by Peter Walsh / @goinginsquad
Wouldn’t it be great if the Spurs and Thunder played each other at least once a week?
The two teams matchup perfectly:
Parker vs. Westbrook
Leonard vs. Durant
Duncan vs. Ibaka / Perkins
It’s really a joy to watch and last night’s game proved to be another chapter in what’s becoming one of the better rivalries in the NBA. OKC got off to a quick start, using their speed and high volume scoring ability to jump out to an early lead against their hosts. With the San Antonio playing the second night of a back-to-back, it looked like it might have been a rout early on. But Coach Pop quickly got his guys in order and the Spurs responded, eventually tying the score and ensuring NBA fans watching at home that the one game of the night wouldn’t be a dud.
Over the next three quarters, the two teams traded blows with neither relenting and counter-punching with authority until an epic finish.
First Tim Duncan blocked a Kevin Durant dunk attempt:
Then Russ Westbrook hit TP with a quick spin and score:
Later on, Westbrook found his running mate for the nice alley-oop:
Then Duncan showed some spring in those 36-year old, well traveled legs and dunked on Serge Ibaka:
At the end of the third with the Thunder down 66-63, Eric Maynor nailed a 66-foot jumper to set the stage for a great fourth quarter:
After battling back and forth during the final quarter of play, Tony Parker took over and iced the game for the Spurs. Parker first hit a three-pointer that tied the game at 84 and on the next possession, TP caught Westbrook slippin’ and nailed an open shot from the wing for the win:
This season is gonna be fun, folks.
— Westbrook finished with 18 points on 6-21 shooting, 5 assists and 6 turnovers. He also made a terrible play on the last possession that freed up Parker for the game-winning shot. Westbrook is always going to catch flack for not being a “pure point guard” but he’s too gifted not to have the ball in his hands. My suggestion (for what it’s worth): Give Maynor starter’s minutes at the point and play Westbrook off the ball and allow him more of a slasher role.
— Durant led the way with 23 points, 14 boards and 5 assists.
— James Harden’s opening night stat line: 37 points, 12 assists, 6 boards 4 steals. Kevin Martin’s: 15 points, 5 assists, 2 rebounds. Jeremy Lamb’s: DNP.
— The most telling stat of the game: San Antonio’s 27 assists on 35 field goals.
— Over the first two games, Tim Duncan has turned back the clock and put together two masterful –performances. It will be interesting to see whether or not he can keep it up, though Pop will probably start to cut his minutes to preserve him for the Playoffs.
— When it’s all said and done, the Kawhi Leonard / Kevin Durant matchup may go down as one of the best ever. As the two continue to play each other and figure the other out, games will become more like a chess match with each trying to stay one move ahead of the other.
— Saw a lot of people on Twitter commenting on the Spurs new unis. I am not a fan.