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OKC Thunder notebook: Kawhi Leonard tasked with Russell Westbrook assignment

The maneuver worked to some degree, in this way. Westbrook got up just 12 shots in 30:48 of playing time, though he still played well — 21 points on 6-of-12 shooting, seven assists, three steals, four rebounds.
by Berry Tramel and Anthony Slater Published: May 30, 2014

Bonner started in place of center Tiago Splitter and didn’t even score, missing all four of his shots. But the move got the Thunder out of its comfort zone. Ibaka got off his game, missing his first five shots, most of them while trying (and succeeding) to drive on Bonner. The Bonner move didn’t have concrete results for Popovich. But the abstract benefits were apparent.

“That’s what they’re known for,” Reggie Jackson said of the Spurs’ lineup changes. “I don’t think it matters who plays. They could play five centers and they would still find a way to move the ball. It’s just what they do, their system, and they’re good at it.”

DANNY GREEN ROAD AND HOME

It’s often said that role players play better at home. Or, for a glass half-empty approach, role players don’t travel well.

Danny Green, in this series, might be the best example.

In three San Antonio home games, all wins, the Spurs sharpshooter had 51 points, making 16 of his 27 shots and 15 of his 23 threes. But in the two road games, Green had only 11 points, making four of his 16 shots and three of his nine threes.

For the Thunder, that bodes well for Game 6, but remains a worry in a potential Game 7.

STAT OF THE NIGHT

The Spurs are 11-1 all-time with a 3-2 lead in a series. Their lone loss was last season, in the NBA Finals, to the Miami Heat.

QUOTABLE

Scott Brooks asked whether Serge Ibaka is practicing with the team: “We didn't even practice. All we did was watched an hour and a half of film. That was it.”

by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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by Anthony Slater
Thunder Beat Writer
Anthony Slater started on the Thunder beat in the summer of 2013, joining after two years as NewsOK.com's lead sports blogger and web editor. A native Californian, Slater attended Sonoma State for two years before transferring to Oklahoma State in...
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