Thunder-Spurs: Scott Brooks turns to Thabo Sefolosha, and he delivers with Swiss Ease

Thabo Sefolosha scored 19 points as OKC rolling over the Spurs and shut down Tony Parker on defense.
by Berry Tramel Published: June 1, 2012

Clearly, the Spurs will counter for Game 4. This isn't the first time Spurs coach Gregg Popovich has had to pick up a team off the playoff canvas.

“I can ask Scotty not to play him,” Pop deadpanned. “I don't know how I can change what Sefolosha's going to do. He did a good job. Tony did a good job. But it's not about Tony. It's about our team.

We played much more poorly tonight we have, and I thought they played fantastic basketball in every way.”

Here's how good the Thunder defense was: at halftime, the Thunder led 54-41, and the Spurs had four points in the paint. They finished with 24, but most of them in garbage time, after OKC had exploded to a 27-point lead.

The Spurs had 92 paint points in the first two games.

“Defensively, that was as well as you can play against the best team in basketball,” Brooks said. “Everybody did it throughout every possession.

“As we all know, Thabo's one of the best defenders in the game. We've had him on point guards before, not a lot, but I thought he did a great job of really staying active, pursing, and our bigs did a good job tonight. They were into the pick-and-rolls.”

In Game 1, Brooks played Thabo almost 31 minutes but limited Serge Ibaka to 21 1/2 minutes and none in the fourth quarter. In Game 2, Thabo played just 15 minutes while Ibaka played almost 39.

Brooks finally figured out, if you're going to stop a great offense, get your best defenders on the court as much as possible. So Ibaka played 30 minutes and Thabo 36 1/2, and neither was even needed the last five minutes of what became a runaway.

And now the series has a whole new look. It's the Spurs' turn to adjust Saturday night, or this becomes a three-game series starting in San Antonio.

Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at btramel@opubco.com. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.


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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