So were you surprised the Oklahoma City Thunder conquered the San Antonio Spurs to advance to the West Finals? Not really. Though we felt the Spurs were the favorites — even to win its 6th title — there were actually 10 signs along the way that said the team won’t make it.
1. Game 2 non calls. After thumping OKC in Game 1, the refs or fate somehow closed its eyes in Game 2 on the last 13.5 seconds.
2. The Spurs were just too dependent on LaMarcus Aldridge in this series. That’s okay if it were at crucial times, but no — the team was just too dependent on LA even when the game has just started — that they lost their ball movement.
This then grew into some ‘psycho’ thing, or phobia that the team became afraid to shoot — starting somewhere in 4th quarters as they just kept passing without the basket in mind.
3. Kawhi Leonard is still offensively raw, or ‘mentally weak’ during critical times. Meaning, he still can’t handle the pressure to will his team to win. It’s like his shots are unstable when more is at stake. He just doesn’t try to attack Durant or Westbrook especially when his jumpers aren’t going in.
4. Game 5 non calls. It may not be as controversial as the Game 2 non call but when the ‘supposed’ foul by Leonard on Westbrook was missed — that’s already too much. It’s 2 games already!?! The refs or the NBA should have already ordered a repeat of the game.
5. Duncan, Green and Mills were just missing in this series. Since the Spurs became too dependent on Aldridge from the start of the series, Duncan has just not been attempting shots when he should at least take 10 to 12 to make OKCs big men work harder — and get them out of the ball game either on foul trouble or fatigue.
Duncan only shot more in Game 6 — like, just to prove he still has it. He should have been more aggressive since Game 1 even if the Spurs were winning by a big margin — if only to maintain his timing and instill some ‘fear’ in OKC.
And just like Duncan, Patty Mills was also absent from the series. He hardly shot the ball. Now, while Green had a good Game 1 and 5 — overall he was misfiring when the team needed it most.
6. The loss of Marco Belinelli was crucial. He’s also one guy who could shoot the lights out which was why the Spurs were ‘unbeatable’ in the past, they always had 2 out of their 3 shooters clicking. And they clicked because 2 of them were often used at the same time during duress — making ‘ball movement’ so effective.
Still, why did the Spurs take in Kevin Martin when they weren’t gonna use him? He’s a scorer who could get in and draw fouls when he’s not making his outside shots.
7. OKCs support players alternated on having good nights, and for Game 6, it was Roberson who shot 3-5 from 3s when he was 0-7 in the series. The Spurs? Ginobili and Mills really lacks attempts — a clear indication of lack of good passing and over dependence on Kawhi and LaMarcus.
8. Failure to maximize Diaw and West. When the second unit is on the floor, this is when they could have used the experience and toughness of West as well as the versatility of Diaw — to score especially ‘from the inside’ since Ginobili and Mills were not really shooting anyway.
9. If OKC were constantly ‘bullying’ through their bigs, why didn’t the Spurs use Boban more against Adams and Kanter? He could have at least made it a little tougher for OKC to get rebounds while posing as an offensive option as well.
10. Durant and Westbrook — too much for Leonard, Green and the Spurs? Not really. The Spurs already did handle athletic types in James and Wade in their clashes with Miami. So, why were the Spurs dominated this time? Read the first 9 reasons, again.