Spurs letting Thunder party like it’s 2012


VIDEO: Thunder wax Spurs in Game 4

OKLAHOMA CITY – It’s deja vu all over again.

Hello, 2012.

Can Obama win a second term? Can the Spurs win another game against the Thunder?

There was no need for postgame locker room fireworks this time. Things got explosive early in the third quarter when coach Gregg Popovich and Tim Duncan went jaw-to-jaw over another uncertain pass that led to another sure-thing dunk at the other end.

It’s no longer just about the inspirational presence of Serge Ibaka in the Thunder lineup.

It’s about the entire energetic, athletic, run-til-the-cows-come-home Thunder lineup. And a Spurs lineup that, just as it did two years ago, suddenly looks like the morning after.

This is no longer a matter of simply asking Tony Parker to play better. It’s about finding a way for the Spurs to regain their poise and effectiveness against an OKC team that in the last two games has come at them like a rolling bundle of butcher knives.

There have been four games played now and four blowouts. But no matter what the series score sheet says, it doesn’t feel like the Western Conference finals are tied at 2-2.

You could say the Spurs have been put back on their heels, if it didn’t look like they were flat on their backs. It’s looking just like two years ago, when the Thunder spotted San Antonio a 2-0 lead and then roared back for a reverse sweep.

Remember Games 1 and 2 in San Antonio when the Thunder front line of Nick Collison, Kendrick Perkins and Thabo Sefolosha put up just nine combined points? It pushed Thunder coach Scott Brooks to make a lineup change to get Reggie Jackson on the floor with the starters and Jeremy Lamb into the rotation.

Here was Duncan (nine points) Tiago Splitter (3) and Danny Green (3) managing to squeeze out just a few more drops and the solution is hardly to sound the trumpet for more of Cory Joseph, Matt Bonner and the Desperation Cavalry.

With the young arms and legs of Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, Lamb and Jackson cutting off angles and jumping into passing lanes, the Thunder have smothered San Antonio’s offense.

With their driving, relentless aggressiveness, OKC has also overwhelmed the Spurs’ defense. Of Westbrook’s 40 points and Durant’s 31, a lion’s share came with them going to hoop and making the Spurs look helpless to do anything about it.

It ended up 21-0 in fast break points. What’s more, in the first half the Spurs did not even run a single transition play. That’s plays, not points.

While Parker came out determined to re-establish his attack mode in the paint, his constant challenging of Ibaka actually took the Spurs out of their offense.

“We didn’t play smart on a consistent basis,” Popovich said. “All of a sudden we were going to see if Serge could block a shot or something. I thought about passing a picture out on the bench. They’d know who Serge was.

“(It was) really unwise basketball … instead of hitting open people that are out there, we started attacking the rim unwisely, and that turns into blocked shots. We have seven turnovers in the first half, but really 14 because of seven blocks. You’ve got to play smarter against such great athletes. They’re talented, obviously, but the athleticism and the length gives you a small margin of error. You’d better be smart the way you play and you can’t afford to screw up as many times as we did.”

At this time of the season with a core of veterans, there are not Xs and Os to be rearranged on the chalkboard that will deliver a solution. That’s the reason why Popovich pulled Duncan, Parker, Manu Ginobili and Kawhi Leonard when the OKC reached 27 points and it was still the third quarter. He needs to conserve whatever is left in those worn tanks for what is left of the series and maybe the season.

“This has got nothing to do with adjustments,” Popovich said. “It’s about playing smarter and harder for more consistent minutes.”

Not doing that has turned Chesapeake Arena into the Spurs’ own house of horrors.

Since the 2012 conference finals, the Spurs have an NBA-best road record of 62-33 against 28 other teams. But they’re also 0-9 in OKC since then, too.

“I think we should not think like that,” Parker said. “Each game is different, each series, each year.”

So how come it feels like 2012 and we already know how the election and everything else turned out?

