After being beaten by a combined 52 points in the first two games of the series, the Thunder are put in a tough position. There is a loss of hope, optimism, and pride.
In Game 1, the Thunder could have used Ibaka in every way possible as the Spurs dominated the paint all night long. In Game 2, the Thunder could have used a little bit of everything to stop the at-the-time-unstoppable Spurs. In Game 3, well, a lot will need to go right for the Thunder to get a win.
First, Kevin Durant needs to wake up. Even his best pal told him this! I wish KD could have another MVP speech to inspire this team, and more importantly himself. Following the speech, it seemed like Durant got back to his old ways–in the regular season– and he was finally back to himself. But, Durant is back to struggling. The best scorer on planet, and the league’s MVP can’t be scoring just 15 points in a playoff game. In order for the Thunder to have a shot in this series, Durant is going to have to do special things. Like, I mean, really special things. Following the Game 1 loss, Durant said, “I have another level I have to go to in order for us to get this thing done.” And he was spot on.
If Durant’s off, Scott Brooks and the Thunder have got to look right to Westbrook to carry the scoring load. And frankly enough, he hasn’t played well in this series either. He’s averaged just 20 points, six assists, five rebounds, with 3.5 turnovers in games one and two. Not only will Durant have to be special in order for OKC to get back into this series, but so will Westbrook. The two will have to combine for at least 65 points night in and night out for the Thunder to have a shot without Ibaka. How about this stat: Last night in Game 2, Danny Green and Tony Parker combined for 43 points. Durant and Westbrook? Just 30.
To add, this Oklahoma City team needs to start playing like themselves. It is so frustrating to watch the isolation offense on basically every possession. The best way to beat San Antonio is to create turnovers, get out in transition and run. If the Thunder plan to play a half-court game with these guys, it will be ugly(which we’ve seen). Reggie Jackson, Caron Butler, Kendrick Perkins, Thabo Sefolosha, Steven Adams, and Nick Collison will all have to be on their A games and play their role and then some for this Oklahoma City team to get back on track.
Luckily, Oklahoma City has three days to re-group and try to try things around. A lot will be asked in order to do so, but you can never count these guys out. Although this is a different team without the bearded one and Ibaka, we know coming back from 2-0 against the Spurs is possible. Will it happen? At this point, I really don’t know. I really just don’t know.
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