Court Vision: Playoff lessons as Spurs take 1-0 lead in the series
What we learned and observed from the San Antonio Spurs' 122-105 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals.
Here's what we learned in the NBA Playoffs on Monday, May 19, 2014, as we saw the San Antonio Spurs show the Oklahoma City Thunder what they're in for without Serge Ibaka in the series with a trip to the NBA Finals on the line.
San Antonio Spurs 122, Oklahoma City Thunder 105 | Spurs lead the series 1-0
• We learned that the Thunder are going to put up a hell of a fight in this series. As they deal with life that doesn't involve Serge Ibaka protecting the paint, it's going to take a near perfect effort on both ends of the floor for OKC to take this series. And that's what the Spurs do so well under Gregg Popovich: They make you play a perfect game just in case they do it, too. That's the only way to compete with them when they're clicking like we saw, and the Thunder didn't have that perfect game. They had a good game, but it wasn't enough.
• Tim Duncan helped set the tone early with 21 points in the first half. He looked like he was going through practice drills at times, just setting up good post position and getting buckets. He finished with 27 points and seven rebounds after not grabbing a single board in the first half. Without Ibaka to contest his shot, Duncan was able to abuse Kendrick Perkins and Nick Collison inside. There just wasn't any resistance against him.
• The offensive attack started with Tony Parker, though, as he carved up the Thunder's defense with dribble penetration and perfect navigation of the pick-and-roll. He only scored 14 points but he dished out 12 assists to just one turnover. He lived in the paint during Game 1 and helped the Spurs rack up 66 points there. Every shot created was a great shot, it seemed.
• The Thunder had a great effort from the bench. Derek Fisher went off from 3-point range -- making 4 of 6 beyond the arc -- and scoring 16 points. Reggie Jackson chipped in 13 points and Steven Adams had a nice showing in 17 minutes. Sadly, they needed more from these guys, which is hard to imagine.
• Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook combined for 53 points, but without Ibaka out there, the Thunder need more from their stars. They got good scoring but they needed great. They got good leadership but they needed fewer than 10 combined turnovers from these two. The Spurs contained them while giving them a horrible time on the other end of the floor all night.
• The Spurs had 10 turnovers, the same as Durant and Westbrook combined. And two of those turnovers came from Aron Baynes in seven minutes of action. The lack of turnovers limited the Thunder to just 11 fast-break points. San Antonio's offensive execution and disciplined transition defense kept the Thunder from getting quick strikes throughout the game. Take that away from them and you're keeping them from being an explosive offense.
• Nick Collison and Thabo Sefolosha combined to go 0 for 7 from the field and score zero points.
• Game 2 is Wednesday night at 9 p.m. ET.
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