80 Comments

  1. Hunter says:

    THREE WORDS:
    TALENT
    ATHLETICISM
    YOUTH

    Those three factors combined DOMINATE sports. Thunder has it, the Heat has it, the Spurs don’t.
    Spurs are admirable and a fundamentally sound machine, they are one year older. Once Gregg pulled all the starters out for good late in the 3rd(which personally I think was a mistake), it looked like a repeat of 2012.
    I want to see Timmy get one last shot for a 5th ring, it’s a young mans game in the end of the day.

  2. Gary Nickerson says:

    Sas will win in 6″ book it Thunder arent invincible

  3. andrew says:

    Spurs are finished. They will lose Game 5 and 6, a repeat of 2012. Been a Spurs fan since 1992, but the Popovich Spurs don’t have the heart of a champion or stepping up in big games like the Bulls, Lakers, and even Rockets teams. They are not mentally tough like those teams either. They needed to get a defensive big man like Tyson Chandler or Samuel Dalenbert, but instead signed Splitter to a big contract. Also, should have let Ginobili retire and signed an athletic slasher. Now, age has caught up with them.

    • Moe says:

      It’s not over till the fat lady signs. We’ll see what happens after tonight game.

  4. Moe says:

    My Spurs playing at the worst against themselves and the referees. Pop needs to feed Diaw down low. Run the high screen and row. Do some pick and pop. Our bench is even playing better than the starter at this point.

  5. allen says:

    If thunder still had james harden. Okc would have been up in that game by 44+ pts at some point

  6. LOLLL says:

    Its funny how you Spurs fans are saying that okc in 6. You FOOLS the series is tied and the team that usually wins game 5 has has the higher chance(80%) of winning the series and guess what game 5 and 7 are at San Antonio

    • kd's abeast says:

      And team that wins game 4 is 90% chance. Plz stop everyone said this after game 3 nd now its 80% after game 4, so what when the thunder win game 5 is it going to be 70% for game 6.

    • mille says:

      Cavs had a 1.7% chance of getting the top picjk in the draft and yeah percentages are no way to determine an outcome despite how high

  7. SAballer says:

    Spurs are good at making plays and moving the ball around. Westbrook is greedy and likes to dunk the ball or make an easy layup. Westbrook had more points than the spurs starters combined Cruz he’s selfish. Spurs players like making plays. 2012 NBA finals Westbrook kept making points and KD looked like he was giving up. Sadly Lebron should of been MVP even though I hate LBJ and Gayami Heat. Spurs in game in 7

  8. Antonio says:

    Is it me or anybody else figure it out Tim Duncan just can´t go anymore?? I mean I respect and admire this guy, but age finally get him. that makes me sad. Thats the reason Dyaw is having more minutes. I hope TD have 1 or 2 more great games left in his tank for this or the finals series if they arrive.

  9. Ms.Sexy says:

    OKC in 6

  10. sam says:

    I am a spurs fan and the way it is going now I guess the spurs will lose in 6! sorry spurs, you have no heart like OKC. it is time for the spurs to get new blood. Tim, Manu and Tony, you had been great but its time to retire and move on. you will be missed and remembered.

  11. Tom says:

    Not sure which is giving SA more problems, Ibaka or the officiating.

  12. Nathan (GO SPURS GO) says:

    Hilarious how the article says there has been 4 games and 4 blowouts. 35pts is a blowout. 9pts is not. Spurs beat OKC by a combined amount of 52pts. OKC won by combined amount of 22. Don’t act like it’s identical. Spurs will control any game played in SA, which means they will take the series.

    • okckd35 says:

      The 9 point game was a 20 point lead when the starters were all pulled. Until the third string cut it to 9 in garbage time it was a blowout.

    • kd's abeast says:

      Actually the 9 point game was a 20 point lead, and the 17 point game was a 27point lead when starters from either team was pulled so the rest is garbage time making combined total 47 so yes too blowouts not as close as the numbers made you think.

