Jun 2, 2012; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker (9) during the game against the Oklahoma City Thunder during the first half in game four of the Western Conference finals of the 2012 NBA playoffs at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

2012 NBA Western Conference Finals: Spurs Fall After Allowing Late Thunder Surge

 

Final Score:

Oklahoma City Thunder – 109

San Antonio Spurs – 103

Recap:

Fellow writer Mike Owens and I are cooperatively covering this series. Mike covers the home team while I cover the away team.

The San Antonio Spurs played Game 3 at a lower level than they have across the playoffs. The box score does not tell the entire story. Despite the six point loss, the Spurs looked like they were lacking energy at times. Tony Parker looked like he was lacking the necessary aggression to run the Spurs’ offense at an efficient rate. He and Tim Duncan make this offense run with fluidity and when one or the other is off his game, it throws off the entire set.

The Spurs were absolutely flat in the second quarter. Even though the big stories of the game were the Thunder’s Serge Ibaka having a perfect game and Kevin Durant taking over in the fourth quarter, the Spurs lost this game in the second quarter. They were tied with the Thunder after the first quarter and outscored them 60-54 in the second half. The Spurs allowed the Thunder to outscore them by 12 points in the second quarter, a deficit they ultimately were not able to overcome.

Turnovers were a huge key to the Spurs’ disappointing loss. They uncharacteristically lost 10 turnovers, leading to 11 Oklahoma City points. Turnovers do more than just lead to fast break points. They disrupt the flow of the offense, causing players to play timidly, with their previous mistakes fresh on their minds.

The Spurs statistically did not play that bad of a game. They still got some offensive production and connected on 11 three point field goals. They also shot 50% from the field. However, games are not won on the stat sheet and they could not play defense. The Thunder’s All Star point guard Russell Westbrook only had seven points, but the paint was punished by the combined efforts of Serge Ibaka, Kendrick Perkins, and Nick Collison. Collectively, they scored 49 points on 22/25 from the field and 5/6 from the free throw line. Serge Ibaka had a perfect game, scoring a career high 26 points on 11/11 shooting and 4/4 from the free throw line. Getting production from role players feeds energy to the entire team, fuels the home crowd, and most importantly, demoralizes the opponents.

“It was hard because were on a run, we were feeling good about ourselves and we just couldn’t make a stop,” Manu Ginobili of the Spurs said.

Game 5 is a must win situation for the Spurs because the Thunder have momentum and, being a young team, feed on momentum. The Spurs need a bounce back performance to reboot their confidence and regain control of the series. Tune in Monday, June 9, at 9 p.m. to see Game 5.

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