Despite being blown out by 32 points in the first game of the Western Conference semi-finals, the Oklahoma City Thunder are far from team that’s dead and buried.
The 134-92 blowout marked the largest losing margin of the season for the Thunder however fans shouldn’t expect OKC to replicate this performance any time soon.
Kevin Durant and co will be hoping to improve on what was a poor defensive performance, allowing the Spurs to score 73 points inside the first half, a mere ten points off a playoff record set in 2003 by the Mavericks.
Very few expected the Spurs to came out shooting as well as they did. They equalled a franchise record for points scored in a quarter with 43 and finished the game shooting an outstanding 61% from the field.
In fact, the game was so bad for the Thunder that Russell Westbrook missed as many shots as the entire Spurs starting five.
Parker, Green, Leonard, Duncan and Aldridge combined to shoot 39 from 53 while Westbrook opted to continue shooting despite knocking down only five of 19 shots.
But these are ultimately reasons for the Thunder and their fans to be optimistic for game two.
Billy Donovan’s team simply has too much talent to simply roll over and die the way the Clippers did. At least they had a reason (read: Chris Paul and Blake Griffin injuries).
Not only did Russell Westbrook tie Magic Johnson for an NBA record 18 triple-double for the season, but Kevin Durant finished third in scoring behind only Steph Curry and James Harden.
And while he’s a liability on the defensive end of the court, Enes Kanter, who was unfortunate not to win Sixth Man of the Year (aka The Jamal Crawford Award), is still a pivotal offensive player.
The average age of the Spurs roster is 31 years old and naturally they aren’t going to push the tempo with their old legs.
Both Andre Miller and Tim Duncan recently turned 40 and unsurprisingly the Spurs are 24th in the league for pace.
So for the Spurs to score 43 points in the first quarter, 73 points in the first half and 134 points in the entire game, most fans and analysts agree that it certainly is an anomaly.
And with the talent on the OKC roster, there’s no reason why they can’t turn the series around.
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