If Scott Brooks hadn’t tried to match the Spurs going small in game one, would Oklahoma City be up 3-1? Perhaps, but we’ll never know. But what everyone saw in game four is what might have happened in game one – Stephen Jackson would have been forced to defend Serge Ibaka (11-for-11, 26 points in game four), and Kevin Durant could have his way with everyone else. (Not that Durant couldn’t have his way with Jackson.)
Then again, Ibaka was just 1-for-3 shooting in game one and 3-for-11 in game two.
I’d say that Ibaka, Kendrick Perkins and Nick Collison are the three most pivotal players tonight. The Spurs are going to let that trio have all the shots they want. Here’s what they did in games one and two on the road:
If that happens again in games five and seven, the Thunder can’t win the series, no matter what Durant, Westbrook and Harden do.
I’ll reluctantly take the Thunder tonight, 102-100, but only because I’m rooting for them.