1-1. Keep reading »
Roster ranking the series. Keep reading »
Brian Windhorst on Steven Adams: “Adams has evolved. He doesn’t scrap with opponents as much anymore — they have the book on him now. And he’s getting the book on them. Adams has learned his peers’ names and tendencies. Now he studies Tim Duncan and Marc Gasol. Adams’ minutes and his production per minute have crept up: This season, he finished the regular season with the 12th-best defensive real plus-minus in the league, and a top-50 overall rating.”
Anthony Slater: “It landed like a piece of steak into a cage of starved carnivores. LaMarcus Aldridge scooped it up first. But as he gathered for a layup attempt, Ibaka clung to his jersey — the fifth and final admitted missed call — and Aldridge fumbled it through contact. As it rattled around the feet of five different guys, Ibaka pounced on it and the buzzer sounded. As his teammates celebrated, Adams, the star of the play, stared down a fan in the front row. Moments earlier, after tumbling into the front row contesting that Mills 3, that fan had grabbed his arm as he tried to get back in the play, putting a wacky finishing touch on the sequence.” Keep Reading…
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Matt Moore of CBSSports.com: “This is the Thunder. Many questions, for which they very often have the answer. In the end, the Thunder blew another big lead and there will be many who will believe that San Antonio deserved to win — never mind that they still had every chance to do so — and that the Thunder once again collapsed in the fourth quarter. None of this changes the reality of where this series stands any more than head referee Ken Mauer’s admission that Waiters fouled Ginobili. This series is 1-1, and just when we thought Oklahoma City had no answers for the Spurs, the whole script has been flipped. This series suddenly has a lot more questions to answer, about that final sequence, about Donovan, about Westbrook, and about what all this means for Durant. The only thing we know for certain?”
Anthony Slater: “Aldridge, Ibaka, Westbrook and Kawhi Leonard all scrambled for the loose ball. But it was too late. Time had expired. Adams’ defense had saved the Thunder. A batch of strange no-calls didn’t hurt, either. Thirty minutes after the most frantic moment of his career, Waiters sat in stoned silence, ice packs on his knees, scrolling through his phone at his locker. Countless Vines and screenshots and opinions of the wild closing sequence had hit the web. Waiters was at the center of it. He scrolled and scrolled and scrolled and then saw something that piqued his interest.” Keep Reading…
SAN ANTONIO — Danny Green hit back-to-back 3s, and the lead was suddenly three. There was 6:40 left on the clock.
I wrote this lede when it happened. Because to me, whatever happened next was going to be story. Either the Thunder were going to execute on the road in the biggest spot of the season, or they were going to crumble and leave devastated in an 0-2 hole.
What I didn’t expect, is those final 30 seconds.
What happened? I don’t know. Just watch the dumb video. Basically, everyone fouled everyone and in the end, the buzzer sounded with the Thunder winning Game 2 by a point. After Game 1’s embarrassment, it felt like for much of Game 2 just being competitive was enough. But with the opportunity there to take it, the Thunder had to seize it. And they did. Keep Reading…
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Time: 8:30 PM CST
Spurs lead 1-0
Playoff Team Comparisons (per NBA.com/Stats – out of 16 teams)
Well, that happened. After the massacre that some people called a game, I heard many people saying, “This is what happens when the Spurs play their best game and the Thunder play their worst.” And that may be true. But that’s not what I saw. I saw a team that was completely and wholly unprepared to play against the Spurs. I saw a team that defended the Spurs as if they were the Warriors. The Thunder’s smalls and bigs were hedging on the Spurs’ guards to prevent penetration, but in the process, they were leaving the roll/pop man completely open. Against most teams in the NBA who eschew the mid-range shot in favor of 3-pointers, you can do that. But against the Spurs, you play right into their wheelhouse. Keep Reading…
On today’s podcast we discuss the following topics:
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Berry Tramel: “So Leonard is OK with Westbrook driving by him, which Westbrook did repeatedly Saturday night. But the likes of Duncan and Aldridge were waiting, and Westbrook made just three of 11 shots on drives to the basket. Leonard’s long arms helped keep Westbrook’s jumpers at bay and didn’t exactly hurt when trying to contain Durant, too. The Thunder talked bravely Sunday, saying Westbrook got to his spots. Well, yes, but the Spurs don’t mind Westbrook getting to some spots, because they’re fortified.”
Erik Horne: “So, it shouldn’t be a surprise to see the players in a lighter mood after a 32-point drubbing in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals. After practice on Sunday, Russell Westbrook wore a shirt over his head, trying to psyche out Kevin Durant who was shooting one-handed 3-pointers from the corner. Durant chided Mitch McGary about tripping in practice, blaming it on McGary’s shoes. McGary wears Durant’s Nike KD8.” Keep Reading…
Now that Round 2 is underway, it’s time to evaluate players on their series performance. The updated rankings are reflective of the Thunder’s sobering Game 1 loss to the Spurs. Charlie Villanueva ain’t walking through that door.
1. Kawhi Leonard (+1 from last ranking)
The KD (season-low 16 points on 40% shooting) vs. Kawhi (25 points on 77% shooting) isn’t competitive so far. And oh, Leonard guarded Russell Westbrook no problem.
2. LaMarcus Aldridge (+2)
Hard to keep him out of the top spot after a scorching 38-point game, but he didn’t put on a shooting clinic while simultaneously shutting down a Thunder weapon on defense like Leonard did. Also, the degree of difficulty was pretty low for Aldridge–he shot 78% in a glorified, uncontested shooting warmup. Keep Reading…