It’s April 7th 2009 at the Ford Center. There’s a seemingly meaningless game in the house, yet it’s not so meaningless. On one side of the ball there is the Oklahoma City Thunder, at the time a 21 win team with no post season prospects, and on the other the San Antonio Spurs with their 49 wins in the bag, playing for playoff seeding. Even more, the Thunder had managed to eek out two wins against the Spurs in the previous 2 1/2 weeks or so. The Thunder really believe they can win, the Spurs are both pissed and determined to step on this bug that keeps swarming them at a time when they’re trying to close out the season with some winning mojo.
The Thunder actually take a lead into half time at 51-50, showing some spunk and confidence. In the third, both teams make runs. First OKC goes on an 11-5 swing, followed by the Spurs and a 12-3 run of their own. Late in the fourth, the Thunder lose ground, but make a little push and get the game close, down 89-85 with 2:31 left. Coach Popovich calls a timeout and both teams plan their strategy; the Thunder need some scoring and they need to hold the line defensively.
It doesn’t happen. The Thunder manage 3 made free throws and a meaningless 2 point jumper by Westbrook with the game clock expiring. In that final 2:31 the Thunder were 1-5 from the field. The shots were there but they weren’t falling. It was a winnable game that we didn’t win.
In that last 2:31 Coach Brooks used a lineup of Durant, Green, Krstic, Westbrook and Livingston, with Thabo subbing in for Livingston in the final :25 for defense (the Spurs went with Parker, Duncan, Finley, Udoka and Drew Gooden). Durant and Green have established themselves as effective three point shooters and are offensive weapons suited to this situation. Krstic is the best we have in the middle with a balance of offense/defense. Westbrook, Livingston and Thabo are the weak links here when we needed scoring punch and quick offense. Keep Reading…