Spurs' Streak Continues With Game 2 Win Over Thunder

The San Antonio Spurs are still undefeated in the playoffs after racing out to a big lead, then nearly faltering as they hung on for a 120-111 win over the Thunder.

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41 Total Updates since May 29, 2012
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NBA Playoffs: Where Did The Thunder Go Wrong In Tuesday Loss?

It's probably safe to say that Tuesday night's Western Conference Finals game outcome was due more to what the San Antonio Spurs did right than what the Oklahoma City Thunder did wrong. There's a reason the Spurs are undefeated this far into the NBA Playoffs, after all.

The alternative is to look at where the Thunder could do things differently, however, as they try to avoid being swept out of a chance to reach the NBA's championship series. In that case, SB Nation's own Welcome To Loud City has some ideas of what Oklahoma City could have done to change its fortune on Tuesday night.

OKC's only hope was to go into the halftime while still within striking distance and retool their offensive strategy. They HAD to slow the game down, because if they continued to play too fast they were just going to trade baskets with the Spurs at best. Unfortunately, the Spurs came out of halftime and never relented. They hit their first 5 shots of the half, the lead ballooned to 16, and the Thunder ship was about to get capsized.

To their everlasting credit, OKC did not give up, but the ending to this game was similar to the game the two teams played on March 16. When a team falls behind by so much, there are precious few chances to ever turn the tables - one play perhaps, and maybe two if they're lucky.

It'll be interesting to see what approach the Thunder take when they host their first game of the series on Thursday night. It's tough to tell if anything will help, but Scott Brooks and his staff have to keep trying.

For more on the Spurs, be sure to visit Pounding the Rock; for the Thunder, Welcome to Loud City. And for news, analysis and everything else revolving around the NBA Playoffs, be sure to visit SB Nation's NBA page.

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NBA Playoffs: Tony Parker Is Potentially Playing Best Basketball Of His Career

The San Antonio Spurs have yet to lose a game in the 2012 NBA Playoffs, and following Tuesday night's win over the Oklahoma City Thunder, it doesn't seem like a loss is looming at any point in their near future. While the Spurs' current winning streak has been due to a bevy of talented players, the latest player to step up was Tony Parker.

Now that Parker has reasserted himself as one of the top point guards in the NBA once again this season with a near-flawless performance in Game 2, he has a lot of people talking about him. The best story to emerge has come from Yahoo! Sports' Johnny Ludden.

Parker and Popovich will still bark at each other, and they did again Tuesday night after the Thunder clawed back into the game. But on this night, in this season, Parker sits no more. The ball found its way into his hands in the closing moments, and he darted through the Thunder for one final twisting layup.

After all these years, Parker's leading the Spurs just as he always said he could. After all these years, it's his team, his time.

The profile on Parker is one of the best of the NBA Playoffs, really, as it details all of the twists and turns the point guard has gone through in the NBA since coming over from France. It isn't thought of much these days, but at one time it seemed as though Parker was in Gregg Popovich's doghouse -- and Ludden's story brings great details to those days.

It's easy to take these Spurs for granted. Don't.

For more on the Spurs, be sure to visit Pounding the Rock; for the Thunder, Welcome to Loud City. And for news, analysis and everything else revolving around the NBA Playoffs, be sure to visit SB Nation's NBA page.

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Scott Brooks' 'Hack-A-Splitter' Strategy Against Spurs: A Poor Tactic On Every Level

Scott Brooks and the Thunder chose to intentionally foul Tiago Splitter on five straight possessions late in the third quarter. When they started, they trailed the Spurs by 16. When the quarter ended, they trailed by 16. Way to ruin the game for no reason.

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Spurs Vs. Thunder, 2012 NBA Playoffs Game 2: San Antonio Gains 2-0 Series Advantage Over Oklahoma City

The San Antonio Spurs picked up an impressive 120-111 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday night in Game 2 of the 2012 Western Conference Finals. The Thunder gave the Spurs a tough time during the final quarter, eliminating a double-digit deficit, but Tony Parker's 34 points were too much to overcome.