  13. i agree. the fix is in to get the heat to the finals. that pacers game looked so rigged its despicable. the refs blatantly makethewrong calls like the game five vs the clippers. If they make theright call its spursvsclippers west coast finals. then they fine paul george for speaking the truth because there is no free speech for players which shows the nba is even more rigged when once you say something about the shady calls and none calls your penalized. come on people. tom donaghy told us all about this and we see it play out before our face evvery year

    • ipman says:

      stop whining,fix really?…or u can say better teams go to finals and win championship

  14. Game Time says:

    Westbrook’s hero ball won’t work against Miami. James will make sure of that.

  15. John Lee says:

    The winner of Game 5 will set the pace for winning the West. I am banging on OKC to come through in 7. It’s time for the changing of the guards. The wild card for OKC is jackson and lamb. They need to play well for them to win consistently.

  16. tkan says:

    Last 2 games not “blowouts.” And interestingly, OKC had to have KD and RW in the game to keep the SAS bench at by, while Pop rested his starters on the bench. They had plenty of open looks on the perimeter and just could not hit the broad side of the barn. That doesn’t happen very often, but it does from time to time. Game 3 was big shift in matchup with Serge back in after his “season ending” injury (hmmm?). Game 4 was a combination of bad perimeter shooting and sloppy play for Spurs (also, Joey Crawford is always a bad omen for TD and Spurs). Spurs in 7 (but I will be honest, when we were up 2-0, I started having flashbacks of 2012). OKC great team, but home court is the key in this series.

    • kd's abeast says:

      It really isnt wen it come to spurs and okc because okc has actually beaten the spurs at home. Nd secondly there were points in both those games were sas starters were also playing our bench and couldnt keep up fact is ibaka is giving sas nightmares.

  17. Eaglos says:

    Your refs are a disgrace to the game

  18. itay says:

    adam silver+refs=durant>san antonio spurs
    it is a-shame this league is so corrupt
    the refs stole ir from l.a clippers and now from the san antonio spurs(same as 2002 lakers vs kings)

    i am disgusted

    THEY want a-showdown durant(mvp) vs james for the ratings………..

  19. Spurskiller says:

    Oh come on blaming d refs again…please please..dont make anymore excuses spurs fans just accept it..D reality is size and athleticism can kill d spurs becuase they are running out of gas.

  20. tony says:

    Just as expected that when San Antonio loose their fans will immediately blame on the official. After the first two games I heard a lot of praising how well the SA played. Well history is repeating fair and square. SA is getting nervous and will be out of sync the next two games. If RW and KD played like yesterday through out the playoff, the Heat won’t get their chance to repeat

    • kd's abeast says:

      And even after how they played yesterday kd still said theres another level they can go to which is hard to believe but the thunders have been playing this entire season like they r possessed making sure no one and no injury will stop them.

  21. Defdun says:

    Officiating has been so home team throughout both series. Refs should take a look at how many obvious calls were missed. And Reggie is right in saying if you call a foul you don’t wait around and hope to see a reaction from a hothead like RW to then tee him up (Game 2). You call the foul and head for the scorers table – otherwise just bad officiating…

  22. saeed says:

    This is because I wanted the Blazers here. Spurs just outexperienced them. The blazers would not let the OKC scape with another series just like they did in Game 7 with Zbo suspended and in game 6 with the Clippers with the extra rare carelessness of CP3.

  23. mike says:

    Thunder is good, but when it takes about 70% of points output from two players, it really shows their weakness. Where is Thunder’s Ray Allen off the bench? If Thunder beats Spurs, they yet again fall to the Heat (I don’t even like the Heat, but they are too good)

  24. Mleh says:

    Spurs got robbed by the refs shame on this league

    • really says:

      spurs got robbed by getting old. too slow, too weak. okc dominates them at every position.

  25. Asaf says:

    1:04 in the video, Westbrook is outside the line (both legs) when he steals the ball, that’s should be an out, and a spurs ball

  26. KS says:

    Spurs will take the series! They have the power to do it, just need to play smarter and try to stop KD nad RW on defence! We need one very motivated Kahwi, Danny to be on his best and nail those threes and we need the veterans to play smart! Minimal TOs from Manu and Tony is crucial!

