By MICHAEL DAY
The San Antonio Spurs were dominated by the Oklahoma City Thunder last night, so it appears a recalibration of the Cicotte Signal Reader is in order, because I was completely wrong about Game 6. For a good laugh, check out what I thought would happen here.
It didn’t take long to figure out that the signals were out of whack, because none of OKC’s star players ever came close to getting into foul trouble. Did Kevin Durant even commit a foul? (Nope, box score says no fouls.) I know one thing, though, he made some really nice string music, 12-24 from the field, 12-12 free-throws for 37 points.
Russell Westbrook was his normal whirlwind self: weaving in and around defenders and making shot after shot. He also made a great defensive play by running the length of the court to steal the ball away from Kawhi Leonard, who was leading the charge for what could have been a crucial basket that would have cut the Thunder lead to under 10 in the fourth quarter.
Billy Donovan seemed to play all the right lineup combinations: the big lineup worked, and I still can’t understand how the Spurs were not able to take advantage of Enes Kanter’s defensive weaknesses. Steven Adams turned in another great performance. He crashed the boards, filled the lane, played good defense, and did all the things a center needs to get done. Their bench players out hustled the Spurs. It was quite a night for the home team.
Ultimately, the second quarter scoring drought doomed the Spurs. It’s hard to overcome only scoring 12 points in a quarter; especially, when the other team puts up 30. The halftime score was 55-31. Did anyone else notice the strange lineups that Coach Pop put out there in the first half? Why was Kyle Anderson getting quality minutes? The lineup featuring Kyle Anderson, Kevin Martin, and Boban Marjanovic doesn’t seem like an option a coach would let take the floor on purpose. Was Pop just fooling around? Did he get into “I am Rick James” mode where he thought he could put anyone out there?
The Spurs actually put a nice run together in the fourth quarter. However, they never could get the lead under 10 points. One play in particular stands out: Tim Duncan, one of the best power forwards to ever play in the NBA, took a couple of hits to the face while executing a layup but failed to draw a whistle. Perhaps, the Cicotte Signals were there, but they were for the other team, the Thunder. (The Thunder did attempt 31 free-throws to 16 for the Spurs, which is practically the prerequisite 2-1 ratio…hmm…)
Anyway, Congratulations to the Thunder. Their athleticism and size was more than a match for the Spurs this series. Now, they move on to playing the Golden State Warriors, a team that will have a few more offensive players to defend. I can’t wait to watch this series.