The Thunder will be your 2011-2012 NBA Champions.
After Monday night’s performance in San Antonio – a game in which absolutely no one thought they could win – the Thunder shocked us all. They battled a loud and emotional crowd desperate for a victory, overcame a breathtaking Manu Ginobili performance on a night where it looked like he was shot out of a cannon (34-6-7), endured early foul trouble with Serge Ibaka, handled each and every different look Pop threw at them, and set the tone for the rest of the game by ending the first quarter on a 18-6 run that took the air out of the arena and scared the s— of out fans.
The Thunder beat San Antonio at their own game. On a night where the Spurs said, “We’re going to run all night long and you’re not going to be able to keep up,” Oklahoma City shrugged, said “Okay,” then went to a level the Spurs and maybe no other team in the NBA can match. Pop tinkered with line-ups – putting DeJuan Blair at center, playing four guards at once – but nothing worked. The Thunder were too fast and too athletic.
And don’t tell me you weren’t surprised by this game. Don’t start telling me the Spurs are old and Tim Duncan is old and the Thunder have always been the better team. No. Six days ago, they were being compared to the ’91 Bulls and the ’87 Lakers. Six days ago, we were watching, “The Spurs have now won 20 games in a row. Can anyone beat this team???” on ESPN.
Everyone and their mother picked the Spurs to win game 5, and you know what – I did too, because these are the types of games the Spurs win! Nobody beats San Antonio twice in a row, then comes into the AT&T Center and wins for a third straight time. Gregg Popovich, the master of adjustments, would never allow it. He’d out-scheme you, out-think you, out-coach you, then start fouling your big man who can’t shoot free throws right when he crossed half court. The Spurs don’t lose three games in a row. Especially at home. And especially in the playoffs. In fact, the Spurs didn’t lose three games in a row during the entire 66 game regular season.
But last night they did. And after last night, we now see they lost to a better team.