Everyone was already counting out the Oklahoma City Thunder after being destroyed in Game 1 of the series. Tides have changed and the Spurs are getting owned.
In game 2 of the series, a different Thunder team took to the floor. They were more aggressive, and physical play helped them in stealing a game in San Antonio and evening up the series at one apiece. With the Thunder stealing one on their home floor, the Spurs knew going into Oklahoma City it too would be hard to steal one on their home court. They did just that behind great play from Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge, who combined to score 55 points.
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Spurs leading the series two games to one, it was now time for the Thunder to protect their home court and not see themselves down 3-1 heading back to San Antonio. The Thunder with physical play outrebounded and outplayed the Spurs to tie the series at two apiece. Kevin Durant put the team on his back as he finished with a game-high 41 points on 14-of-25 shooting from the floor. In what could have been his last home game in a Oklahoma City uniform, he at least will give the fans one more show in Game 6.
Knowing the outcome of Game 5 on Tuesday, it’s clear now the Thunder themselves went back to the drawing board and used their strengths to own San Antonio.
The duo of Steven Adams and Enes Kanter are really making life miserable for the Spurs. Oklahoma City is the best offensive rebounding team in the NBA. In this series, they’ve injected that muscle and the Spurs have yet to find an answer.
In each fourth quarter from the last four games, the Thunder have grabbed an astounding 47.1 percent of their own missed shots. By comparison, they led the league with a 31.1 percent offensive rebound rate during the regular season, and that was viewed as dominant.
The defense of the Thunder are taking the Spurs out of their game. Oklahoma City exerting change by packing the paint and relentlessly controlling the boards has disrupted what the Spurs do best, ball movement.
When minutes are ticking away, the impatience of the Spurs is more apparent. Over the last few games, Tony Parker, Aldridge, Leonard and David West have all missed perfectly makeable, wide-open shots.
Bottom line is, the Spurs aren’t taking advantage of a defense that perpetually stayed one step behind the offense’s next move all year long. They aren’t moving the ball side to side or making the second-nature cuts and reads they normally do.
San Antonio must think quick on their gameplan against a Thunder team that will be looking to be spoilers in what many felt would be a Western Conference Finals between the Spurs and Golden State Warriors.