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Momentous Russ: A Hyperanalysis of the Series between the Thunder and Spurs

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Why the Thunder have enough momentum to win in six, plus series predictions

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

"That was an offensive foul on Ginobli" - Chris Webber, salty color commentator.

Meanwhile, at the other end of the court:

That's IMMEDIATELY after the win, not too long after this.

Don't for a second think that was a coincidence. The anger and defiance Heat "fans" were mired in during LeBron's hated Miami run now courses through Oklahoma City's veins. The only difference is we don't need seven games to beat the Spurs - we just need six.

Of COURSE OKC won Game 2 on the road, dropping 98 against a team that's been holding opponents to 78 pts a game on their home floor during the postseason and 90 during the regular season. The Thunder are a team of thoroughbreds at this point.

When's the last time you heard smack talk about Kanter's defense? Nobody gives a crap when he's out-rebounding the entire Spurs frontcourt right before their "fans." His ‘stache brother, Adams, is shooting a trillion percent in the clutch. And our stars? They fought through humiliation in Game 1 and a high pressure environment in Game 2 to even the series heading home. OKC couldn't close out a tough Game 3 down the stretch, but I still think we have enough juice to get this thing done, and OKC's closing out of the Spurs at the end of game 4 is evidence for it.

Momentum is mass times velocity, aka russwest in a nutshell. This is just one of the newest ways to call Russell a force to be reckoned with, because he's big AND fast. The Game 2 win was an embodiment of that monster: frenetic AND physical. The AND is the best part of that sentence, because I want the best of both worlds. I, like Russ and KD, want to rattle off three straight wins and end the reign of the graybeards. Game 4's win is where it starts - even if the Thunder have to hard foul some old dudes into oblivion, they'll get it done with their tough front line and a 40-pointer from Slim.

But back to the math again... if you want the best of both worlds, check out this cute little formula[1] I took from high school, highlighting the best "momentum" players in the league. Looking at rebounding, defense, shooting, and passing we found the most versatile players in the league,[2] so try not to look too surprised when you see familiar names at the top of these lists...

Player

Momentum Rank League-Wide

K. Leonard

1st (tied)

D. West

1st (tied)

M. Ginobli

6th

Player

Momentum Rank League-Wide

R. Westbrook

1st (tied)

A. Roberson

8th

S. Ibaka

3rd

"Experts" say the Spurs should overwhelm us in every metric, and yet here we are, right with them when it comes to versatility and a 2-2 series tie. That's why I'm never counting OKC out of this series; even after the disappointing home loss, I still believe we can send these gentlemen home for good. In Game 2, the Spurs looked more like gentle, old men that have no place in the very physical game our All-Stars LOVE playing. I mean they couldn't stop Kanter rocketing to the rim to finish lobs from Westbrook. (Kanter, by the way, is the best roll man in the playoffs right now)

We tasted blood in that game, and regardless of homecourt, Pop should have pulled out every dirty trick in the book to prevent that from happening. Maybe he did. But our core four showed their playoff experience, handling it like true gentlemen. We are the classy ones now. We make the conference finals every two years. It's time. After this, give us that whimpering, cheerleading Golden Boy. Spurs in six, Curry in seven. Bet on it.

PREDICTIONS

Last week, the Game 1 blowout took our numbers by surprise, but the Game 2 win had a 10 percent chance by our estimations. This week we are pulling out the stops for a six game upset, using the HustleScore from last week and the Momentum scores from above. NOTICE: there are great signs of life for OKC in Games 4 and 6, due to the fact that a series tied at 1-1 lasts six games a majority of the time. Keep that in mind, and once again enjoy responsibly.



[1] The Momentum Score is simply a geometric mean of steals*blocks/fouls*2pt%*3pt%*ft%*assists/turnovers*offrebs*defrebs. Why do this? If you remember from 10th grade math, geometric mean is higher when the numbers are closer together, i.e better at multiple skills than just a single one.

[2] We omitted players that posted a 0 in any of the listed stats