Parker accumulated his points on 16-of-21 shooting, which was part of a great overall scoring night by San Antonio, The Spurs hit on 55.1 percent of their shots. Manu Ginobili was second on the team in scoring with 20 points. Rookie Kawhi Leonard finished with 18 points on 7-of-12 shooting, including 3-of-6 from beyond the arc, and 10 rebounds. Tim Duncan didn't join in on the shooting party -- going just 2-of-11 from the field -- but he came up with four big blocks and 12 rebounds.

For the Thunder, Kevin Durant led the way with 31 points and James Harden followed closely with 30 points, but the Spurs contained Oklahoma City on defense just enough to hold them off. Russell Westbrook finished the game with 27 points, eight assists and seven rebounds.

The Spurs take a 20-game winning streak to Oklahoma City on Thursday for Game 3.

For more on the Spurs, be sure to visit Pounding the Rock; for the Thunder, Welcome to Loud City. And for news, analysis and everything else revolving around the NBA Playoffs, be sure to visit SB Nation's NBA page.

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Serge Ibaka Gives The Ball Some Love

Look, we don't know either.

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This was after Scott Brooks deployed Hack-a-Splitter (didn't work). Maybe it's a sign of desperation. Maybe Ibaka is looking to jinx Tim Duncan. Maybe ... hell, I don't know anymore.

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Thunder Vs. Spurs Score Update: Oklahoma City Attempting To Kill Basketball

The San Antonio Spurs spent the first eight minutes of the third quarter tearing the Oklahoma City Thunder limb from limb. Tony Parker continued to make shots and create easy shots for others while Russell Westbrook continued to get embarrassed defensively. Parker ended the third quarter with 26 points on 12-16 shooting and seven assists, and he didn't even do anything in the last four minutes.

That's because, on six consecutive trips down the floor, the Thunder committed non-shooting fouls on the Spurs. Implementing a Hack-A-Splitter defense was the only answer Scott Brooks had for the Spurs' offense in the third quarter. The Thunder intentionally fouled Tiago Splitter five straight times, and he only made both free throws on one of his trips to the line. He came out for Tim Duncan after the fifth trip to the line and Duncan was fouled behind the three-point arc on the ensuing trip down the floor.

Unfortunately for the Thunder, they haven't scored enough to turn their consistent fouling strategy into anything positive. The Spurs lead 92-76 at the end of the third quarter, and it's going to take something stunning for OKC to make this a contest. San Antonio had 37 points in the third quarter and are now shooting 60 percent from the floor on the night. Kevin Durant has 27 points on 9-14 shooting while Westbrook has 16 points on 7-16 shooting. Among those misses are an airballed three and a missed dunk. This has not been Westbrook's finest performance.

For more on the Spurs, be sure to visit Pounding the Rock; for the Thunder, Welcome to Loud City. And, if you're looking for news, analysis and everything else revolving around the NBA Playoffs, be sure to visit SB Nation's NBA page.

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Spurs Mascot Is Calling It

This will get you 15 yards in the NFL. It'd probably get you T'd up in the NBA. But hey, it's the Spurs mascot, and nobody is going to tech the mascot.

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It's over. No more. This might as well be Scott Brooks screaming "UNCLE."

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Thunder Vs. Spurs Halftime Score: Tony Parker Dominant, San Antonio Leads 55-44

The degree to which Tony Parker is dominating for the San Antonio Spurs against the Oklahoma City Thunder is simply stunning. He has 17 points on 8-11 shooting to go along with five assists, and incredibly, that line isn't completely indicative of how good he's been. San Antonio's passing game and movement has been the story so far, and it's all been facilitated by Parker.

Oklahoma City is trailing by double digits, and they're lucky to be within 11 points. San Antonio leads 55-44 at halftime, but they've been in control of the entire game to a more impressive degree than the score makes it sound. Kevin Durant and James Harden are both scoring in an efficient manner, and they're keeping things from getting out of hand.

Durant and Harden have both been extremely effective, with 14 points each. Westbrook has been a bit less effective offensively with eight points on 3-8 shooting, but that line might be acceptable if his play was passable on the other end. Instead, it's been anything but. Taking nothing away from Parker, who has been brilliant, but Westbrook hasn't done anything on the defensive end to hinder him. His defense, especially on screens, has been abysmal.

Scott Brooks also didn't do his team any favors in the second quarter. Derek Fisher has inexplicably played eight minutes in this game, and the Thunder looked bad for the four minutes that Daequan Cook was on the floor. To the surprise of no one, the Thunder's defense suffered when all of Fisher, Cook and Harden were on the floor. Scott Brooks, ladies and gentlemen.

