Forget about who is going to the NBA Finals. The bigger question is “can anyone win a playoff game against the San Antonio Spurs?”
In case you hadn’t looked it up, the last time the Spurs lost a game was on April 11 against the L.A. Lakers. That’s more than a month ago and the team that handed San Antonio’s last defeat is already on vacation. Since that 14-point embarrassment at home, the Spurs have reeled off 20 straight victories — the third-best streak in NBA history — and they’re far from done. They finished the regular season on a 10-game winning streak and so far they’re turning the postseason into a rout and easily the best bet to win the NBA title.
San Antonio is halfway to reaching its goal after going up 2-0 in its best-of-seven series against the second-best team in the West, and the team that was eliminated in the first round a year ago is just six wins shy of completing the first perfect playoff run in the NBA.
The Thunder gave the Spurs their best shot in Game 2 as Kevin Durant (31), James Harden (30) and Russell Westbrook (27) combined to score 88 of Oklahoma City’s 111 points. Normally scoring 111 points should be more than enough to win a playoff game, but the Thunder walked off the AT&T Center court nine-point losers.
“Playing against the Spurs, you take away something you give up something. Today they made a lot of threes,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. “They’re a good team, that’s what makes them a good team. That’s why they’ve won 20 in a row. We just have to figure it out.”
Brooks must feel like the captain of the Costa Concordia. His ship has hit a massive rock and is sinking fast, and there’s not much he can do about it. In Game 1, Manu Ginobili hit the Thunder with 26 points. In Game 2, Tony Parker got loose for 34 points. What makes the Spurs so difficult to figure out is because they play as a team. They’re not the Miami Heat, they’re not the Lakers, they’re not the Thunder. They win with a championship-tested system that involves good ball movement and floor spacing.
In the words of Brooks, “they’re a very, very good basketball team” with the heavy emphasis on “team.”
“That’s what they do. They spread you out, they put some tough decisions on the floor,” Brooks said. “You have to guard their big rolling, you have to protect against their 40 percent 3-point shooters, you have to really handle the ball who looks to attack.”
Brooks added, “They have great experience, they know how to play, they pass the ball extremely well. Very rarely do they take an extra dribble. When a man’s open to pass. It’s good basketball.”
“We’re playing against the best team in basketball.”
Joel Huerto is the editor and publisher of OneManFastBreak.net. Follow him on Twitter @onemanfastbreak.