If the San Antonio Spurs are going to play like they did last night, we might as well just call off the rest of the NBA playoffs right now. Even without a big offensive night from Tim Duncan, San Antonio shot 55 percent, buried 11 treys, built up a 16-point lead after three quarters and then turned back an Oklahoma City push to capture Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals by a 120-111 count.
Tony Parker was the star of the night with 34 points on a sizzling 16-for-21 shooting, but what’s really turning the Spurs up a notch is that Manu Ginobli is hitting his shot. With 26 points last night, the veteran shooting guard has gone 20-plus in each of the first two games of this series and he’s doing it with efficiency, hitting a little better than 50 percent from the floor.
And then we come to San Antonio’s depth—not necessarily bench players per se, but the fact someone outside the core players always seems to step up. Last night that would be Kawhi Leonard, who scored 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds.
From Oklahoma City’s perspective, the obvious corollary to all this would be the night to tighten up on the defensive end when they return home for Game 3 on Thursday. Their own lack of offensive depth showed again last night. Even in a game where they scored 111 points, they still needed Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden to produce 88 of them. There’s not a lot they’re going to do to fix that at this point in the season, but they do need to rebound the ball better. I have to pick on Kendrick Perkins for his lack of rebounding. I’m one of the Celtics fans who loved Perk when he was in the Garden and was devastated to see him go last year, so my focus in him is anything but personal. I am just completely mystified as his lack of rebounding. It’s not as though OkC is getting beaten on the boards—last night was basically a wash, but this is an area where they can get an edge if Perkins starts grabbing 10-12 a game.
The West was supposed to be the series that was exciting and it may still get there. We’ll see if Oklahoma City answers with their own coming two home games. The East finals resume tonight with Miami-Boston, as we look for reasons to think the Celtics can make a series of this. I do think Boston’s going to make a game of it tonight, with better defense. Whether they win it depends on if they can get any shooting from Ray Allen and/or Paul Pierce. And whether they win this game will tell us if we’ll get an interesting series.