Spurs Link-And-Roll – 6.2.12
Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News: “A Swiss, a Frenchman, a Congolese and an Argentine all walk onto a basketball court. What sounds like the setup to a bad joke was actually the defensive recipe Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks used to get his team back into the Western Conference finals. With off-guard Thabo Sefolosha blanketing Tony Parker, and with power forward Serge Ibaka flummoxing Manu Ginobili on most every pick-and-roll, the Spurs’ juggernaut of an offense looked downright mortal in a 102-82 loss in Game 3 on Thursday.”
Sebastian Pruiti of Grantland: “After giving up 101 points in Game 1 and 120 points in Game 2, the Oklahoma City Thunder needed to change their defense if they were going to beat the San Antonio Spurs in Game 3. They’ve had no trouble scoring — posting 98 and 111 points in Games 1 and 2 — so containing the Spurs’ highly efficient offense was key. Luckily for them, they found a way to limit the Spurs to just 82 points on 39.5 percent shooting last night.”
Beckley Mason of TrueHoop: “The Spurs were flat, the Thunder played with tremendous energy and passion at home, and this is San Antonio’s first loss in nearly two months… why change the formula now? On the other, the Thunder made adjustments that really bothered the Spurs, particularly switching the absurdly long and awfully quick Thabo Sefolosha onto Tony Parker. Left with no room to breath, much less execute their fluid offense how they had in their 10 straight playoff wins, Parker and the Spurs looked utterly flummoxed in Game 3.”
A Thunder Storm Is Brewing: How Do The Spurs Stop It?
Buck Harvey of the San Antonio Express-News: “Sometimes Tim Duncan errs as everyone else does. Sometimes Duncan wants to carry more of the load, to post up as if it were 2003. Sometimes, such as Thursday, Duncan is stubborn. It’s a quality that cuts both ways. Duncan was stubborn during the lockout, too, when he believed he could change his game. He went to a private gym in the Dominion, day after day, working to extend the range of his jumper. Who tries to do that at age 36? The Spurs coaches shake their heads and smile. But they also see what he has gained, because they say just a few feet can alter spacing on the floor.”
Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman: “It’s a word that in the minds of most ballers is synonymous with quit, a strategy that typically screams to opponents ‘we can’t guard you.’ Switch. Most players on most teams are too prideful to concede to that tactic. But in Game 3 on Thursday night, it’s what saved the Thunder from falling into a virtually impossible 3-0 hole in the Western Conference Finals.”
Randy Renner of Daily Thunder: “A couple of days ago people weren’t only starting to jump off the Thunder bandwagon some of them were probably thinking of jumping off the Devon Tower…no more. Thunder fans have renewed hope that this will indeed be the long series most envisioned rather than a quick sweep like some had started to fear after the first two games.Thunder players and coaches knew this was coming, play harder and play better and good things will happen. Center Kendrick Perkins, as prideful an individual as you will ever find, found himself digging deep to bring everything he had for Game 3 because he felt he didn’t do that for Game 2.”
Mike Monroe of the San Antonio Express-News: “The drama of the moment was intense, decisions being made by the second, every factor carefully considered as the clock ticked down. It was more pressure than Gregg Popovich could stand. The Spurs turned off the TV to spare himself of watching the tense final round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee on Thursday afternoon. ‘I got so nervous watching those kids, I couldn’t take it,’ he said. This is proof Popovich understands how Spurs fans feel when his team lays a playoff egg, as it did in Game 3. No doubt there were a lot of TV sets clicked off in San Antonio and environs when the Thunder rolled to a 27-point lead in the second half.”
Scouting The Thunder: Is Oklahoma City’s Performance Sustainable?
Jeff Garcia of Project Spurs: “With the 2012 NBA Draft set for later this month, the San Antonio Spurs are doing their due diligence and sizing up incoming college basketball talent. Though the Spurs pick late in the second round (59th), the team worked out Missouri State’s Kyle Weems last month. With the Spurs picking late, the Spurs will once again be looking to strike gold yet again. However, the Spurs do need to look to fill needs (more size in the pain) which they probably won’t be able to fill late in the second round. Or they could do the usual and draft a foreign player and stash him overseas to develop.”
Richard Perez of the Alamo Zone: “It is apparent that the Thunder officials have banned patrons from Texas who ordered tickets online via Ticketmaster.com for games 3 and 4 of the Western Conference Finals, and will have their orders canceled without notice and given refunds. Spurs fans are some of the most dedicated in the NBA, by getting their favorite players faces shaved into their head, as well as the team’s logo, and have shown that they will be willing to go into the other teams’ arena and cheer. So it would make sense that the Thunder would prevent the Spurs; biggest asset from coming along with them, despite the distance there have been Spurs fans willing to make the trip, but unable to get the tickets due to the Thunder’s restriction.”
Jenni Carlson of The Oklahoman: “I know some of the things that the TNT analyst has said and done in the past would lead you to believe otherwise. There was the whole “Oklahoma is nothing but vast wasteland” comment, then there was the promise to visit Oklahoma that went unfulfilled for six years. Had the Thunder failed to make the Western Conference Finals, which is being broadcast by TNT, I suspect we’d still be waiting on that visit from the network’s basketball blabbermouth. But the Thunder made it. So did Chuck.”