Steve Alexander

Basketball Daily Dose

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Dose: Timmy's last stand?

Friday, May 13, 2016


End of an era? Spurs closed out by Thunder in 113-99 loss

 

The Thunder blew out the Spurs for three quarters, let the Spurs get to within 11 points in the fourth quarter, and then put them away to win 113-99 in OKC and take the series 4-2. The Thunder will now face the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals, which should be an epic battle. I had the Warriors beating the Thunder (and winning it all) in the Western Conference Finals, and while I’m not going to change my pick, I will not be shocked if the Thunder meet the Cavs in the Finals.

 

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The Thunder looked younger, faster and better than the Spurs in this one, mostly because they are all of those things. The Spurs looked slow and old, and given the fact they played much of the fourth quarter with two 40-year-olds on the floor (Andre Miller and Tim Duncan), they were.

 

Kevin Durant went off for 37 points, nine boards and a 3-pointer, hitting 12-of-24 shots and 12-of-12 free throws in the win. Russell Westbrook also played well with 28 points, 12 assists, two steals and two 3-pointers on 10-of-21 shooting, but also had six turnovers. Steven Adams hit 6-of-7 shots for 15 points, 11 rebounds, two steals and a block, and Andre Roberson added 14 points, seven rebounds, a steal, two blocks and three 3-pointers. Serge Ibaka was quiet with eight points, but also had 10 rebounds and three blocks, one of which was late against Duncan that sealed the deal.  Enes Kanter was quiet off the bench with seven points, seven boards, a steal and no blocks on 2-of-7 shooting in 21 minutes. He came in playing very well, but Ibaka’s great defense kept Kanter on the bench late in this game. Dion Waiters played just 18 minutes and hit 1-of-5 shots for two points and four assists, and was a non-factor. OKC’s defense was stellar last night and the Spurs had trouble moving the ball and doing what they wanted to do in Game 6.

 

The big question for the Spurs is the future of Duncan. Will he or won’t he retire? Jeff Van Gundy seems to think he’ll be back for another season, while my buddy Jed Jones, a Spurs expert, thinks this was Duncan’s last game. I’m on the fence and I think it’s truly a 50-50 call. Kawhi Leonard led the way with 22 points, nine boards, five dimes, three steals and a 3-pointer in 37 minutes, and Duncan added 19 points, five boards and a block in 34 minutes. LaMarcus Aldridge had 18 points, 14 rebounds and a block, Tony Parker had just six points in 23 minutes, and Danny Green hit a couple threes and had three steals for nine points. David West, Kyle Anderson, Boban Marjanovic, Miller, Patty Mills and Manu Ginobili all chipped in off the bench, but no one scored more than six points.

 

The Spurs went on a 14-3 run in the fourth quarter and cut the OKC lead to 97-84 with five minutes remaining. Danny Green hit a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 12 points and then went to the line after a flagrant foul call on Westbrook. He missed 1-of-2 free throws to cut the Thunder lead to 11 with the score 99-88. That’s where the run ended though, as the Spurs failed to score on two straight possessions that could have cut the lead to nine, with Ibaka blocking a Duncan layup attempt, which Durant then turned into a dunk on the other end. The Thunder led 101-88 after that and the game was essentially over.

 

David West is probably regretting his decision to pass up a ton of money to try to win a ring with the Spurs, and with Parker, Duncan and Ginobili all looking old and slow, we’ve probably seen the last of this version of the Spurs competing at the highest level.  And if this was Duncan’s final game, I’d just like to say thanks for nearly 20 years of excellence and grace.

 

The Cavaliers will now have home-court advantage if they happen to meet the Thunder in the Finals, which would not have been the case against the Spurs. Of course, if the Cavs (or the Raptors/Heat) meet the Warriors in the Finals, GSW will have home court.

 

Going Forward

 

Friday - Raptors @ Heat for Game 6, Toronto leads 3-2 – 8 p.m. on ESPN

 

There are no games scheduled for Saturday, while Sunday would give us Game 7 at Toronto if the Heat win on Friday.

 

Injuries are a big factor for tonight’s game. DeMarre Carroll (Raptors) and Luol Deng (Heat) are both iffy with painful wrist injuries, but it sounds like both will try to play. Hassan Whiteside (Heat) has already been ruled out with his knee injury, which will be his third straight miss. DeMar DeRozan’s (Raps) thumb is sore, but he’s expected to play through it tonight. Heat stars Dwyane Wade and Goran Dragic are both banged up, but should be good to go. 



Steve "Dr. A" Alexander is the senior editor for the NBA for Rotoworld.com and a contributor to NBCSports.com. The 2017-18 NBA season marks (at least) his 16th year of covering fantasy hoops for Rotoworld. Follow him on Twitter - @Docktora.
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