“You have to know the Spurs are gonna come out and punch you in the mouth off the bat.” – said by the ever eloquent Charles Barkley at halftime.
Oh boy. So on paper, this series should be a great matchup. The Spurs are favoured, but nobody could have expected what just happened. Sorry Billy Donavan, but that game had an outcome similar to those we see when the Globetrotters play the Generals. It was a college team with a college coach, against a historic professional basketball team. Basketball is a game of runs, but after the first quarter there was no way the Thunder were getting back in it. Here are a few of my thoughts on this game 1 blowout.
- Adams has to guard Duncan, and Ibaka has to guard Aldridge. It’s ideal to have Serge standing underneath the rim to play help defense, but if Aldridge is going to shoot half as well as he did tonight then this series is already over. Serge is the only big man on the roster with the foot speed to run out at him, along with the strength to play him in the post.
- The Spurs are in great hands with their new Big 3 of Aldridge, Leonard, and Green. Those three combined for 58 of the first half 73 points, with Kawhi shooting 8/10 and LaMarcus 12/16. This incredible shooting can’t possibly continue…..can it?
- Number one defensive rule of basketball: don’t foul a jump shooter. What could be worse than that? FOULING A 3 POINT SHOOTER. FOUR TIMES. Figure it out OKC. Nothing else needs to be said here.
- Who guards Kawhi Leonard? The guy is an MVP candidate, and yet there were stretches of Kyle Singler and Randy Foye getting defensive looks at him. These two can bring something on offense, but Kawhi is going to continue shredding them. Durant, Roberson, and unfortunately Waiters, have to be the only ones defending Kawhi.
- Can Cam Payne make a difference in a series where he can receive minutes? Patty Mills is a great backup in the Spurs system, but his height gives Cam Payne a chance at regular backup minutes. He may be a rookie, but early signs show that he can be confident running a backup offense. If he can prove to be reliable by initiating movement in the offense, Donavan might have to consider a small lineup with Cam and Russ at the 1/2.
- Boban Marjanovic will take the crown of most popular player from Stephen Curry. How can you not love the guy? He rebounds without jumping and flips shots in with ease. 4 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists in 8 minutes? The shoe companies must be fighting to make his size 19 signature shoe.