This series really showed the simple value of shot-making. Both teams made smart adjustments. Both teams had advantages they could leverage. Both teams executed their game plan. Both teams competed hard. One team just converted more shots. It’s sounds outrageously obvious, but it’s true. The Spurs actually took 12 more shots over the course of the game, but the Thunder shot them better. The improved passing that the Thunder have showed in the last four games led to more open shots, and hen they couldn’t get open shots, Durant had the flow flowin’ and hit some covered shots.
My favorite part of this game was after the horn blew. Tim Duncan sought out Kevin Durant and Kendrick Perkins and all the Spurs followed suit and shook hands with the Thunder. They showed professionalism and a genuine sportsmanship that is a cool part of the game. We understand these are highly competitive athletes giving their all to beat each other, but it’s important to pass the torch with class when you give your best effort and the other team beats you fair and square.
In a post-game interview coach Popavich made an interesting point: In this playoff run the Thunder have defeated the Mavericks (champs 2011), the Lakers (champs 2009-10), and the Spurs (champs 2007). If the meet the Celtics (champs 2008) in the Finals and beat them too, they will have defeated the last 5 championship team all in one playoff title run. Granted these teams are all significantly different than they were when they won their rings, but that’s still a serious accomplishment.
Stat-note: Only 8 players for the Thunder ever played more than 10 minutes in any game of this Western Conference Finals: Durant, Ibaka, Perkins, Sefalosha, Westbrook, Harden, Collison, and Fisher. Pundits like to say that the advantage of bench depth is minimized in the playoffs when the top 8 is able to play more minutes, and that was definitely true for Scottie Brooks’ team in this series.