Spurs Try To Extend 19 Game Winning Streak in Game 2 Versus Thunder

2012 NBA Playoffs Western Conference Finals Game #2
#2 Oklahoma City Thunder at #1 San Antonio Spurs
Spurs Lead Best of Seven Series 1-0
AT&T Center – San Antonio, Texas
Tuesday, May 29, 2012, 9:05 pm Eastern, TV: TNT
Opening Line: San Antonio -4 1/2
Current Line: San Antonio -5
Opening Total: 202
Current Total: 201 1/2
Opening Money Line: Spurs -210 / Thunder +180

Current Money Line: Spurs -225 / Thunder +195

Manu Ginobili was fantastic in the Spurs' game one victory over the Thunder. The Spurs are 5 point favorites at home for game 2.

In game one of the Western Conference Finals, the San Antonio Spurs extended their winning streak to 19 games, by beating the Oklahoma City Thunder 101-98. It wasn’t easy though as the Spurs were down 71-62 entering the fourth quarter. The Spurs outscored the Thunder 39-27 in that quarter to take a 1-0 series lead.

Now, the two teams meet again in game 2. The Thunder must shake off a devastating loss, but 6 of their 10 playoff games this season have been decided by 3 points or less. The young Thunder played numerous close games in the first two rounds against the last two NBA champions, the Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers. By contrast, the Spurs have won 6 of their 9 playoff games by double digits. They did play close games against the Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Clippers in the closeout games of four game sweeps in each series.

However, game one of the Western Conference finals against Oklahoma City was their most difficult test of the playoffs. Spurs’ coach Gregg Popovich berated his team at the end of the third by telling them “I want some Nasty!”  And nasty he got. Tony Parker and Manu Ginobli became more aggressive and drove to the hoop with abandon. The Thunder had no answer for the Spur’s pick and roll in the fourth. The Spurs also held Kevin Durant to two field goals in the fourth quarter thanks to the stifling defense of Stephen Jackson.

One difference in the game was Oklahoma City center Kendrick Perkins was called for his 5th foul midway through the fourth and Thunder coach Scott Brooks kept him in the game. He couldn’t play defense to his normal standards, as he was afraid of being aggressive and picking up the 6th foul. The Thunder also went with a smaller line-up since Derek Fisher had a great shooting night. With Russell Westbrook, James Harden, and Fisher on the floor at the same time along with Durant and Perkins, the Thunder had a smaller line-up that helped them offensively but led to some defensive lapses. Forward Serge Ibaka didn’t even play in the fourth.

The Thunder shot 42.2% as a team, including 9-23 from 3 point range. OKC made 19 of 23 free throws. The Thunder had 43 rebounds, 18 assists, and 13 turnovers. OKC had 17 points in the paint and and 26 fast break points.

Durant had 27 points and 10 rebounds, along with 4 assists, 2 steals, and 3 blocks. He was 8-19 from the field including 0-4 from 3 point range. Durant made 11 of 12 free throws. Harden scored 19 points on 7-17 shooting. He made 5 of 9 three pointers, including 2 in the last minute that helped Oklahoma City get inside the number. He didn’t attempt one free throw. Westbrook had 17 points on 7-21 shooting. He made 1 of 2 free throws. He also had 5 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 blocks. Westbrook took a nasty fall late in the game, and landed face first. He was down for a couple of minutes, but should be fine for game 2. Fisher made his first 6 field goals and scored 13 points. The rest of the Thunder scored only 22 total points.

The Spurs shot 45.8% from the field, including 8-24 from 3 point range. They made 17 of 25 free throws. San Antonio had 50 rebounds, 22 assists, and 17 turnovers. After the Spurs had 14 first half turnovers, they adjusted to OKC’s speed and and only had 3 in the second half. The Spurs had 8 fast break points and 50 points in the paint.

Ginobli had 26 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists. He was 9-14 shooting, including 3-5 from 3 point range. He made all 5 of his free throws. Ginobli missed all three games against Oklahoma City with injury during the regular season. Parker had 18 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 steals. He was 6-15 shooting from the field, but did make a couple of key shots down the stretch that helped San Antonio hold off a Thunder rally. Tim Duncan had 16 points, 11 rebounds, 2 steals and a block. He was also 6-15 from the field. Gary Neal added 12 points, the only other Spur in double figures.

Oklahoma City is 6-3-1 ATS in the playoffs, and the total is 7-3. San Antonio is 6-3 ATS and the total is 2-7 this post-season. The Spurs are 7-3 ATS in the last 9 against the Thunder, and 11-5-1 at home against OKC.

The Thunder are 4-1 ATS after a cover, 4-0-1 in road games, as a playoff underdog, and in road games against teams with winning home records, 6-1-1 against teams with winning records, overall, and against Western Conference teams, 33-16 in Tuesday games, 5-2-1 as a road underdog, 23-7 as an underdog of 5-10.5 points, including 22-7 on the road, 2-3-1 as an underdog, and 3-10 against Southwest division teams.

The Spurs are 4-2 ATS as a home favorite of 5-10.5 points, 22-5-1 as a home favorite, 20-5-3 after scoring 100 points, 8-3-1 as a favorite of 5-10.5 points, 4-2 against Northwest Division teams, 39-12-4 overall, 16-6-2 after failing to cover, 4-0 in Tuesday games, 6-3-1 as a playoff favorite, 35-13-4 as a favorite, 25-10-2 against teams with winning records, 34-14-4 after a straight up win, 15-7-2 as a playoff favorite of 5-10.5 points, 5-3 at home against teams with winning road records, 14-7 in Conference final games, and 33-17-2 against Western Conference teams.

You can’t really say this is a must win game for Oklahoma City, as they would only be down 2-0. However, a loss would mean they would have to win 4 of the next 5 games against the Spurs, a difficult task. I think the Thunder rebound and steal a close game 2 before the series shifts North to OKC.

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