In a complete smashing inspired by two big first half runs, the Oklahoma City Thunder have defeated the San Antonio Spurs, 113-99. The Thunder have beaten the Spurs 4-2, and now move on to the Western Conference Finals. The defending champion Golden State Warriors await.
The Spurs actually started off this game well, amassing a 16-10 lead in the first quarter. But that was not to last, as the Thunder's defense dug in and the Spurs bench failed to produce. The Thunder's staggered lineup allowed them to have Durant on the floor at the end of the quarter, and no one on the Spurs bench could compete. OKC's dominance would continue into the second quarter, where the Thunder went on a 17-2 run. Popovich was playing his starters, but with Boban and Ginobili and without Duncan and Green. This downgrade in athleticism allowed the Thunder to consistently draw fouls in the paint and rack up the score. A clutch three from KD and Westbrook helped things out as well.
OKC began the second half up 23, and they were able to pretty much coast from that point on. Every Thunder starter was able to score in the third quarter, even Andre Roberson. Pop tried to play it smart by starting the half with no Duncan, replacing him with Ginobili. But smallball was more devastating than anything else, as it allowed the Thunder to continue to get inside. From that point on, it was simply a matter of battling the clock.
Box Score | Play-by-Play/Shot Chart | Popcorn Machine | Condensed Highlights | Kevin Durant 37 Pts Full Highlights| Russell Westbrook 28 Pts Full Highlights | Steven Adams 15 Pts Full Highlights | Kawhi Leonard 22 Pts Full Highlights | Tim Duncan 19 Pts Full Highlights | Kevin Durant Postgame Interview | Parker, Durant, Westbrook Postgame Pressers | Coaches Popovich and Donovan Postgame Pressers
How close did the Spurs get?
There was a 20-6 run during the fourth quarter by San Antonio. At the Spurs peak, they had the score within 11 with 3:45 left in the game. That's a very achievable gap. But Tim Duncan botched a jumper, and was blocked by Ibaka on the very next play. The Thunder were able to capitalize on that block. Westbrook hit a three shortly afterwards, basically sealing the game.
The Spurs run was basically caused by the Thunder settling into some long jumpers, and a couple of turnovers that triggered the Spurs offense. San Antonio had a little bit of success inside before Steven Adams was brought into the game. But it really didn't seem to be anything to get too worked up about.
Once again, Steven Adams utterly dominates the hustle stats. A resounding 15 shot contests, and a helpful 4 screen assists. Big ups to Serge Ibaka as well, who logged 14 shot contests of his own. It was truly a day for the Thunder's big men. But I can't ignore the innumerable contributions of Andre Roberson. 13 shot contests, 3 deflections, and 2 loose balls recovered. THAT'S hustle. And to think, we've just started counting these stats!
- Andre Roberson was undoubtedly the story of the game. 14 points on 5 of 8 shooting, and 7 rebounds in 33 minutes. Plus all of that awesome defense on Kawhi. Roberson stepping up from three was huge in particular. When the Thunder can make the Spurs pay for slacking on Roberson, all bets are off.
- Don't ever leave Tony Parker or Patty Mills on Russell Westbrook. Westbrook was just so good at getting into his post up shot, or pulling up for the mid-range jumper. Really glad that Russ was able to go back to his forte.
- Kevin Wayne Durant. He was fantastic in one on one situations, and put in a truly special performance. But KD was also awesome in transition, working via off-ball screens, and drawing mismatches.
- Serge Ibaka was 3 of 9, and definitely could have shot the ball better. But his defense was impeccable, and he looked involved. So on the whole I liked Ibaka's game.
- Steven Adams was rock solid near the rim, as usual. 6 of 7 shooting for 15 points.
- Enes Kanter, hilariously, was all defense tonight. On offense, Kanter only shot 2 of 7, mostly on misses near the basket. But Kanter had never much of an offensive factor in this series anyway, so I'm glad he was a force on defense.
- Dion Waiters was 1 of 5. Waiters didn't get any looks from three today, and got stuffed near the rim a lot. His sole basket was in a one-on-one with Tony Parker. Waiters did have four assists though, including an impressive down low pass to Adams off the pick and roll. The other three assists weren't really impressive, but it's cool to see Waiters put the ball in the right places.
- Randy Foye hit an open mid-range jumper, and bricked three downtown attempts. Foye had a nice assist to Adams down low, catching the defense napping. Nothing egregiously bad on defense. This is the kind of boring consistency OKC will need to tread water against Golden State, though a made three would be nice.
- Nazr Mohammed and Cameron Payne both made end of game cameos.
- Donovan found time for Kanter at power forward, but used him at center a lot. I'm not expecting much of power forward Kanter in the next series, for defensive spacing reasons.
- Tim Duncan was actually effective on offense tonight, as he got a lot of open opportunities close to the basket. Duncan's ability to finish short bank shots is unmatched. But perhaps the most poetic moment for Duncan was when he was blocked by Ibaka on a drive with 3:14 to go. The Spurs were down 11 and had a chance to come back, but after that blocked shot it wasn't gonna happen. My best guess is that Duncan is back next year. As he put it, "Until the wheels fall off."
- Kawhi Leonard had a barely passable game, shooting 9 of 23. Considering how difficult all of Kawhi's shots were, I'm surprised that his numbers were that high. Leonard had to do a bunch of work in one on one situations with Andre Roberson on offense. Roberson made Leonard work for every inch. Whenever Leonard got into the paint, there was always a big to meet him. In the end, I think putting Dre on Leonard rather than KD really saved the Thunder's bacon.
- LaMarcus Aldridge had to deal with the combination of Serge Ibaka and Steven Adams all game. Despite that, Aldridge finished a decent 9 of 18 from the floor. Generally, Aldridge had scoring success when he was able to cut to the rim or take his opponent off the dribble. But Aldridge was completely covered in the mid-range, and couldn't make himself a consistent source of offense.
- Manu Ginobili looked timid, at best. He just wasn't a big part of the Spurs offense, mostly just missing semi-open jumpers.
- Kevin Martin came in to miss three shots, including a wide open three. It was a real struggle to watch Kevin Martin play so badly during the playoffs for the Thunder, so it was kind of poetic to see him stink it up for the Spurs.
- Tony Parker was only 3 of 6 tonight, after being such an effective force throughout this series. Kudos go to Russ for extensively guarding Parker. All Parker was able to get today were shots that he legitimately created with his deceptive quickness. No wide open jumpers for sure.
- At one point, the Spurs had Miller and Duncan on the floor at the same time. Two 40+ year olds!
- Classic Popism.
- Imagine how big the Stache Bros would get if they ate a giant mushroom?
Thunder Wonder: Andre Roberson, defense matters too
Thunder Down Under: Kevin Durant, the unflappable scorer
Thunder Blunder: Serge Ibaka, just not accurate enough
Thunder Plunderer: LaMarcus Aldridge and his ridiculous amount of cardio
Next Game: At the Golden State Warriors, Monday, May 16th, 8 PM Central Daylight time.
What did you think of tonight's game? Drop a comment and let us know!