Thunder’s ‘Others’ Getting The Best Of Their Hyped Spurs Counterparts

HANG TIME PLAYOFF HEADQUARTERS — It’s easy to focus on the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Big 3 Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden when they’re playing as well as they have in the past three games of the Western Conference finals.

But to focus solely on the stars would overlook perhaps the most startling development in this series. The Thunder’s role players, commonly referred to as the “others,” are outplaying their Spurs counterparts considerably in the past 12 quarters of this series.

Praised by many as the deepest and most balanced team in the league, the Spurs haven’t been able to lean on the likes of Matt Bonner, Gary Neal, Danny Green, Tiago Splitter or any of the extras who helped them roll to 20 straight wins since April 11, and that includes those two wins over the Thunder in Games 1 and 2. They’ve been in the conference finals witness protection program the past three games, though, as the Thunder have seized control with three straight wins.

Neal suffered a through a particularly ugly performance on this night, shooting 0-for-6 from the floor and scoring just two points in his 14 minutes of action. His 6-for-22 shooting effort in the past three games is indicative of the struggles that have plagued the Spurs’ extras.

Meanwhile, the Thunder have received timely contributions from guys like Derek Fisher, Nick Collison, Serge Ibaka, Thabo Sefolosha and Daequan Cook, whose eight points(on a perfect 3-for-3 shooting from the floor, and consecutive makes from long distance) in just three minutes and 54 seconds of action in the first half of Game 5 proved to be crucial to the Thunder’s cause in their 108-103 win.

Obviously, the performance of the big names always dominates the scene. And Durant, Westbrook and Harden outperformed the Spurs’ Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, Tim Duncan for the third straight games. Yet Durant and Westbrook weren’t even cooking in the first half and the Thunder still held an eight-point halftime lead.

Championships aren’t won by stars alone. And no one knows that better than the Spurs, who have made a habit of capitalizing on huge performances from others (Robert Horry, Steve Kerr, Mario Elie, Brent Barry and Bruce Bowen, among others) in past championship runs.

Conference championship are won the same way, a lesson the young Thunder have been reminding the seasoned Spurs of since getting schooled in the art of extras in Game 2.

Durant, Westbrook and Harden combined for 88 points and made 30 of 54 shots in that game and they still got stroked because the Spurs got production from up and down the roster in a 120-111 win. Green finished with 10 points, Boris Diaw nine with Bonner, Neal, Splitter and Stephen Jackson combing for 18 to go with Ginobili’s 20 off the bench.

But that was the last time the Spurs have gotten anything of that sort. The Thunder’s role players came alive as the series shifted from San Antonio for those first two games to Oklahoma City for Games 3 and 4. They’ve been on fire ever since.

And if the Spurs’ extras can’t locate some of that production from earlier in this series and that 20-game win streak  in time for Game 6 Wednesday night, all of the Spurs, superstars and role players alike, will spend Thursday cleaning out their lockers as they head home for the summer with no one but themselves to blame.


  1. Kona says:

    I cannot wait for OKC to close out the series tonight. Its always fun to watch an underdog beat favorites like Spurs, Go OKC!

  2. Spurs Fan since early 80’s, now that being said here I go! Since I can remember the Spurs have been a good team, and a great team for the last 15 seasons (15 straight playoff appearances). Oklahoma City is a great team, and if they can stay focused and make the Spurs turnover the ball like the last 2 games they will Win. The Spurs have won 1 game against OKC in OKC, I know that your going to say that “Playoff and Regular season are a different feel and play” but they can still use that confidence. The Spurs have lost the last 3 games through horrible play, yet the last 2 games they barely lost. If they play as bad as they did and Bonner, Neal and Green all make a couple of shots… the Spurs win, that easy. But, they must show up, if the bench doesn’t show up then it is an OKC win! Also, OKC 13-0 and SA 13-1 at home, we Spurs know how steaks can end! Just like I gave Oklahoma respect, please NBA Fans give the Spurs respect. Please don’t get upset with us because of the media, in 15 seasons we have finally gotten credit (dare look at 15 seasons on ESPN, NBA, ETC., we never get credit) even with 4 rings. Sorry if we are a little AMP’d up since we are finally noticed! Either way, we are in the Finals, because the West will beat East! I am hoping for Spurs 5th, but OKC has my respect as well!

