The Oklahoma City Thunder have gained access to the West Conference finals, against every forecast, by beating the San Antonio Spurs for 4 to 2. The Spurs were, undoubtedly, favorites, because of their game’s quality, which allowed them to have the second best record in the league (W-L: 67-15).
In effect, in game 1, in Texas, there was no match: the Spurs have dominated, by remaining throughout the game about 30 points ahead, with Thunder completely disoriented both offensively and defensively. 124-92 the first result. Top scorer: L. Aldridge with 38 points!After this bad defeat, OKC has completely changed face, winning a hard-fought second game (although probably helped by some erroneous arbitration choices) and taking the series tied. Moving to Oklahoma, there were two more games, very balanced, with a win for each the team.
The turning point of the series has been the game 5 at San Antonio. The Thunder won thanks to a strong performance, especially in defense, and went ahead by 3 to 2 in the series; then defeated the Spurs in game 6, limiting them to 31 points in the first half!
In this series has won a very physical game, based on individuality, against a more organized game, based on passes and cuts. Against OKC, was a clear lack of physicality for the Spurs than their rivals. The Thunder, for their part, have made up for the technical and tactical gap thanks to their desire to win. In fact, they have limited San Antonio’s offensive game, thanks to a great defensive intensity.
Offensively, Durant and Westbrook played really good games, guiding the team to the win; but it was vital the contribution of all the other players. In fact one of the keys of the series was the choice of Billy Donovan (OKC coach) to field for several minutes Enes Kanter and Steven Adams simultaneously on court: with them in the field, the Thunder have won 40% of offensive and 85% of defensive rebounds.
Now, Oklahoma, will face the Golden State Warriors, in the Western-Conference finals, starting to be disadvantaged yet. The Warriors are, in fact, a very different team from San Antonio, because their game is based on very high rhythms and on the offensive transition; they have a good team defensively too! Despite this, the series will probably be hard-fought, and the Thunder, with the right tactical choices, may cause hard problems to Golden State, with their physicality and the talent of their dynamic-duo: Westbrook-Durant.
Here are some statistics to highlight the difference of the two teams in the series (these are of the last 5 games, because the blowout of the Spurs in Game 1, influences too much the statistics that relate to the entire series).
|FG%||3P%||FT%||REB (pg)||AST (pg)||TO (pg)||STL (pg)||BLK (pg)|