OKC Thunder searching for answers after Spurs roll to authoritative victory

SAN ANTONIO 120, OKLAHOMA CITY 111 — Tony Parker and the Spurs dismantled the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals. The Spurs used their bread-and-butter pick-and-roll offense and pinpoint ball movement to jump to a 2-0 series edge.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: May 30, 2012

So far, the Spurs are sprinting past the Thunder.

Spurs guard Tony Parker, who scored 42 against the Thunder back in February, again dazzled, this time with 34 points on 16-of-21 shooting to go with eight assists. His efforts captained a 27-assists night for the Spurs, who used that precise ball movement to get about anything they wanted, exactly when they wanted it.

San Antonio also made 11-of-26 3-pointers, burning the Thunder with the same sharp-shooting that the Spurs displayed during the regular season. Two nights earlier, the Thunder held the Spurs to 8-of-24 shooting from 3-point range and perhaps thought it had solved that part of the puzzle.

Only another problem popped up.

While the Thunder's big three of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden did what they needed to do, combining for 88 points on 30-of-54 shooting, the rest of the Thunder's players scored just 23 points on 7-of-34 shooting.

That was a huge difference in the game.

San Antonio, on the other hand, got an unexpected double-double out of rookie forward Kawhi Leonard, who what 18 points and 10 rebounds in 35 minutes. His performance complemented the Spurs' big three of Parker, Ginobili and Duncan, who combined for 65 points on 24-for-43 shooting.

“They were making shots,” Brooks said. “I mean, they were spraying them all over the floor and knocking them in.”

The Thunder then got desperate, resorting to “Hack-a-Splitter,” an intentional-fouling strategy against Spurs forward Tiago Splitter. It's a tactic designed to put a poor free throw shooter on the foul line and hope that he misses.

It's the universal sign that one team can't guard another.

So, again, we ask what on earth can the Thunder do?

“We have to play better,” Brooks said. “We have to do everything better. From guarding the pick-and-rolls, from closing out, to making the extra pass (and) setting good screens. It's a variety of things that we have to play better.

“When you're playing against the best team in basketball, you have to do a lot of things well to beat them. But we have enough in our locker room to do that. We just have to do it.”


by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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