Spurs-Thunder: Thunder's offense draws rave reviews

Magic Johnson says OKC has ‘three guys who can take over a game.'
By John Rohde, Staff Writer, jrohde@opubco.com Published: June 5, 2012

While breaking down the Western Conference Finals on Tuesday morning, the greatest point guard in NBA history emphatically stated that the Thunder's most lethal weapon offensively is its ability to successfully not run a play.

A former point guard heralding a team's effectiveness in not running a play?

“They have three guys who can take over a game,” Magic Johnson said of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden on ESPN's “Mike & Mike.” “They don't need to call a play. They can go one-on-one against any (San Antonio) Spurs defender and score.

“They're young, they're aggressive, they're talented and they're confident.”

Ever since Scott Brooks became the Thunder's coach 13 games into the 2008-09 season, his team's half-court offense has been widely criticized. There's too much standing around, not enough movement or spacing, little or no structure. It's one-on-one with a ball screen.

With OKC one victory away from the NBA Finals, analysts such as Johnson now claim the Thunder's ability to run isolation plays for its Big 3 carries with it a significant advantage over the four remaining teams.

“I haven't heard any of that,” Brooks said early Tuesday afternoon, not gloating.

There wasn't even a hint of I-told-you-so from Brooks. To him, isolation plays and a two-man offensive game are still works-in-progress.

“It takes time to work on things, and it takes time to improve on different parts of the game,” Brooks said. “I think our guys have done a good job of improving the last three or four years on parts of the game that we feel are very important. … Offensively, it's always a work-in-progress. There's a lot of moving parts that have to really come together at the same time, and I really believe that it has been. It's still not where we all want it to be. You're never satisfied.”



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