Blogtable: Slowing down the Spurs

Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes across the globe to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.


BLOGTABLE: OKC’s next move | Listen up, Kev | Indy-Miami snapshot


Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Kawhi Leonard (D. Clarke Evans/NBAE)

Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Kawhi Leonard (D. Clarke Evans/NBAE)

> You’re Scott Brooks. You have no Serge Ibaka. You’re going against a well-oiled offensive machine in the Spurs. What do you do?

Steve Aschburner, NBA.com: Pray? Find someone to “GilloolyTim Duncan? Get my resume in order? Comedians can have a field day with that question, but to Brooks, the Thunder and their fans, this is no laughing matter. It’s a damn shame, really, that we won’t see the two West titans at their best. Desperate times call for desperate measures, so I up Reggie Jackson’s court time as much as possible, getting creative with the matchup and rotation challenges. I use Nick Collison more than in Game 1, too, and I put a priority on getting more than five points from three starters — if only to hush up Charles Barkley.

Fran Blinebury, NBA.com: While it may be more of a long-shot puncher’s chance, I think the Thunder have to roll the dice by going to a small lineup and try to beat the Spurs with their transition game. By playing Nick Collison, Kendrick Perkins and Thabo Sefolosha together, OKC is at far too much of an offensive disadvantage. They scored a total of five points in Game 1 and their upside is not significantly better.

Jeff Caplan, NBA.comBrooks has to just keep going with his gut and putting the guys out there he thinks can get the job done. In a real sense, if the Thunder were told they had to be without one key player in this series — Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook or Serge Ibaka — I think they’d say they could make do best without Westbrook. That’s nothing against Westbrook, who is having a tremendous postseason, but rather just how important Ibaka is to defending the Spurs personnel and what they do. Brooks went small a lot in Game 1. He might try to stay bigger in Game 2 and keep Collison on the floor.

Scott Howard-Cooper, NBA.com: Feel confident that Steven Adams will not shrink from the moment. Nick Collison moved into Ibaka’s starting spot, but a coach knows what he will get from Collison. I have to know what I will get from the rookie suddenly being placed into a larger role. He played a lot in the conference semifinals, valuable experience. But four to seven games against the Spurs is a new kind of test for Adams.

John Schuhmann, NBA.com: Play Nick Collison until he bleeds. ​In the regular season, no Thunder player had a better per-possession plus-minus than Collison. Simply put, the Thunder were at their best when he was on the floor. He doesn’t have the length or athleticism that Ibaka has, and it’s the Thunder’s length and athleticism that the Spurs have had trouble with over the last few years. But the list of back-up bigs who are better than Collison is a short one and, down 1-0, it’s not yet time to panic.

Sekou Smith, NBA.comI unleash Steven Adams on the San Antonio Spurs and the entire world and let him play wild and free and as physical as possible without getting arrested by the San Antonio PD. Game 1 showed us all how little respect the Spurs have for the Thunder’s rim protecting ability without Ibaka. The amount of time you have to adjust between games in the conference finals is precious, so anything too complicated requires a time crunch that the Thunder cannot risk. So I go with my main man Blunt Force Trauma (aka Steve Adams)!

Lang Whitaker, NBA.com All Ball Blog: Well, as you found out in Game 1, you can’t outscore San Antonio. The Thunder tried to go small, which didn’t really work, and they tried to go big, which worked marginally better. So I’d go as big as I can, using Perkins and Collison as much as possible. I’d even dust off Perry Jones and Jeremy Lamb and ask them to at least play some token defense. So what I’m saying is, I’d go big and try to defend, and hope to hold San Antonio under 100, and then hope Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant can keep me close enough to make it a game. Without Ibaka you’re basically fighting uphill, but you’ve got the MVP, so maybe you have a chance.

Karan Madhok, NBA India: I get back to the drawing board, burn every piece of tactical analysis and planning that I’ve done for my team in the past, and start over. Not having Serge Ibaka against the Spurs hurts, but the Thunder need to think positively instead of wallowing over their lost power forward. If I was Scott Brooks, I would give this current line-up a shake-up, move Kevin Durant to the power forward position, and go small in the perimeter by giving a starting spot to either Jeremy Lamb or Reggie Jackson. Instead of trying to beat the Spurs with post defense, the Thunder need to counter Spurs’ offense with offense. This isn’t going to be easy, and as Scott Brooks, I’ll be hoping that the open shots fall for Sefolosha, Lamb, Jackson, etc., and that Durant and Westbrook flirt with triple-doubles every night. Improbable, but not impossible.

Davide Chinellato, NBA Italia: It’s tough because they’ve lost a 2-way player, a guy who’s your third offensive option and your best defender. Even if it didn’t work out well in Game 1, I’ll insist on starting Nick Collison at PF. Because it keeps the Thunder unchanged, including off-the-bench options. Obviously everybody else needs to give extra effort on defense. But it’s the best you can do at this point, since the time has passed to experiment with different lineups.

10 Comments

  1. Josh says:

    OKC just can’t do it, the perimeter game is all they can hope for. The paint is wide open with no defence presented and even when defence weas presended they still were getting pounded by the Spurs. This series is over is 4, maybe 5 if Durant and Westbrook have a great game. What the Thunder lack is defence and when or when not to make a certain decision. Experience is key in this as well, the Spurs know the flaws of the Thunder and execute almost everything perfectly.

  2. I think that Reggie and Butler are the only ones off of the bench that will make a difference in scoring and defending the three. You need them to continue to come off of the bench. Start Russell, Lamb, K.D., Jones III , and Perkins. Jones III and Lamb can hit the three ball, that can open up the floor for KD and Russell to drive the lane, then the lane would not be clogged up with two bigs from the other team. We would get to the free throw line more and win the game by keeping our bench in tact, allowing Russell and KD to rest during the game and be able to close at the end. The end of the second and fourth quarter is where we are losing the game because KD is getting beat up from playing in the middle. He cannot defend Duncan or Diaw. They are to heavy in the middle and it is taking away from his offense. Reggie needs to come in sooner and play more minutes, as well as Adams playing more minutes in place of Perkins. Perkins is only out there to give fouls defending Thiago and Duncan. He will not score unless it is a trash bucket. Limit his time on the court. OR, you can start Butler in place of Thabo (Thabo may have to sit this series out like the Memphis series) at the two spot, and try to bring Lamb in off of the bench, that may help, but Perry Jones III needs to start in place of Ibaka, just for his athleticism, perimeter shooting, and shot blocking. This allows us to stay BIG and keep Durant at Small Forward. That is where our advantage is, with Kevin at the three. Otherwise Duncan and Thiago will just sit in the paint on defense and wait for someone to drive. They have been dominating the boards and it is because we have to get them out of the lane.

  3. I would start Perry Jones III in Ibaka’s role. He has length and can block shots from guards on pick and rolls. I noticed that Perkins and Collison cannot follow Parker or Mills to the rim and block their shots. Perry Jones has already shown that he can move with them to the rim on a pick and roll. His fouls wont matter, and your bench will still be in tact. I may even throw Lamb into the starting role because Thabo has become a liablility on offense, and see what these young boys can do with Russell and Durant next to them. They may excell being out there with the starters. This would allow your bench to still produce as normal. Then Russell and Kevin would not be spent at the end of the game and be able to make the plays needed to win the game at the end.

  4. timmied says:

    That’s y u use multiple lines ups during the regular season to see what works and what doesnt…. If ur experimenting in the playoffs ur already behind the curve… coaching 101… but since Brooks has a young team he plays them alot…and injuries are starting to come now…Westbrook and ibaka…b careful durant

  5. billyJ says:

    Problems aren’t being created solely by the absence of Ibaka. Spurs have two of the best young defenders in the NBA in Leonard and Green. Green leading shot blocker among guards in the NBA. Kawhai is just one the best perimeter defenders around. OKC would have problems winning this series with Ibaka. Offensive puch of OKC being slowed down. Durant and westgbrook taking alot os hsot to get their points. Can win that way.

  6. rcandcess says:

    The problem of OKC stems from the fact that they do not have an inside presence like Ibaka’s. So I guess that’s where they should begin the solution to their dilemma–force their big guys to play considerable defense in the paint. I’d have Collison and Perkins secure the paint, and add reggie Jackson to the offensive strike-duo of Durant and Westbrook.

  7. Blog-So-Hard-2014-NBA-Playoff-Edition says:

    MVP, Scoring Title: does KD have what it takes to defend the rim? Game 2 is on the line, 2014

  8. Max says:

    okc JUST CANNOT LISTEN TO THEIR COACH! REFUSE TO GROW UP. THEIR EMOTIONS CAUSES MOST OF THEIR SCREW UPS. BROOKS TELLS THEM OVER AND OVER TO CONTROL THEIR EMOTIONS. OFFICIALS ARE NOT GOING TO CHANGE A FOUL, PERIOD! SO SHUT UP, AND JUST PLAY. STOP THROWING OUT YOUR ARMS, STOMPING YOU FEET. JUST GROW UP, THIS IS NOT A LOCAL SCHOOL INSTITUTION, BUT IT IS PROFESSIONAL AND NEEDS TO BE PLAYED BY MEN! OKC HURTS EACH OTHER, BY WANTING TO GET ANGRY AND WHEN THEY DO THEY LOSE THEIR CONCERATION. WHO TO BLAME? YOUR TEAMMATES THAT CANNOT CONTROL THIER TEMPER AND THAT INCLUDES THE MVP? listen TO YOUR COACH!

    • 36yrfan says:

      ….well put…..Listen to your coach and quit having tantrums in front of everybody !!