PostGame; NBA Playoffs 2012 Round 3; OKC at SAN Game 1

The way I see it, this guy is SAN.

And Uma is OKC.

Get the picture?

No?

Ok then here are two more to drive home my point. (Get it? ‘Drive’?)

4:08 to go in the 4th, SAN only ahead by 4, 80-84. SAN has possession, so there is no better time than now to pull ahead. OKC knows that, so defense is set to extreme. What does SAN do? TD and Manu pick and roll, Manu pulls left after the pick, TD drives, more like shuffles towards the basket, then a miraculous blink and you’ll miss it left handed bounce pass later and TD’s laying up his long body for the twin.

Still not convinced?

TD and Manu pick and roll again, this time 1:57 left 84-91 with SAN ahead, but still lots of time. Jackson is at the corner waiting, after the TD pick Manu drives hard and for a split second ball fakes to Jackson, getting KD out of the way for an oh – so – easy twin to bury OKC by 9.

Ok I admit that last play wasn’t really a play but rather a very smart individual move, but I just had to put it in there to show, at the very least, what happens to the defense when it meets such great offense. Having been the recipient of such a variety of moves, OKC just didn’t know what to expect anymore, and couldn’t stop a relatively easy dribble penetration.

BUT, and here’s the thing, I’m certainly not going to count OKC out. I can think of a few reasons.

Stephen Jackson – Stephen Jackson is Robert Horry-ish in the sense that winning teams need a guy like this who can shoot 3s and remain a calming presence on the court, although I admit the words ‘calm’ and ‘Stephen Jackson’ do not mix. At any rate, he played 23m, but only scored 5 and in the 4th. I don’t know if you can keep a guy hanging around that long without producing points. Incidentally I feel the same way about Shane Battier with the Heat. They destroyed IND alright, but I was watching his stat line and hoping he could at least get a jumper in (which he did, but only just). If you don’t score or at least appear to be a threat, you’re gonna have to produce monster numbers in the other things (rebounds, steals, whatever), otherwise it’s gonna be hard to justify your presence down the stretch.

James Harden – He had a bad night today, which he will shrug off for sure. We will see better numbers from the beard. And yes I wonder how hot playing with his beard feels like. It makes me itch just thinking about it.

All minor things really. The big question is how will OKC adjust or if they can adjust to handle SAN. The issue is with their defense, not offense. Will they rotate big guys to deal with TD? How will they tighten defense on SAN’s guards? Why isn’t Westbrook and Sefalosha enough? If Harden improves, and sure he will, will it be enough?

Looking forward to finding out on Game 2.

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