So this game was really bad. Tonight the Thunder dropped Game 1 to the San Antonio Spurs 124-92. There was exactly one good thing about tonight’s game. Serge Ibaka seemed to have found a little bit of an offensive rhythm. He finished as the high scorer for the Thunder with 19 points on 8-15 shooting. He even made 3 of his 6 attempts from beyond the arc. Unfortunately he got absolutely roasted by LaMarcus Aldridge on the defensive end. Aldridge finished with 38 points. He shot 18-23 meaning that he missed fewer shots than Cameron Payne took all game (6).
Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook combined for 30 points - fewer than Aldridge - on 11-34 shooting. That equates to 32.4% shooting from the floor. Those types of numbers are reminiscent of Game 2 against the Mavericks.
The Thunder had just four players score in double digits: Ibaka (19), Durant (16), Westbrook (14), and Waiters (11).
The Thunder had just three players with a positive +/- : Randy Foye (+6), Anthony Morrow (+5), and Nazr Mohammed (+3). None of them played more than 10 minutes. Foye logged exactly 10 minutes. Mohammed played 4 minutes, and Morrow played for 5 minutes.
LaMarcus Aldridge had a career day. Kawhi Leonard did Kawhi Leonard things and finished with 25 points on an unbelievably efficient 10-13 shooting.
A turtle had a better chance of guarding the pick and roll than the Oklahoma City Thunder tonight.
First, we have to fix the pick and roll defense. Tonight it was absolutely atrocious. I have watched a lot of basketball, but never have I seen a team refuse to switch, or fight over a screen like this team. The Thunder half-ass hedge on the screen, but the hedge is never held long enough to make a difference. The slip is always open. If an actual effort is made by the on-ball defender then the pop or roll is always open. The scariest thing about the pick and roll defense tonight is that it is the same scheme and defense we played all season. Billy Donovan has not changed the scheme over 86 games. It is worrisome that he may not change it after the 87th and moving forward. This Spurs team is dangerous and these types of things cannot be overlooked.
Donovan should make a change in philosophy to either switch every screen or fight over every screen. The Thunder has the athletes to switch and effectively guard the pick and roll. The Thunder also has the interior presence to give up the drive off the pick and be able to alter a shot.
The Thunder played really terribly. It was probably the worst game they have played this season. They got absolutelly blown out by a veteran team that is coached by the best coach in the NBA. However, the Thunder still have two guys on the team who go by the names Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. KD and Westbrook will not allow this to happen again and will likely come out hungry and angry in Game 2 on Monday night. The real question that must be answered is whether or not Billy Donovan has the chops to make mid-series changes. He has to address the pick and roll defense at least.
Forever and always, Thunder up!