The Oklahoma City Thunder (1-1) survived a frenzied and controversial finish in Game 2 to seize home-court advantage from the San Antonio Spurs (1-1).
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The Spurs can regain it by earning a rare playoff win in Oklahoma City when the well-rested teams square off again Friday night. The Thunder nearly blew a four-point lead in the final 15 seconds before holding on for a 98-97 victory Monday, and the NBA ruled the next day that there were
in that closing stretch–including the obvious forearm shove from Dion Waiters on Manu Ginobili while Wiaters was inbounding the ball.
We can go back and talk about all that happened but it is in the past and the Spurs are in Oklahoma City looking to take back home-court. After a game one thrashing of the Thunder by the Spurs, Oklahoma City came out in game two more aggressive on the offensive end. Defensively, they forced the Spurs to put up contested shots and make bad passes. What was apparent was the strong play of LaMarcus Aldridge. In game one, Aldridge sizzled scoring 31, in game two it picked up where he left off finishing with 41.
Over his last two games, Aldridge simply has been amazing–79 points, 33/44 shooting (75-percent) in seven quarters of play. After his and the Spurs’ performance in game two, Aldridge stated the team has to come out to a better start. “We have got to be sharp. We have got to be better, have a better start,” said Aldridge, who scored 38 points in the series opener. “We have to focus offensively and defensively, just be locked in and all the way around better.”
“Now it’s our job to react. Everybody on this team understand that to win a championship, you have to win on the road”-Tony Parker on Spurs Job
Aldridge, making his first postseason visit to Oklahoma City, was held to 11 points on 4-of-12 shooting in his only game there this season, a 112-106 defeat Oct. 28. Aldridge can’t do it alone, though. He will need to get help from his supporting cast.
Kawhi Leonard in game two finished with 14 points on 7-of-18 shooting. Tim Duncan was held to just two points on 1-of-8 shooting. Manu Ginobili added 11 points from the second unit as Patty Mills continues to struggle over his last four finishing with five points on 2-of-9 shooting.
In order to win a championship, you have to not only win at home but there are times when it comes down to how you perform on the road. Parker and the team understand now it is their time to step it up. “Now it’s our job to react,” Spurs point guard Tony Parker said. “Everybody on this team understands that to win a championship, you have to win on the road. So that’s our job now.”
The two-headed monster of the Thunder were blanketed in game one. In game two, the duo combined to score 57 points and 22-of-44 shooting. Westbrook showed off his quickness in getting into the lane and passing as he finished with 10 assists to go along with 29 points. Waiters, who finished with three points on 1-of-5 shooting, knows San Antonio will come in with a lot of intensity and know the importance of protecting home-court. “We know it’s important to take care of home-court advantage. We have to come in with the mindset of coming in to win and compete, play hard as possible and play smart.”
Spurs are heading into Chesapeake Energy Arena where the Thunder have averaged 111.5 points and 50.3 percent shooting in two home victories over San Antonio this season.
The Spurs and Thunder will be apart of a double-header on ESPN following game three between Cleveland and Atlanta.