Every morning, we'll give you five things from the night before in the NBA to start your day.
1: The Spurs may not lose another game
Don't go to South Beach to find a dominant juggernaut featuring a Big 3 steamrolling its way through the playoffs. Go to San Antonio.
The Thunder got 88 points from the Durant/Westbrook/Harden triumvirate... they scored 111 points... and they got smoked. Sure they made it close in the end, but it took a frantic late surge to erase what had been about 30-some-odd minutes of looking lost. The bottom line for OKC is they don't have the same depth to make the same adjustments.
When it was clear that Kendrick Perkins was doing more harm than good on the floor, the Thunder went small and used a rotation that includes two guys off the bench, both guards. When the Thunder started using their "Hack-a-Splitter" ("Hittah-a-Splittah"?), San Antonio has a full bench at its disposal, including capable, contributing players who have become DNP-CD's like DeJuan Blair.
Don't you think OKC would take DeJuan Blair right now?
I'm sure the Spurs will lose at some point. Maybe more than once in this series. But OKC isn't going to beat San Antonio four times in the next five games... not after a the Spurs whipped off a 20-game win streak and look as good as ever doing it.
2: Let's get physical!
After the Game 1 loss to the Heat, Rajon Rondo said the Heat need to "hit the deck too," ... intimating that he was sick of ending up sprawled on the floor while the Heat comfortably finished at the rim without so much as getting their uniforms rumpled. The Heat, however, aren't going to take that threat, ahem, lying down.
"I expect to be quote, unquote 'put on the deck' or whatever the case may be and then you go to the free throw line," said James, who had 32 points in the Heat's 93-79 Game 1 win. "I don't need to prepare for something I already think is going to happen every game."
"We're men just like they're men; we're not going to let anyone just come and punk us," said Wade, who had 22 points in Game 1. "That is not our mentality, to go out there and make people hit the deck."
So now we've got our nice, convenient story line set up for tonight's broadcast. Rondo's comments, maybe a few other comments from some other Celtics, Miami's response... and then after the first hard foul.. BOOM... we've got a nice little montage to run during after the break.
The reality is that the Celtics really need to focus on making a few shots. If the Celtics had simply made those shots that were open, as well as their free throws in Game 1, the spread would likely have been single digits. From there, who knows how it goes. Maybe the Celtics could stand to make life a little more uncomfortable for LeBron and Wade, but they need to get their own house in order before toilet papering Miami's.
Serge Ibaka, this is Tim Duncan, he'll be your server this evening. Tonight's special is a dunk on your grill....
Duncan starts the break, Parker finishes... after a behind the back pass from Manu
Durant scores on shoeless Kawhi Leonard
4: Line of the Night: Tony Parker: 34 points (16-21 fg), 8 assists, 3 rebounds
Oh these Spurs... so many weapons. You hold Tim Duncan to 11 points and then Tony Parker goes off. If you stopped Parker, it'd just be someone else that burns you (like Kawhi Leonard).
Parker is a nice, controlled contrast to Russell Westbrook's often reckless attacking style. They are point guards that personify their teams, for better or for worse. It's no coincidence that Tony Parker's best year happens to be San Antonio's best in quite some time as well.
5: You can quote me on that:
"You can't make a statement with a loss. We were just playing catch-up. That was not making a statement. We just have to make sure we stick together.
-Thunder center Kendrick Perkins, on OKC's comeback late in Game 2
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