  3. Willy says:

    I will be the first to admit I jumped on the Spurs bandwagon very quickly. Seeing a 10-0 run was one of the most impressive things i have ever seen in the playoffs. But when the Thunder utterly humiliated the Spurs in game 3 I knew that the Spurs were done. The Spurs are finally showing their age in this series. The Spurs bench was performing well in earlier rounds of the playoffs but now whent they face a young elite team we see how little depth their really is in the roster of the Spurs. Popp did a very good job with this team. He surprised everyone this year, but his strong season is over. The Thunder are just more athletic and can stretch the court a lot more. With a defensive leader in Serge Ibaka and a Scoring fiend in Durant, i think we are looking at this year’s NBA finals Champions.

  4. rigor says:

    now the haters are coming,prior to that series a lot of people praising the Spurs,but they’re going to lose the series a lot of haters show some disrespect on that team,critizising coach pop and the players for being flop,i don’t think that’s unfair,that series is not yet over

    • Spurs fan since early 80’s. The Spurs have always been a good team, and the last 15 seasons a great team (15 seasons straight to playoffs, Fact). Oklahoma is a great team and I give them respect because respect is due. When do the SPURS ever get respect, the 15th season they go to playoffs. We never get good coverage from the media, NBA or NBA Fans. Give respect when respect is due. This series still can go either way, and I am happy for either team (eventhough I really want the Spurs 5 Championship). 13-0 Thunder and 13-1 Spurs at home, we as Spurs fans know streaks end. The Spurs have beaten the Thunder at home in the regular season, I do give credit to the fans in the stadium though. We barely lost, if we play bad like we did and we get a couple of shots from Bonner, Neal and Green we Win just like that. Although, they have to show up! We still have a better bench and we need to play like the regular season but with some nasty. Like I said OKC or SA, we will find out tonight! Don’t hate Spurs fans just because we have finally out of 15 seasons have gotten good media (dare look at 15 years of ESPN, NBA, ETC. and tell me otherwise), we are just AMP’d! West is going to when Finals because we are in the Finals with Thunder and Spurs, East can’t compete!



  6. DCON says:

    SA big 3-72 points
    OKC big 3 70 points
    How were they outplayed exactly?
    SA role players have not showed up.
    Now for all you morons who can’t seem to appreciate
    one of the top 10 most exciting players of his generation.
    If you don’t believe me ask Kobe.
    Fact: Manu flops.
    Fact Manu takes more hard fouls than any perimeter
    player in the game. American players hate to be shown up.
    Especially by skinny foreigners.
    Noone is better at making the opposition look foolish than Ginoboli.
    Durant is an elite player.Like so many elite players he gets calls others do not.
    IF the Spurs lose…
    Go OKC!!!
    We cannot allow a Heat or Celtic champion.

  7. Dalwin says:

    Intresting nobody to mention Spurs turn overs !!! They are at alarming rate !! Turn over are MAIN reason Spurs are losing this Series . In two of three loses Spurs turn 21 times !!! 21 times for god sake that is NOT Championship play !!
    It is like Here is Mr. Durant & Comp take ball and score on the other end ,and dont’ worry we will give to you more of this again and again !!!

  8. Viv says:

    Spurs will win game 6 and finish the Thunder off in game 7. This is the Spurs year.

  9. And1 says:

    Never underestimate the heart of a champion – Rudy T

  10. Rolly del Mundo says:

    Championship caliber teams win on the road.. OKC has shown this in game 5. It’s now the Spurs’ turn to prove that they can do it too and deserve to go all the way to the finals. Spurs all in!!!

  11. SpurFan T.T says:

    Iam a spur fan since 2001 ,but I give the respect to the thunder especially the coach…I still hope the spurs will win the series as a fan but If not I will accept that they are a the sure winner in tnis series without any flaws or arguements… This is the best series.. thank you OKC for eliminating the funks(LAKERS)

  12. Vrapz says:

    The only reason why other player of spurs didnt contribute…its bcoz parker cant get in to the paint.okc defend him thats why the other player of the spurs cant get a good shot.and they are catchin their breath to keep up w the young guns.thats the reason they cant play a good 4qrtr in a game.they just won game1 bcoz of brooks mistakes by not putting ibaka back.
    I dont know why lots of commentator or the media said spurs will sweep this series …when u look at the player matchup okc got all the advantage.they said spurs got advantage coz of its history….cmon guys this is internet era u think those young guns are coz they dont hav a championship expereince.they are coachable coz they are not egomaniacs not like the big 3 of heat who yell to their coach.
    Okc in 6…. They’ll go for the kill on game6

  13. Louis says:

    Spurs (esp. Ginobili and Parker, who are great players) are the masters of the dark arts, flopping, diving, exaggerating, complaining to the officials about EVERYTHING. The refs were VERY generous in the 4th Quarter when Spurs needed to get defensive stops, I will leave it at that, any one can pop in the tape and watch again if they want to see for themselves.

