That’s what I tweeted roughly 30 seconds after Tony Parker drilled a cold-blooded buzzer beater to top the hated Oklahoma City Thunder 86-84 to give the Spurs a super early lead over both LAs and OKC in the West.
Once again, there was no Manu Ginobili. But the Spurs didn’t seem phased by it. Danny Green and Stephen Jackson filled in admirably. Or at least enough to neutralize the Thabo Sefolosha/Kevin Martin duo of OKC.
Of course Duncan was brilliant again. What else do we expect at this point in his career?
But if you’re a Thunder fan, this is your worst fear, right? By trading James Harden, the Thunder basically threw the keys to their team to Russell Westbrook. And Russell Westbrook blew the game. Russ basically said on the final possesion “Aight, I’m going to go for the ball AND NOTHING ELSE.” This, unfortunately, led to a wide-open Tony Parker winning the game.
Oops. Not to mention that the OKC offense looked…. off. Especially with less than 2:00 to go. Inside two minutes, Kevin Durant attempted exactly zero field goals. Here is Russ’s actual play-by-play in the final two minutes. With a few annotations for fairness.
1:40 Russell Westbrook misses 26-foot 3-point jumper
1:25 Russell Westbrook makes 2/2 free throws
0:47 Russell Westbrook misses layup
0:38 Russell Westbrook personal foul (Tony Parker draws foul)
0:28 Tony Parker 3-point jumper (Russ played awful D on this possession)
0:07 Russell Westbrook bad pass (Kawhi Leonard steals) (actually on Durant here, but not a promising box score line)
0:00 Tony Parker hits 2-point jump shot (as mentioned above, Russ did not D up this situation well)
Basically, OKC said with less than a week before the season that they’re fine with changing how their offense is run in the final two minutes of close games. And don’t get me wrong, being able to build on two under-25 guys who are both top-10 players in the league is a luxury that few teams in NBA history have had. But it will not help the Thunder win the title this season. The Thunder were ready with Harden. They were ranked 1B in title contenders with Miami. With Harden, the Thunder don’t lose this type of game. Up three with a minute to go, Harden either gets a bucket or creates points to ice the game. Tonight Scottie Brooks rolled the ball out to Russ in crunch time and it didn’t work.
Big picture time. Right now, the only West team that is completely set on their rotation and their offensive sets at any given moment of a game plays 41 games a year in San Antonio, Texas.
(And I’m not even being a homer with that statement)