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Spurs-Thunder: Answering some questions heading into Game 3

Putting Thabo Sefolosha on Tony Parker won't solve all the Thunder's woes.
By John Rohde Published: May 30, 2012

“It's not a secret. We just have to figure it out.”

Fisher then came with the stock answer from every player and coach.

“The pick-and-roll defense is about all five guys, not just a guy on the ball, and not just the big guy guarding the screen, but all five guys being able to shrink the floor and really play together as a team on the defensive end,” Fisher said.

San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich gave the same five-as-one speech discussing how the Spurs defend Kevin Durant, Westbrook and James Harden. No one can guard those guys one-on-one.

“With a pick-and-roll defender, length is not as much of a factor,” Brooks said. “It's a commitment by five guys. Even (Spurs sixth man Manu) Ginobili said I'm not a one-on-one player. I'm a pick-and-roll player. It's the same thing on defense. You can be a bad one-on-one defender, but a great pick-and-roll defender.”

That being said, don't be stunned if the Thunder indeed has Sefolosha defend Parker.

At this point, it couldn't hurt.

Does there come a time when the Thunder starts to experiment defensively, or does Brooks trust his original instinct?

The answer is both.

“We'll make a few adjustments,” Brooks said, obviously not revealing what those might be. “Whatever we have to do, we have to do it with incredible effort, because they throw incredible shooters on the floor, and they have an amazing point guard. Their big is Duncan, so they make you make some tough decisions, but you have to make them and you have to live with some things.”

If the Thunder can't defend the Spurs, why not just try to outscore them?

Um, isn't outscoring the other team always the goal, with or without defense?

In Game 2, Durant (31 points), Harden (30) and Westbrook (27) combined for 88 points, yet the Thunder still lost 120-111, never led and trailed by as many as 22.

“Points doesn't matter,” Harden said. “It's about us defending. We're going to score points. We're going to give you 90-100 points, but they had 120, so it's defense that matters. That's what we've got to get down is really locking in, really trying to contain them and stop them on the defensive end.”

Again, there's that incessant talk of defense.

“Five guys on the court at one time really playing and locking in for 48 minutes,” Harden said. “They do a great job of passing the ball. If one or two people are in (the paint) with everybody else, that's when it doesn't work and they score, or they get layups and that's when they get 3s. We'll have to be on the same page, ready to close out to their shooters.”

Bench Kendrick Perkins. Let Nick Collison defend the stretch 4 when necessary and put Ibaka at center to patrol the middle.

You want to be the one to tell Perk he's not starting?


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