  27. Ricardo says:

    ouuuuuuu i love it, hope okc keep playing like that!!!!!!

    • okc suk my mik says:

      aokckd35
      I dont see any banners from rafters even you beat sa you cant BEAT THE HEAT HAHHAHAHA

      • okckd35 says:

        Keep living in the past. Your stars are old. They cant keep up with OKC and realize it. You can see it on their faces. They will retire this year after another loss to the thunder.

  28. darqqing987 says:

    Basketball is a game of Matchup, and with Ibaka back in the lineup, the Thunder are the worse matchup for the Spurs. The way the spurs wanna play is by having Tony Parker penetrate the opposing defense on the pick and roll and kick the ball out to their shooters to drain treys if the defense collapsed in him or just score at the rim himself consistently if the help doesn’t come. With Ibaka in the OKC lineup, that kinda negate the basis of the Spurs offense because almost every possession end up in a block or a difficult contest at the rim or a contested outside jumper since OKC can now stay on the ouside scorers. It’s gonna be interesting how the Spurs is gonna find a way to win because OKC’s athleticism takes them out of their game.

  29. Mike says:

    NBA=WWE
    Spurs can´t even defend without getting calls, thats on the refs.

  30. Defdun says:

    OKC will not be able to win in San Antonio without their crowd backing them. The Ibaka effect is over and James Harden is not around either. So it’s Spurs in 6 or 7. But great series and great storyline for the playoffs and all you writers… Didn’t you know that fairy tales don’t repeat themselves. (And Ray Allen is not gonna make a life-saving three in the Finals either!)

    • really says:

      there is no “ibaka effect” other than ibaka simply owning the paint like usual. this would’ve been a okc 4-0 sweep of the spurs but the injury was a blow. as long as ibaka is healthy, the spurs have zero chance.

  31. Marc Betancourt says:

    This series isn’t over yet. And OKC only won games 3 and 4 by a margin of 9 and 13 points,hardly blowouts. I still say Spurs in 7.

    • really says:

      it’s over. crawling back in garbage minutes is completely irrelevant.

    • kd's abeast says:

      u mean after being up by 20 and 27 points and not feeling like they needed to play really well after that to win the game and they were right. Okc stopped playing after the spurs starters left u can tell because okc went back to chucking up shots with 15 second still left on the shot clock

    • okckd35 says:

      In those games okc had a 20 point and a 27 point lead. Blowout. Backups chucking threes in garbage time to reduce the margin doesnt make it less of a whoopin.

  32. #30 says:

    Magic whistle for Home team..

  33. jack says:

    first westbrook steal clearly he is outside, what the referee is doing…

  34. HEAT_FAN says:

    Welcome back to the Finals OKC – and Heat just gonna reach their goal because HEAT= 3-PEAT!!!

  35. Ljupco says:

    After game 5 in SA, this author’s text will be hilarious. Spurs will make a statement.

  36. jake s. says:

    Love this series. Which team would you say has a better advantage on the road?

  37. Yusa says:

    I don’t know what exactly Pop is thinking, resting his starter again in the 4th and hoping his 2nd unit can get the lead down to 1 digit. I’m really frustrated watching the game in the 4th not because of the score board but fouls are everywhere it really slow down the game and most of the calls given are at minimal contact. Hope we can see a close game in this series and it wasn’t fun watching when someone is beaten up with 2 digit lead at the 4th. Either way 2012 or 2013 Finals rematch would be fun to watch.

    • baller says:

      heat and thunder would be best…durants gonna rape lebron this year

      • v1ncente16 says:

        Miami and Lebron are going to dismantle OKC if it happens to be that way, only way for Heat not to prevail is to go against the spurs with parker engine going in 6th throtle..

      • Game Time says:

        Until KD is able to defend well and put up his same numbers, he won’t be ready for Lebron or Miami. Besides OKC as a team has not improved since 2012, whereas Miami has become an even stronger team with better role players.

