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NBA, Smack / Jun 1, 2012 / 12:19 am

Thundering Heard Finally On The Plains; Thabo Sefolosha Takes Over

Serge Ibaka

Serge Ibaka, Dime #58

Manu Ginobili just kept rubbing his temples, not even looking ahead at the court. Tony Parker and Tim Duncan looked stonefaced, like they were at an opera. In the background, slightly out of focus, the blue T-shirts had coalesced into one dancing, delirious mob. The scene was the fourth quarter and if you haven’t already picked up the hint, nearly the entire quarter was garbage time because of how big the Oklahoma City lead had grown and the Spurs’ stars had to watch it. If you’re a San Antonio fan, it was indeed a tragedy being staged in Oklahoma City on Thursday in the Thunder’s Game 3 win. The series is now 2-1 Spurs and for the first time in 21 games, the mighty Spurs have lost a game — something like 50 days since their last L. It just wasn’t a usual Spurs game, with only four players in double figures, with one being Dejuan Blair, whose 10 points were all in the last nine minutes already down 20-plus. Credit is due more to OKC than anything. Scott Brooks sicced Thabo Sefolosha on Parker (16 points, 5 turnovers, 4 dimes) and Ginobili (8 points) all game, freeing up Russell Westbrook on offense. Not so much in the typical Russ fashion of scoring (he had just 10 points) but by letting him penetrate and kick (9 assists) or keep plays alive (7 boards). … By the way, did we miss why Blair is in the doghouse? He went from another reason to praise GM R.C. Buford for incredible drafting to a figment of Popovich’s imagination. … Key to this one was the role reversal going on with a changed strategy by Scott Brooks on offense. OKC took a memo from San Antonio and used the extra pass to penetrate with huge results — 44 points in the paint, 20 more than the visitors. Although one of the prettiest extra passes of the night came from Boris Diaw to Kawhi Leonard — the only bucket between the two all night, another huge break for OKC — in the key, the Thunder used their sudden composure playing in front of the home crowd to pull back on plays and not turn the ball over. They only had seven errors like that all game, while the SAS had 21. … What was up with Kendrick Perkins (4 points, 8 boards) staring down Marv Albert and Steve Kerr before the game? We know Chuck called out Perkins for playing like a ghost after Game 2 (and you really have to try to do so when you’re only a factor on one end) but uh, come on Perk. We know you have a strict policy of not looking like you’re enjoying yourself earning millions to hoop, but no need to stare down TV dudes. …
Hit the jump to read about the player who was all over the court.

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