To the casual hoops fan, this 2012 NBA Western Conference Finals series has been turned on its head. They must be stunned to see the San Antonio Spurs (yes, the old stodgy, fundamental, boring Spurs) not only hang with the young, athletic, up-tempo Oklahoma City Thunder, but beat them at that game.
Even the Thunder experts at Welcome to Loud City have thrown in the towel and are waiving the Yellow Flag:
Spurs 120, Thunder 111: Spurs Control Pace, Take 2-0 Lead (2012 Western Conference Finals Game 2 Recap) - Welcome to Loud City
The Spurs play Spurs basketball better than the Thunder play Spurs basketball. This might be a self-evident tautology, but I think it was the deciding factor in (Tuesday night's) game which was not as close as the score indicated.
[...] If Tony Parker is the man that makes the machine go, the word 'fast pace' is what it reads on the Spurs' speedometer.
Making things even more bizarro, to counter the Spurs speed the Thunder pulled out an old Spurs trick: Hack-a-Whoever Can't Make Free Throws. It kind of worked, too.
Pounding the Rock was at the game and recorded the Spurs' reactions to this ploy.
-- "I've never done that before. I think it's a really lousy thing to do. It's unsportsmanlike," a smiling Popovich said at the podium. "It was a good move. I might have done it. "They felt there was a reason to do it. So it's a good move."As for the foul-fest on Splitter, Parker said it did seem to have some effectiveness.
-- "That's the reason you do it ... to kill the rhythm," Tony Parker said. "I think it got us out of our rhythm and got OKC back in the game."
Hopefully, for the fans of basketball everywhere, the Thunder can make this enough of a series that they don't have to resort to such tactics. It may be smart and effective, but it sure is boring.
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