THUNDER TRY "HACK-A-SPLITTER" APPROACH
In the first round of the 2008 NBA playoffs, San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich resorted to the “Hack-A-Shaq” approach of having his players intentionally foul Phoenix Suns center Shaquille O'Neal, who struggled throughout his career at the free-throw line.
The move angered O'Neal so much he called it “cowardly.”
Late in the third quarter of Game 2 against the Thunder on Tuesday night, OKC coach Scott Brooks instructed his team to deliberately foul Spurs reserve center Tiago Splitter, who was shooting 32.0 percent from the line this postseason.
The tactic at least stopped the clock for the Thunder, which still wound up losing 120-111 at the AT&T Center.
Asked if he thought the “Hack-A-Splitter” approach helped OKC get back into the game, Popovich said: “Maybe, maybe. It was a good move. I might have done it.”
Playfully asked if he had ever tried such a tactic?
“No, I've never done that before,” Popovich said. “I think it's a really lousy thing to do. It's unsportsmanlike. No, it's a good move. If there's a reason to do it, and they did it. So it's a good move.”
NOT SO NASTY
The city of San Antonio has fully embraced Popovich's pep talk of “I want some nasty” in the fourth quarter of Game 1 on Sunday.
T-shirts with “I WANT SOME NASTY” have been printed. Fans held up various “Nasty” placards.
Center Kendrick Perkins, the Thunder's resident expert on nasty, chimed in on the subject at Tuesday morning's shootaround session.
“Nasty? I didn't know they got nasty,” Perkins said. “I just thought they made shots. I didn't see anything that was nasty about the way they was playing. It ain't like they made a hard foul or nothing like that. I just thought they played more aggressive.”
FORGET THE ALAMO
Teams from the state of Oklahoma have not fared particularly well in postseason competition in San Antonio.
OU won the 2007 Big 12 football title with a 38-17 victory over Missouri at the Alamodome, but OSU is 1-2 in the Alamo Bowl — losing to Purdue 33-20 in 1997 and Ohio State 33-7 in 2004, and beating Arizona 36-10 in 2010.
The OSU men lost 67-65 to Georgia Tech in a 2004 Final Four national semifinal at the Alamodome.
The OU women beat Duke 86-71 in the 2002 Women's Final Four in a national semifinal at the Alamodome, but lost to Connecticut 82-70 in the title game. The Sooners also lost to Stanford 88-74 in a 2006 NCAA Tournament regional semifinal at the AT&T Center.
With its Game 2 loss on Tuesday, the Thunder is now (2-7) in San Antonio, with the last win coming Nov. 14, 2009.
Popovich on if he senses a difference in the Thunder's confidence this year compared to previous seasons: “Well, I'm not in the locker room. I'm not on the bus. I'm not at their practices. That's something I couldn't answer. I have enough trouble figuring out my own team, let alone someone else's.”