The San Antonio Spurs took decisive control of the Western Conference Finals on May 21, after a stunning game two victory over Oklahoma City, defeating the Thunder 112-77 at the AT&T Center. The victory puts the Spurs in sole control of the Western Conference Finals, with a commanding 2-0 series lead.
The Spurs’ attack was spearheaded by guard Tony Parker, who recorded 22 points and five assists, and by Danny Green who had 21 points going 7-for-10 from the three-point line.
Green’s dynamic game two was reminiscent of game three of the 2013 NBA Finals, where the guard went 7-of-9 from three point range en route to 27 points.
“He’s come a long way,” said Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich on guard Danny Green. “We cut him a couple times, and other people cut him, and he went to Europe and he went to Russia and he went to the D-League and he went all over the place. But the light went on, and he became a little bit more aggressive so that he could play at the defensive end, also. But I think his confidence grew shooting-wise, and I think that he gets a lot of credit for persevering and ended up where he is now.”
The turning point for the Spurs came in the second quarter, where after trailing 26-24, they proceeded to outscore the Thunder 67-36 over the next two quarters.
Part of San Antonio’s success was rooted in being able to draw fouls, and dictating the pace of the game. The Spurs went 21-for-23 from the free throw line as opposed to the Thunder who went 5-for-10.
The Spurs’ defense also collectively held Oklahoma City’s All-Star duo Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook to go 16-of-40 from the field. Both All-Star’s would end the game with just 15 points each.
“I thought our transition was better in this game than it was in game one,” said Popovich on his team’s defensive display. “And I thought that just in general, defensively we were pretty active. We had active hands and we created some turnovers. I thought our defense was solid tonight, more so than game one.”
The win put the Spurs up 2-0 for the series, drawing comparisons to the team’s 2012 Western Conference Finals effort against the Thunder. In that series, the Spurs went up 2-0 against a young Oklahoma City team, only to lose four straight games and miss out on a trip to the Finals.
“I totally agree with Manu,” said Spurs guard Tony Parker after the game, agreeing with teammate Manu Ginobili’s comments that the Spurs need to be careful after a particular game like this. “That’s why I said nobody was really satisfied after the game. We were like, okay, it’s just a win. We just did our job, and let’s focus on the next one. The next one is going to be the hardest one. That’s all we care about is game three and how can we keep playing well because we know OKC, they play very well at home.”
With their sixth trip to the NBA Finals in sight, the San Antonio Spurs will surely have to buckle down and focus for game three to avoid any repeat of the 2012 Western Conference Finals.
Game three is scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. tipoff at the Chesapeake Energy Arena on May 25.