‘Nobody played well’ in Thunder’s Game 2 loss to Spurs
Oklahoma City Thunder's Kevin Durant (35), Reggie Jackson (15) and Caron Butler (2) walk onto the court following a timeout during the second half of Game 2 of the Western Conference finals NBA basketball playoff series against the San Antonio Spurs, Wednesday, May 21, 2014, in San Antonio.
Well, the Thunder rallied in 2012 against the Spurs in the Western Conference Finals.
It’s about the only thing the Thunder can feel good about after two games, two losses and two embarrassing 2014 playoff performances in San Antonio.
It’s a battle cry that has merit and one that resonates with a lot of people around these parts, and probably with the Thunder’s star players and coaching staff, too.
Now all the Thunder have to do is bring the battle, because after just shy of 100 minutes of basketball, OKC hasn’t done much more than just show up. Wednesday it was a 112-77 loss. Monday, it was a 122-105 loss.
Don’t think either defeat was about not having forward Serge Ibaka. No, this about not having any desire, and way more importantly, not having the two players who got the Thunder past the Grizzlies and then the Clippers in the playoffs this season.
Undoubtedly, the Thunder certainly need, and definitely have missed, Ibaka, who is out for the playoffs with a calf injury, but they need and miss Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook more.
"Nobody played well," coach Scott Brooks said. True. True, but when the Thunder win, it’s usually because one of the two Thunder All-Stars has made it so. When the Thunder lose, it’s almost always because one of the two has also made it so.
Now, for the second game in a row, the two haven’t asserted themselves when it started and haven’t even been in the game when it ended.
Westbrook and Durant sat out the entire fourth quarter Wednesday and the two combined for 13-of-40 shooting. The Spurs pulled away midway through the third quarter in Monday’s Game 1 and Westbrook and Durant combined for just seven fourth-quarter points. The result was a runaway loss.
Wednesday, it was worse and it was over well before that. Westbrook started 2-of-11 and wound up 7-of-24. Durant sat for a long period of the second quarter, never looked engaged, and finished 6-of-16. So good at creating on their own and so prolific at getting to the line, neither managed either Wednesday.
Westbrook shot no free throws. Durant was three-of-five. Westbrook yelled at Durant at one point in the second quarter. Durant waved him off.
Now the Thunder get to wait until Sunday to see if they figure out a way to rally in a series that isn’t over, but sure seems like it.
The Thunder shot 2-of-20 from the 3-point line Wednesday. The Spursnow have scored 120 points in the paint. Thunder starters Thabo Sefolosha, Kendrick Perkins and Nick Collison have combined for nine points in two games.
Meanwhile, the Thunder’s All-Stars had only 30 combined points and were outscored by two journeymen in Boris Diaw and Danny Green. Green made seven 3-pointers. The Thunder made five free throws.
There’s no Ibaka waiting back in OKC ready to play. There’s no James Harden ready to give the Thunder a scoring boost.
There is the luxury of, "Remember When," and the good-ole days of 2012 and knowing this team has Durant and has Westbrook, despite the fact neither have had a good game yet.
"We feel we’re much better than we played tonight," coach Scott Brooks said to reporters after the game. "We will continue to figure things out and come back and play much better basketball game. We’ve been in this position before."
But the bad news is, so have the Spurs. They remember, too.