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Oklahoma City Thunder: OKC desperately turns to two-man game in Game 2 loss

by Darnell Mayberry Published: May 22, 2014

— Kevin Durant spent so much time talking about trust.

Trusting the system. Trusting his teammates. Trusting the pass.

But as soon as the Thunder got its first taste of adversity against San Antonio in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals on Wednesday night, all those grandiose ideas of solving these Spurs and knotting up this series with simple concepts and straight-forward fundamentals flew out the window. Oklahoma City quickly became a desperate team that reverted to relying on a two-man game featuring Durant and Russell Westbrook.

It disrupted the Thunder’s rhythm.

It bogged down the Thunder’s offense.

It spurred San Antonio to the 112-77 South Texas spanking we saw inside AT&T Center.

San Antonio 2. Oklahoma City 0.

Game 3 is Sunday in Oklahoma City.

For the Thunder to now have any chance at keeping this series from inching closer to life support, Westbrook and Durant will have to do more than just talk a good game. They’ll need to play one. They did anything but Wednesday, statistically, aesthetically or mentally.

Oklahoma City’s dynamic duo combined to score 30 points on 13 of 40 shots. They missed eight of nine 3-pointers and had seven assists against five turnovers.

But they also were the Thunder’s two biggest problems in the turning point of the game.

Go back to the nine-minute mark of the second quarter. Westbrook re-entered the game with 9:13 remaining in the period. The Thunder led by one, 30-29. For whatever reason, Westbrook then went on one of his well-known, one-man crusades.

He put his head down. He put the ball on the floor. He attacked.

Westbrook used five straight possessions. He went 1-for-4 with a turnover.

Thunder coach Scott Brooks re-inserted Durant with 6:18 showing as an attempt to restore order. Spurs forward Tim Duncan stood at the foul line, where he made two free throws to put San Antonio back ahead by one, 37-36.

Durant then took his turn, missing two straight jumpers. Brooks summoned Reggie Jackson off the bench with 4:22 left in the period to find better balance. By then, the Spurs were off and running, in the infancy stages of delivering the Thunder its slow but steady demise.

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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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