2014 NBA Western Conference Finals: Spurs blow out Thunder to cruise to a 2-0 series lead
The current Conference Finals match-ups seem to be highly contrasting in nature as the Pacers and Heat lock horns in the East. The Thunder are struggling to remain competitive against the reigning West Champions San Antonio Spurs.
Here’s a recap of last night’s game:
(1) San Antonio Spurs vs (2) Oklahoma City Thunder (San Antonio won 112-77, lead series 2-0)
With a dominating Game 2 performance, the Spurs Big 3 of Tony Parker, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili have now become the most successfull trio in NBA Playoff history with 111 wins surpassing the 80’s Lakers trio of Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Michael Cooper.
The last time these two teams met in the Playoffs was the Conference Finals in 2012 where the Spurs led the series 2 to nothing after 2 games much like the ongoing series, but Thunder won the next four games to advance to the NBA Finals.
This time around, the Thunder have to play out of their skins to just compete, largely due to their starting power forward Serge Ibaka, an essential player of their system on both ends of the floor is out with a left calf injury.
The Spurs will remember the series from two years ago, however they have not let it affect thier current series taking care of business comprehensively in both their home games so far. In Game 1, the Spurs took advantage of the Thunder having no shotblocker in the paint outscoring them 66-32 points . In Game 2, the Spurs let Danny Green and their defense do the talking restricting their opponents to just 77 points and defeating them with a margin of 35 points.
Green was the second highest scorer for Spurs with 21 points shooting daggers from beyond the arc at an efficient rate of 70%. They also registered 3 steals as the Spurs outscored Thunder 34-18 in the second quarter and 33-18 in the third quarter,taking advantage of the foul trouble the Thunder big men faced early in the game.
Danny Green’s three-point shooting in Game 2:
Game 2 was not only about the Spurs’ defense but also about the offensive struggles of the Thunder when their 1-2 punch of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook failed to fire. The duo shot a combined 13-40. Durant had a quiet game with 15 points, only his fifth game out of a total of 69 Playoff career games,where he has scored less than 20 points. Meanwhile, Westbrook also had 15 points with 5 rebounds and 5 assists, limited activity given the standard of play that we expect from him.
The Thunder bench played well receiving big minutes summing up 43 points but it was not enough as it was 9 more than their starters could manage. The biggest contributors were Steven Adams who played 33 minutes,scoring 9 points along with 8 rebounds, Jeremy Lamb scored 13 and the duo of Reggie Jackson and Caron Butler a combined 17 points.
However the bench play is not a category the Spurs will be defeated in as their bench countered the Thunder reserves with 42 points despite the top 3 scorers from the Spurs being among their starters. Still dealing with a Grade 1 hamstring problem, Tony Parker led the scoring once again with 22 points along with 5 assists but it was the play of the Spurs big men Tim Duncan (14 points, 10 rebounds and 2 blocks) and Tiago Splitter (9 points, 12 rebounds and 3 blocks) who made the difference thriving in the absence of Ibaka.
Thunder have a very capable bench who can fill the offensive void that is left by Ibaka but the chances of Thunder making it to the next round without their power forward are very slim given the defensive impact that Ibaka has on a game. Under-manned, the Thunder certainly have their backs against the wall needing to play at a level much higher than their current one to even stay competitive in the game with the Spurs.
Expect the Spurs to finish this series in a sweep or five games.
Here are the Top 5 plays of Game 2: