Remember that 20 game win streak?
Yea, neither do the Spurs. And now, they’re in the midst of one of their longest losing streaks of the season and officially on the brink of elimination. They can thank James Harden and Kevin Durant for that (though I’m not going to be getting in to the Thunder side of things, I’ll leave that up to my cohort John).
But man, does that 20 game win streak seem like a distant memory now that they’re on this three game losing streak. But they have to be able to put this in the rear view and respond in a big way come game six.
Despite another loss though, this game wasn’t all bad for the Spurs. Manu Ginobli woke up and had his best game of the season after having two rough games in Oklahoma City. He scored a ridiculously efficient 34 points, hitting 11/21 shots and five of his 10 attempts from behind the arc. He also chipped in with seven assists and six rebounds. Tim Duncan also managed to have another good game, scoring 18 points on seven of 10 shooting and grabbing 12 rebounds.
That’s where the good ends for the Spurs though.
In what has become an unfortunate trend this series for them, they were once again awful on defense. The Thunder hit 50 percent of their shots, with Durant and Harden lighting them up for a combined 47 points on 16/30 shooting. If the Spurs are going to win this series, they can’t continue to let this happen. It’s the fifth straight game the Spurs have given up 100 points or more and second time they’ve let the Thunder hit at least 50 percent of their shots. They also struggled to defend the arc again, allowing the Thunder to hit eight of their 21 attempts.
Tony Parker’s offensive woes crept up again tonight, too, as he hit just five of his 14 shots and turned the ball over five times (compared to four assists). While he wasn’t decent enough defensively against Westbrook (took part in forcing six turnovers, and forced him in to 24 points on just 9/23 shooting), his offense needs to click more. He’s really the key to their offense, and when he struggles, they simply don’t play as well. That was the case tonight, and it really hurt San Antonio.
While the Spurs have done a good enough job on Russell Westbrook most of this series, they’ve yet to figure out Kevin Durant. And it has killed them all series. It hasn’t mattered who’s been guarding him, because he’s torched everyone. He’s averaging 28.6 points per contest in this series, while hitting a ridiculous 53 percent of his shots. I’m not saying they need to stop him, but they certainly need to find a way to contain him.
On top of all this, the Spurs struggled mightily to hold on to the ball, turning it over 21 times and leading to far too many easy hoops for the opposing Thunder.
Despite all of the turnovers and poor play, the Spurs did have a chance at this game. With just under five seconds to go, Ginobli got a decent look at a three to tie the game, but unfortunately for them, it would be one of his few misses of the night as it rattled off the rim, sealing the win for the Thunder.
This was just an overall poor game for the Spurs. While they shot well enough to win the game, they just made too many offensive mistakes and didn’t really play any defense that was worth noting. These were ultimately the downfall of this team, and they’re now on the brink of elimination because of it.
Spurs Player of the Game: Manu Ginobli
It was his first start of the posteason, and he did all he could to keep the Spurs in this one, but it wasn’t enough. He dominated offensively though, scoring 34 points on an efficient 21 shots. He was also one of the only players hitting the three for the Spurs tonight. Unfortunately for him though, he missed the one that mattered, as his attempt at a game tying three rattled out with just under five seconds left to play.
Game six will be Wednesday night in Oklahoma City. I’ll be covering the Thunder while John will have the Spurs that night.