Game 1 was rough. The San Antonio Spurs were in control from the get-go, leaving the Oklahoma City Thunder on the business end of a 124-92 rout. Many fears were validated: LaMarcus Aldridge scored a terribly easy 38 points, in however way he wanted; neither Kevin Durant nor Russell Westbrook shot above 40 percent from the field; Kawhi Leonard is an android designed to dash all hopes and dreams without a single emotional flicker.
I'm terribly afraid of the Spurs. There's one rule in life that I follow, and that's to never guess against the Spurs. I'd guess against the Golden State Warriors, if you could tease out the crazy in me. (I told everyone that the Memphis Grizzlies would ruin 73 for the Warriors.) But not the Spurs. I've been damaged too many times – least of all, Game 1. The Spurs are the endpoint of hope.
J.A. offered a different perspective in his recap of Game 1:
What we saw tonight were two things:
1) The absolute best version of the Spurs;
2) The absolute worst version of the Thunder
Well, he ain't wrong! Durant and Westbrook will shoot better, and that alone accounts for most of any game-planning that the Thunder need to do heading into Game 2 tonight. And that's not even something to stake hope on. It's an inevitability, even if Kawhi and Danny Green and Kyle Anderson can put up repeat performances on defense. You may notice, only one of those three is Kawhi.
That's reason enough to relax. There are adjustments that have to be made, of course, and whether or not Billy Donovan can make the right one or make it at the right time remains a question to be answered. Something has to be done about the shots that Aldridge is getting; they were all in rhythm, clean catches with the decision tree already mapped. I'd like the Thunder to go small more often. Dion Waiters will probably end up playing more, a right he's earned with smarter decision-making and better shot selection. Oh my god, I can't believe I just typed that. The Thunder and the Spurs are total freaking opposites.
But I guess simple does it, when simple means Durant and Westbrook doing what they do. The adjustments will swing the needle, but we should wait longer than just a Game 1 to draw conclusions about how many are needed. Let's see how Game 2 shakes out.
Prediction: Never mind, I still don't have the balls to pick the Thunder. If you do, drop a comment and I'll rec you for having Dion's confidence.
|2015-16 NBA Playoffs Western Conference Semi-Finals Game 2|
|May 2nd, 2016|
|The American Telephone and Telegraph Center, San Antonio, Texas|
|8:30 PM Central Daylight Time|
|TV: Turner Network Television|
|Injury Report: N/A|
|The Thunder Second Round: Game 1|
|Russell Westbrook||PG||Tony Parker|
|Andre Roberson||SG||Danny Green|
|Kevin Durant||SF||Kawhi Leonard|
|Serge Ibaka||PF||LaMarcus Aldridge|
|Steven Adams||C||Tim Duncan|