By John Harris |@JHBasketball
Parker leads San Antonio to disciplined win over OKC:
The story of the game was different, the result was the same. This time it was the Spurs who pushed the tempo, taking big leads and leaving the Oklahoma City Thunder lost for answers. OKC made a run in the 4th quarter to scare the home fans but it was snuffed out and the Spurs will go on to Oklahoma full of confidence in this series. Tim Duncan had a quiet night with 11pts and 12rbs (also 4 blocks) but Tony Parker stole the show again. The French star finished with 34pts on 16-21 shooting, including a trey from the corner (off a nice behind-the-back dish from Ginobili) to push the lead to 20 in the 3rd quarter.
“You never go out and say, ‘We’re going to start out fast’. You don’t know what is going to happen. You just want your team to be aggressive. Good teams are aggressive, and it is, it’s a matter of making shots or not making shots.”
- Gregg Popovich
This game really highlighted OKC’s need for some extra scoring punch. When they get into an offensive dogfight, they can only rely on Durant, Westbrook and Harden to get buckets. Those three combined for 88pts in Game 2 but the Thunder got precious little from anyone else. Derek Fisher was a bright spot with 10pts off the bench and was +9 overall but can’t consistently produce at that level.
OKC will definitely be concerned for the outcome of this series. They shot fairly well in this one (42% FG, 47% from deep and 80% from the stripe) but still couldn’t deal with San Antonio’s quick passing and movement on offense (55% from the field). Game 3 is Thursday in Oklahoma City.
Clippers pick-up option on Del Negro, will coach next season:
The Los Angeles Clippers announced yesterday that much-maligned Head Coach Vinny Del Negro will be back on the bench next season, his third with the team. Del Negro led the team to a 40-26 regular-season record and the highest single-season winning percentage in franchise history. It looked increasingly-like his position was under threat following a bad stretch in March, but Del Negro turned the team around for the playoffs where they beat the Memphis Grizzlies in 7 games (and overcame a 27pt deficit in one game) before being swept by the San Antonio Spurs (no shame).
Del Negro has become known for his bizarre coaching decisions at times, but if he can get stars like Chris Paul and Blake Griffin to play hard for him, the Clippers should have a positive future ahead.
Struggling Boston guard Ray Allen may sit for Game 2 against Miami:
Boston Head Coach Doc Rivers admitted that he and his coaching staff have considered shutting down ailing two-guard Ray Allen for a game to enable him to rest bone-spurs in his ankle. Allen — the NBA’s all-time leader in threes made — has endured a tough season. He was moved to the bench late in the season to allow breakout defensive star Avery Bradley to take starting duties and the Celtics saw an upturn in results and a strong finish to the season.
Bradley went down with a shoulder injury and Allen has been shifted back into the starting line-up, a move that has hurt Boston on both ends of the floor as Allen’s famous shot has suffered (due to his injury) and he is unable to defend the guard position on the other side of the ball. Allen’s current post-season stats are down in every category and he is shooting way below his career average on both threes and free throws, both his bread-and-butter shots.
Will OKC stop the Spur tide, can SA sweep again? Should the Clippers have looked elsewhere to move ahead next season? What should Boston do with Ray Allen? Let us know below!
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