The Spurs Show Why They’re The Best In The West; Stephen Curry Destroys New York Again

By: 03.12.13
Tiago Splitter

On the first day of the year AB (After Brandon), you couldn’t go 15 minutes without running into someone cracking a joke about the Dunk Heard ‘Round The World. We did our part, putting together 10 of the greatest facials in NBA history. But at some point, we had to stop talking about it because it was in danger of overshadowing what should’ve been one of the best games of the year: OKC and San Antonio … It’s one of basketball’s most overused cliches, but it fit San Antonio’s 105-93 destruction of OKC perfectly: the Spurs were the old men at the Y, doing all of the fundamentals, sharing the ball, never wasting any energy, and making a bunch of forgettable, yet effective, buckets. The Thunder were like a couple of teenagers putting together a pickup All-Star team, everyone trying to play one-on-one, no cohesion at all, defensive breakdowns, a point guard playing like he just had a dinner involving Sour Patch Kids, maple syrup and a Strawberries & Crème Frappuccino from Starbucks … OKC jumped out by 13 almost immediately, getting huge bursts to start from Russell Westbrook (11-for-27, 25 points) and Serge Ibaka (he had eight points and eight boards in the first 10 minutes). They dominated the glass, grabbing 12 of the game’s first 14 boards, causing Sean Elliott, always one for hyperbole, to say, “I’ve never seen a start like this.” But a 26-8 run flipped the script in the second quarter, as San Antonio and Kawhi Leonard (11 first half points) turned the Thunder into a lottery team. OKC stepped up the energy in the third quarter, and probably would’ve retaken the lead rather quickly had it not been for Danny Green (16 points) and Tiago Splitter (21 points, 10 boards). Splitter, in particular, was pulling out all kinds of shots: mini skyhooks, jump shots, dunks. He’s a weird player in that we’re not entirely sure how good he is. If he was in another system, we could see him averaging 15 and 10, but we could also see him slowly drift towards Rasho Nesterovic status. Also, there was this: twice in the third quarter, the Thunder made runs to cut the deficit to just a one or two-possession game. But immediately after both timeouts, San Antonio exploded to push the lead back to a comfortable distance, and OKC never challenged again … As much as we love Westbrook, it must be said: what was he doing last night? That was one of the most out of control games we’ve ever seen from a point guard. The Thunder had 42 points in the first 16 minutes of this game, then scored 51 over the last 32 minutes. It wasn’t all his fault – his energy level was incredible – but the Spurs capitalized on almost every one of his mistakes … So how long will it be until we see an all-black alternate uniform from OKC? Flip that main sky blue with the black and orange accents on the side. That would be super dope … The 76ers reached deep into Spencer Hawes‘ beard and pulled out one of their most exciting performances of the season, a 106-97 beatdown of Brooklyn. Hawes finished with 24 points, 10 boards and seven dimes, helping to make up for the fact that Jrue Holiday, who came into this one shooting below 27 percent in his last five games, was again pretty ordinary (15 points, 11 assists) … Did Deron Williams (27 points, 13 dimes) take a recent trip to Germany? Out of nowhere, he seems much more springy, bouncy and for the first time all year, he has his quickness back. He finally looks like the old Deron Williams, not the old Deron Williams. After ripping up the chords this weekend in Brooklyn, Williams even brought his crossover to Philly, tossing it about as a reminder to everyone watching that he can still hoop a little bit … Keep reading to hear how Utah reacted to losing their lead in the playoff race …

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