The highlight of the half came at the very end, when Tim Duncan threw down a nasty jam in the face of Serge Ibaka. Duncan hasn't been great offensively -- he's shooting just 2-7 from the floor -- but one of his two buckets was spectacular enough to leave the impression that he had a great half on the offensive end of the floor.

If Oklahoma City is going to get back into this game, they need to do basically everything better. Westbrook needs to do more on both ends, they need to do something to keep Parker from dominating, they need to pass the ball better, and Brooks needs to put down the crazy pills. It'll take some serious work early in the third quarter to keep this game from getting out of hand. The good news for OKC is that Harden and Durant are hot enough to keep their team in the game.

For more on the Spurs, be sure to visit Pounding the Rock; for the Thunder, Welcome to Loud City. And, if you're looking for news, analysis and everything else revolving around the NBA Playoffs, be sure to visit SB Nation's NBA page.

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Thunder Vs. Spurs Score Update: San Antonio Leads By Six After First Quarter

Kevin Durant and Tony Parker are putting on a show in the first quarter of Game 2 between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the San Antonio Spurs, but it's the home team that currently has the upper hand. Parker's gotten a bit more out of his supporting cast in the first quarter than Durant has, and the Spurs lead 28-22 at the end of the first quarter.

Russell Westbrook spent a good period of the first quarter taking more contested shots than Scott Brooks (or anyone) likes to see. Eventually, Durant started to get more involved in the game and take over the offensive load. Oklahoma City were down by 10 points, but Durant helped to bring them back into the game in the middle of the first quarter. He has 12 points on 5-7 shooting. James Harden made an appearance off the bench late in the quarter and he's been effective as well, with six points in just four minutes on the floor.

Parker currently has 10 points on 5-7 shooting to go along with three assists. He had one particularly impressive alley-oop to Kawhi Leonard and set up Danny Green for a wide-open three on a great drive and kick during another sequence. He's been San Antonio's best player, and arguably the best player on the floor thus far.

For more on the Spurs, be sure to visit Pounding the Rock, for the Thunder, Welcome to Loud City. And, if you're looking for news, analysis and everything else revolving around the NBA Playoffs, be sure to visit SB Nation's NBA page.

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Yes, She Wants Some Nasty

I just ... I don't ... I mean ... well ... fine.

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You heard the woman.

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NBA Playoffs: Is Russell Westbrook More Important To Thunder Than Kevin Durant?

The Oklahoma City Thunder are an immensely talented team boasting three players that have likely all earned themselves max contracts next time they're able to test the market. The most important of those players has come into question, however, as the Thunder attempt to hand the San Antonio Spurs their first loss of the NBA Playoffs.

Kevin Durant is typically the player keyed in on, and James Harden has earned quite a bit of respect on his way to earning Sixth Man of the Year honors. Those following the Western Conference Finals from the Spurs perspective -- especially over at SB Nation's Pounding the Rock -- see point guard Russell Westbrook as the most important piece of the puzzle.

To win a championship, a team needs two types of toughness: physical and mental. The Thunder exhibited both of these characteristics against the Lakers. But just because a team shows toughness, does that mean all parts of the team are tough? Not necessarily. For this reason, I think Russell Westbrook is the key to this series.

The majority of OKC's offense comes from their version of the "Big 3". Kevin Durant is going to get his, no matter how great Jax and Kawhi's defense is. He's that elite of a scorer, but of course it helps to limit his touches. James Harden's got game, but he's the only creator on their 2nd unit, thereby limiting his effectiveness against a good bench (this is when OKC really misses Eric Maynor). However, the Spurs have no answer for Westbrook's athleticism, speed and ability to finish at the rim. So why was he non-existent in the 4th quarter?

It wouldn't seem to be in the best interest of those on the Spurs' side to rattle Westbrook's cage, but we'll hold our judgment until the conclusion of Game 2 to see how the young guard responds.

For more on the Spurs, be sure to visit Pounding the Rock, for the Thunder, Welcome to Loud City. And, if you're looking for news, analysis and everything else revolving around the NBA Playoffs, be sure to visit SB Nation's NBA page.

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