Scouting the Thunder: Win or go home

By Joe Buettner

No desperation. There has to be a sense of urgency for San Antonio. They have 48 minutes to save their season, but doing so will be easier said than done. San Antonio walks in to Oklahoma City with three consecutive losses on their minds, and they have to overcome everything the Thunder have put them through in this last week. Starting Ginobili is not a desperation move, but giving up totally on Danny Green may be one. Green has struggled, but give him some confidence, set him up for a shot, and see if you can get three’s to fall. Mainly, play smart basketball, and the Spurs win this game.

No man left behind. If Nick Collison posters another Spur or Ibaka has a wide-open mid-range jumper or Daequan Cook is left free in th corner, then it is game over. The Spurs have to account for everyone on the court. You can not assume a guy is ever going to miss, because in a big gam like, this you can not afford to take chances. San Antonio has to return to their defensive ways for a night, and take down this young Thunder team through a great defensive effort. Contest every shot, stick your hand in every passing lane, and don’t allow a shot like James Harden hit the other night to get to you mentally. It’s do or die, and you can not dwell on lucky shots like that.

Keep it under control. We’ve been saying it all series, and Game 5 epitomized the reason why turnovers kill. I love the enthusiasm in Tony Parker. I love his willingness to attack the basket. However, half the time he was driving in the lane, Parker lost control of the ball or slipped. San Antonio cannot afford these reckless plays that give free possessions to the Thunder. Stay calm, and if you see an opening, then drive. Do not force anything in the lane, because the OKC’s defense all of sudden has everything figured out. If you can draw the foul, great. However, the one arena that would actually concern me when an opposing team is trying to shoot a free throw would be Oklahoma City’s Chesapeake Energy Arena. Do not let that atmosphere become a factor, and take this series to seven.

Final verdict. Thunder by six. I’m sticking with my prediction on the roundtable post. I think the Thunder pull away at the end. Until the Spurs show me they can get back to their 20-game win streak ways I have to pick Oklahoma City. I hope to God I’m wrong.