Monday, May 2, 2016

San Antonio/Okla City. Game on?

Maybe. After the Spurs blistered the Thunder by 32 points in the opener of the series, Game 2 was decidedly different.

San Antonio missed one lay-up after another in the early stages along with scads of wide open jump shots. Their offense was executing with its usual precision, but they couldn't finish and put the ball in the damn hole. It must have drove Coach Pop crazy.

On the other side, Russell Westbrook was having a field day against the vaunted Spurs defense. Time and again he'd just drive to the basket for lay-ups of his own. One was left to wonder when San Antonio would make defensive adjustments to keep the speedster from going to the basket unimpeded. They never did. I mean, c'mon, foul the dude -- hard if necessary -- even put him on the floor a few times to make him think twice about charging the basket. Make him pay a price. Do SOMETHING.

To boot, the Thunder seemed to get all the questionable calls from the refs. And even some blatant non-calls went their way.

Despite all that, in the end, the Thunder would escape with only a one point victory. True, it doesn't matter whether it's one point or thirty because a win is a win. Also true is the Okies now have home-court advantage in the series -- at least for now.

With the series now a best 3 out of 5, could the Thunder upset the seemingly preordained apple cart and deny the Spurs their "rightful" place in the Western Conference finals against Golden State? That would be quite the upset indeed. And after all, OKC is going back home for Game 3 with their confidence restored and the fans in their arena will no doubt be at a fever pitch cheering them on.

But there's the rub. SA needs only win one of the next two game in OKC to regain home court advantage. And they likely will. The Spurs travel well and nobody is better at making adjustments than the above-mentioned Gregg Popovich -- far and away the shrewdest coach in the game.

With the Thunder winning Game 2, the series got interesting. Had they gone down 2-zip, the talk might have turned to what team Kevin Durant will play for next year, rather than the Okies having a shot at winning 4 out of 5 against the Alamolanders. Not a chance.

While Game 3 in OKC will no doubt be a rock-em sock-em affair, even if the Thunder goes up 2-1 yours truly suspects the Spurs will still prevail in this series. However, if the Thunder holds serve for both games at home and goes up 3-1, how interesting would THAT get watching SA trying to stave off elimination?

Nah, the Spurs will one of the next two and order will be restored to the NBA universe.

Maybe. But for now, it's definitely game on.

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