  14. chrisyb says:

    stop hating on each team let the besy team win

  15. Mike says:

    @x-writer. I’ve seen your posts before nothing but same old crying, blaming it on NBA, the refs…etc. Maybe you shouldnt be watching the game any more if you dont appreciate the games, when your team loose its the end of the world…! When SA loose game three, you said its loose on purpose, game 4 and 5 you blame the refs, the NBA. and now you support the Heat just because you have too much hate for OKC. I suggest you start watching WNBA

  16. ASe says:

    Good for the Heat.

  17. The Thunder reacted appropriately after games 1 & 2. The Spurs reaction in game 5? Start Ginobli? NO! they need a star to run the offence when Parker is not on the court. If Pov keeps up the soft reactions, the Thunder will not only win game 6, they will dominate. The Thunder has sorted out the defensive pick, and the Spurs have not tried a plan B for this… One last chance Spurs.

  18. ohh...really? says:

    ohhh really? bitter? reasons? just accept it. nothing to lose.

  19. OKC fanatic says:

    I have said it before and i will say it again the Thunder are clutch. The trey that Harden shot was unbelievable. They will beat the Spurs in OKC and wait until the next round. GO Thunder, Thunder UP.

  20. NBAJAM12 says:

    they are unstoppable when there on and there on, they are the better team “give props when props are due” said by the spurs man up and you fans give it also and as far as calls thunder never got calls all season minu tried getting cheap calls right off the bat on sephalosa and ref notice thats not b-ball and you know it beat them fair and square not happening this time OKC ALL THE WAY get that banner boys your earning it!!!!

  21. Ahahaha spurs fans. I said it before, I gooooootttttttaaa feeeeelllllliiiinnnng it’s goooooonnnnnnaaa beeeee aaaaa gooooooodd thunnnnnnndddeeeerrrrriiiiinnnnng n thuuuuunnnnnddddeeeerr iiiiiiissss gooooooonnnnnnaaaa beeeeee wiiiiiiiinnnnniiiiinnnnnggg! N now come on Miami heats let’s win 2 more against Boston then it’s gonna be OKC vs Miami dream Come true 🙂

  22. yangtongcuo says:

    Spurs is a very good team, they will find a way to beat OKC in the game 6. but i also firmly believe that OKC could win the series game

  23. Sick says:

    i thought the spurs will have their 5th ring as what their fans are already claiming… lol

  24. x-writer says:

    sry okc is not unstoppable the ref(nba,stern) wants them in the finals thats all, i said it after 2.0 lead the okc will win because it is fixed. the only thing i want to know who will the finals heat vs okc. i dont see which team stern prefer. i think it willbe heat.

    • Stinger says:

      Lol.. Why do you always blame the refs? and also the officials? Just accept it!
      Brooks outcoach Pop, why? He was always adjusting every game, especially the latest adjustment where he put Manu in the starting lineup. But Brooks always continue whats on the plan, except for who to guard.
      The OKC Big 3 outplayed the Big 3 of the Spurs, lol… They cant find any guy to guard KD. And wait, they got a weapon, “FLOP”. Shaq was right , Manu was the greatest flopper. LOL
      The OKC Bench outscored SA bench, where are the SA bench now? LOL.
      Just accept it, OKC just worked hard to win the series. PERIOD.

    • kai says:

      lol…here comes all the conspiracy theories from spurs fans…right, blame the ref, nba or whatever. if the nba is fixed, they would have wanted the lakers to be in the finals. just cant accept the fact that your team is being outplayed, nobody was having all these theories when spurs were winning and being called “unbeatable” and now that they’re on the brink of elimination all these are popping up. bitter fans, give okc the credit they deserve!

    • truth says:

      yeah, that’s why the fouls called against both teams were 25 each and the spurs shot 8 more free throws in game 5 than the thunder. before you post something this stupid at least make sure you can validate your ramblings w/ something resembling a fact.

    • perk says:

      You have clearly not watched any of these games.

    • moyti says:

      hey x-writer, if you can’t accept that okc is winning then stop blaming the officials or whosoever you can blame..this is a nice and fair game of basketball man..

    • Josh says:

      You must have been watching a different game, because the Thunder had 4 key players with 4 or more fouls. The Spurs only had 1. The refs were trying to give SA the game. The Thunder just willed that win.

    • Bystander.... says:

      You’re an idiot. Stop looking for conspiracies. They are winning because they are playing better than the Spurs are. This isn’t wrestling after all….

