Oklahoma City Thunder: Defense’s finest hour?
It’s possible that the second half of Game 6 in the Western Conference was the finest defense the Thunder has played. The Thunder absolutely did not let the Spurs get their offense going, even though it hummed along at blistering pace in the first half.
The Spurs had 63 points in the first half and shot 54.5 percent from the field. But San Antonio made just 13 of 40 shots after halftime and scored just 18 points in each of the third and fourth quarters.
The fourth quarter was particularly impressive. After Manu Ginobili opened the quarter with an easy layup off a drive, the Spurs went more than six minutes without a field goal. After having apparently solved their turnover problem (San Antonio had just seven through three quarters), the Spurs committed turnovers on four straight possessions early in the fourth quarter, then another a couple of minutes later.
“I think it was our energy, mostly,” said Thabo Sefolosha, who despite playing only 10:52 in the second half had the Thunder’s best plus/minus, a plus-10. The Thunder outscored the Spurs by 10 points with Thabo on the court. “Helping one another and talking out on the court.
“In the first half, we let the pressure get to us a little bit. Everybody was just doing their own thing defensively, but in that second half we got back to doing what we do, and that was the key.”
James Harden said the third quarter was uplifting. “You know, being down practically 18 (not practically, actually) in the half and just turning it around and being down one going into the fourth quarter just shows you how resilient we are,” Harden said. “We shouldn’t have put ourselves in this situation, but we fought hard to get back in it to win the game.”
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