      • kd's abeast says:

        I love that comment like like like.i keep telling everyone kd usually averages 46 mins at night but brooks has been cutting his minutes down nd that’s to make sure he has the rest needed for the finals push ibaka left for 10 days and came back playin like a new man and if kd gets sum rest he can come out playing like he did in january or better. God knows its okc thunder year to win the chip . They stormed the weather for it.

    • okckd35 says:

      They are old and were down by 27. They need rest

      • Jesse says:

        At least the bench brought it down to 9. Okc couldn’t bring their point deficit down at all in game 1 and 2. I don’t know what’s going on with the Spurs. It’s like they were just scared to do anything. And okc has a bunch of show offs. I really dislike that, it doesn’t show “team” effort. Had there been some fist pumps , high fives instead of “call me” hand signals and selfies girl edition faces by okc, then I would have accepted this defeat a lot more easier. But that just makes okc just like the heat.

  38. TheMann says:

    If the series stays like this the spurs will take it in 7.

  39. TrayMac89 says:

    When the spurs went up 2-0 in a 7 game series against a thunder team without undervalued & unappreciated Serge Ibaka, the spurs fans where immaturely posting “sweep”, “spurs in 5″, yet after two blowouts to make up for their own beatings down in san antiono, with much help from Ibaka. The Nba is a team game. When healthy Thunder is the best team. Much respect to the spurs though. Professional YMCA ballers, but if your not on your game they are capable of sending you home.

    • Arky says:

      In fairness, the Spurs fans and most other folks thought the Spurs were playing a demoralized Thunder with no Ibaka. As soon as it turned out Ibaka was fit to play and play like nothing’s wrong with him, it became a different kettle of fish.

      • kd's abeast says:

        But thats the thing even wen thunder fan said its because of ibaka u guys won or ibaka is coming back. Spurs fan kept insisting with or without ibaka they were gonna win game 3 and 4. Nd they said ibaka had some but not all the influence. Nd now the excuse is spurs played bad it wasn’t okc defense. Spurs just cant admit that okc played like the better team.

    • Mike says:

      The NBA is a refs game.

    • Mike says:

      There’s nothing immature about posting the words “sweep” and “spurs in 5″. San Antonio fans had every right to expect a whitewash when it was thought that Ibaka would miss the rest of the playoffs. The purpose of having a forum is for fans to post their thoughts and opinions, and those people can only develop those thoughts and opinions with the facts made available to them. The “fact” was at the time that Ibaka was never expected to play in this series, in which case a Spurs victory was guaranteed. It just so happens that the series has been evened, and so it should be. That’s the reason why homecourt advantage is so important. The Thunder are a young team that thrive on the energy from their home crowd. Spurs in 7.

      • kd's abeast says:

        Actually not really they thrive on the goal they have in mind and as you saw with the clippers series they also feed on the energy of opposing team crowd. What alot of ppl who havent been watching the thunder for a long time doesnt know is whenever people doubt them or they need a win they play a whole lot better jist to prove everyone out there wrong. Alot of thunder players hardly pay attention to what news outlet says about them but they use all the negativety towards them to fuwl rhe aggression, power and physicality u see in their series.

    • okckd35 says:

      Not many spurs fans chirping now. They are scared of OKC because they are t h e one team that gives them so many problems. The spurs are a well oiled machine. But westbrook is the monkey wrench stuck between the gears

      • Jacquio says:

        I think it’s been proven that Ibaka is more of a problem than Westbrook.

      • Brainundrum says:

        Spurs and their fans are only scared of one thing. Refs. Check the free throw count of games 3 and 4. After you do that, realize you know nothing about basketball, or the NBA.

      • okckd35 says:

        Check who was more agressive. Total foul calls were 1 different in 3-4. I like how u dont bring up the +13 for the spurs in game 2 at the FT Line. U just want to cry when they lose. Game 3 the thunder were +15 in FT but actually were called for 2 more fouls than the spurs. Do some research

    • Jesse says:

      Games 3 and 4 were not blowouts, baka.
      Game 1 and 2 were.