      • Spurrred says:

        Love the wrestling input. Lets call a spade a spade. Refs have been horrible. Not just on the Spurs side but Thunder as well. The bench and others are dominating the Spurs bench, which had been their strong point all season long. If Neal and Splitter dont play big to compliment Capt Jax and Gino this is over tomorrow. Come ON SPURSSSS

    • aidenpryde says:

      What part of okc’s bench players played the first half due to the starters foul trouble do you not get. Bothe Ibaka and Sef were on the bench due to foul trouble. Seriously, you really need to pay attention to the game.

    • OKCKD35 says:

      haha keep crying, all of america saw the way game 5 started and ended, with bad calls in the Spurs favor, 2 BS fouls on Ibaka in 50 seconds because he torched you guys in the previous game, i dont know what was up the last 3 minutes but the refs were the only reason San Antonio even got close, even the “spurs biased” announcers were talking about the terrible calls helping the Spurs and it still wasnt enough, Geno-Billy went off and what happened? still lost. just like i said before the game you take away 1 person someone else steps up, take away Ibaka and Cook comes in 3-3 8 points in 4 minutes. Looks to me that the THUNDER, not the spurs, have the deepest team in the league!

    • Pfft says:

      Nothing a little tin foil and Thorazine won’t fix.

  25. James says:

    I predicted OKC win this series in 6 against the experts predictions.
    Hate to see all our experts are wrong.

  26. Fefe (Nets) says:

    I think that the Spurs will win Game 6 on the road because they have their backs against the wall and in such position, the Spurs are very good.

    I picked OKC to win the championship prior to the start of the season, and they might reach the NBA Finals, but if ever it happens, it would mean a Game 7 win. I would like also the Spurs to win Game 6 in order to have a BIG GAME 7.

    Spurs/OKC will go to a Game 7. Then everything will be open and either team will have the chance to qualify.

  27. Mike J. says:

    The Spurs must simply be tired, both physically and emotionally. You’re not going to play with as much purpose even with your back against the wall once you get so mellow. That hunger really started for OKC after Game 2 and the Spurs simply cannot match it. I can still easily see this go into a Game 7 because both teams are great, but I gotta hand in to the Thunder – they simply want it more.

  28. mj says:

    if ibaka and collison keeps on playing like this, okc will definitely win. westbrook isn’t even shooting well. if he finds his shooting touch, they will be unstoppable

    • Mike says:

      He seldom shoot well and whenever he try to do so much for sure OKC will loose that game. Yesterday if it wasnt for Durant and Harden saving the game WB probably gave it away already

  29. lakermig says:

    the thunder have been playing super well, my favorites to win the championship if they go through.

  30. Dew says:

    Basically the comment I just left on the other story before I read this. Crazy. Absolutely right though. Thunder ‘Others’ are outplaying the Spurs ‘Others’ while the Thunder Big 3 are outplaying the Spurs Big 3 at the same time. No one would ever think that Ibaka, Collison, Perkins, Sefolosia, and Cook would be outplaying the Spurs ‘Others’ this badly. This just comes to show the difference in playoff and season basketball. Sure the overall series this year is tied now at 4-4 however the OKC are up 3-2 when it matters most. Spurs need a sense of urgency and production from their bench which have been outstanding all season long if they are to survive and move on.

  31. Han says:

    OKC in 6, lol 🙂

  32. Reblogged this on makeumtakeum and commented:
    I like Scott Brooks’ use of his bench this series. He has limited Parker and Ginobli’s points in the paint and guarded the perimeter well. The superstar that is Kevin Durant has done what superstars do: raised his level of play and inspired his teammates to do the same. Westbrook tried to give it away, but Durant took control late in the fourth quarter for the second straight game. I don’t know what happened to the Spurs. Wait, I do. Adversity showed up.

  33. I like Scott Brooks’ use of his bench this series. He has limited Parker and Ginobli’s points in the paint and guarded the perimeter well. The superstar that is Kevin Durant has done what superstars do: raised his level of play and inspired his teammates to do the same. Westbrook tried to give it away, but Durant took control late in the fourth quarter for the second straight game. I don’t know what happened to the Spurs. Wait, I do. Adversity showed up.

  34. NorthPole says:

    James Harden + 24 in just 34 min of play, wow… He was the difference maker in this one, the Spurs has no one from the bench to lift them as Manu was in the starting 5 tonight. I think nobody could beat the Thunder 4 times out of 7, just too much firepower… And yes, they can play defense as well…