As the Spurs made their game-changing run late in the second quarter on Wednesday night, Kevin Durant continued to get burned by Danny Green’s long-range shooting.
Twice in the final three minutes of the first half, Green sprung free for an uncontested three because of a defensive breakdown by Durant. On the last one, following a timeout by coach Scott Brooks, an animated Westbrook let Durant have it on their way back to the huddle. Pointing at his temple, cameras caught Westbrook telling Durant to “wake up,” leading to a heated back-and-forth between the two throughout the timeout.
Westbrook and Durant dismissed it after the game, saying it was just a heat-of-the-moment-type situation. On Thursday, ESPN analysts and former point guards Jalen Rose and Avery Johnson backed Westbrook, saying they saw nothing wrong with the exchange.
“I didn’t like it, I loved it,” Johnson said. “I think we need more of that. People get confused about the perception of what was going on. That was two star players – specifically his teammate, who happens to be Kevin Durant – accountable. Accountable for missing a rotation, accountable for not being as focused defensively as he should have been. It happens in the huddles of timeouts all the time. That outward display of passion and accountability, I loved it.”
Said Rose: “On a winning team you can chastise your teammate, and it’s OK because you have the same championship-caliber goals. On a losing team, it becomes an argument. Whether it’s a superstar or it’s a guy that’s a Derek Fisher on the team at this point in career, or Caron Butler at this point in his career, everybody has an equal voice — especially if you’re right. At that point, Russell Westbrook... what he was telling KD was accurate.”
ROSE LAMENTS IBAKA LOSS
On that same conference call, Rose gave his opinion on the absence of Serge Ibaka and how heavy an impact that it has had on the team.
“When you lose your third-best player like Serge Ibaka – your most agile frontcourt player that can rim protect but also make 15- to 18-foot shots when he gets going, can make threes, can play center in smaller lineups – it gives them flexibility and versatility, and also it gives them confidence,” Rose said. “When Russell gets a little emotional during the game or KD may think about putting his head down, the first person that’s always over there to grab one of them or to thump them in the chest, or tap ’em on the backside or the back of the head is always Serge Ibaka. So, to miss that player, it does take away the heart and soul of the team.”
STAT OF THE DAY
Danny Green is 11-of-15 from three in the first two games of this series. Thabo Sefolosha is 11-of-47 from three since the All-Star break.
STAT OF THE DAY II
The Thunder’s first five losses of this postseason, to the Grizzlies and Clippers, came by a combined 29 points. OKC’s last two losses to the Spurs came by a combined 52 points.
STEVEN ADAMS NAMED ALL-ROOKIE SECOND TEAM
Thunder center Steven Adams was named to the NBA's All-Rookie second team, as announced Thursday by the league.
Adams averaged 3.3 points, 4.1 rebounds and 50 percent shooting in 81 regular season games for the Thunder. The 20-year-old out of the University of Pittsburgh is the only selection to the All-Rookie first or second team who is still playing in the postseason.
Adams received a total of 65 points and nine first-place votes to make the squad.
Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams of the Philadelphia 76ers headlines the All-Rookie first team, joined by Orlando Magic guard Victor Oladipo, Utah Jazz guard Trey Burke, New York Knicks guard Tim Hardaway Jr. and Brooklyn Nets center Mason Plumlee.
Joining Adams on the second team are Boston Celtics center Kelly Olynyk, Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, Minnesota Timberwolves center Gorgui Dieng and Charlotte Hornets center Cody Zeller.
Thunder guard Andre Roberson was among other first-year players who received at least one All-Rookie Team vote.
The Spurs have yet to win a game on the Thunder’s home floor in this series. But because of a 2-0 lead – done in historically dominant fashion – Vegas is labeling San Antonio as a heavy favorite to represent the Western Conference in the Finals.
Updated odds give the Spurs an 89 percent chance of beating the Thunder.
But, surprisingly, the Thunder is favored by two points in Game 3.