly, I would have put Sefolosha out there before Maynor. He defends and rebounds much better. I mean, sure, Maynor can be subbed in the middle of the game for Westbrook and provide a boost to the offense, but playing him with Westbrook at the end of the game? In a game where Hill and Ginobili have scored proficiently and Ginobili is out-hustling you at every turn? That's just bad strategy. You've got to have your defensive man out there, not two point guards who can't provide scoring boosts. Or, in Maynors case, box out Hill for rebounds.
Yeesh, I've had enough of this game. On to the awards....
Thunder Wonder: Kevin Durant, 45 Points, 15-24 Shooting, 8 Rebounds, 3 Blocks. Not only did Durant almost score half of the team's points, he also stepped up defensively, limiting Richard Jefferson to just 5 points (under half his average) and blocking 3 shots. Oh, KD, what would we do without you?
Thunder Down Under: Serge Ibaka, 10 Points, 8 Rebounds, 3 Blocks. Need I mention that one of those blocks came at the end of the game against the big fundamental himself, Tim Duncan? Actually, no, I don't, because the rest of his game was good as well.
Thunder Blunder: Russell Westbrook, 12 Points, 4 Rebounds, 4 Assists, 1 Turnover, 1 Block. I might get some flak for this, but while having a subpar performance offensively, you can't compound it by letting George Hill go off for 27 Points while scoring on nearly every attempt. It's just inexcusable.
Thunder Plunderer: Manu Ginobili, 21 Points, 5 Rebounds, 5 Assists, 2 Steals, 1 Block. I know George Hill was the "story" of the game, but all George Hill does is score. He's not a great distributor, rebounder, or defender. He mainly just scores. Meanwhile, Ginobili was providing hustle at every end of the floor and in every facet of the game. He was pretty much the only Spur who was helping the team at the end of the game, and if nothing else, for that he needs to be commended.
Next Game: Versus the Rockets, Wednesday, March 24th, 7 PM Central Daylight Time.