OFFENSIVE FOUL! OFFENSIVE FOUL! OFFENSIVE FOUL!
That is what the San Antonio Spurs were screaming in the final seconds of game 2. Here’s the situation: LaMarcus Aldridge hits 3 free throws in the final 13.5 seconds to decrease the Oklahoma City Thunder lead to 1 point. On the following inbound, Dion Waiters inexplicably elbowed Manu Ginobili. The referees failed to call the foul. Play continues and the Spurs pass the rock to Patty Mills in the corner; who, contested by Steven Adams, misses the 3-pointer. Right away, Aldridge rebounds the ball and gets hacked. Again, foul was not called. Two missed calls in 10 seconds.
This terrible officiating led to the Oklahoma City Thunder escaping the San Antonio Spurs in the AT&T Center by a score of 98-97.
Russell Westbrook: Russell Westbrook set the tone in this game early and often. When the Thunder opened the game strong, it was Westbrook’s penetration and transition play that put the Thunder over the edge. His absence was felt strongly when the Spur’s closed out the third quarter on a 10-2 run while Westbrook was resting. Westbrook’s finished with 29 points, 10 assists, and 7 rebounds. Only 3 rebounds shy of a triple-double. This was an MVP type performance by the MVP candidate.
Steven Adams: Although play should not have resumed on that final Spurs possession, the reality is that it did. As the Thunder staggered to cover the Spur’s players, Adams had the awareness to close out on Spur’s PG Patty Mills. This close out affected Mills’ shot, eliminating the Spurs from the game. Kudos to Adams for keeping his head in the game, even in such a high-pressure situation.
LaMarcus Aldridge: Although they lost, Aldridge played a heck of a game. Without receiving enough touches in the initial part of the 4th quarter, Aldridge still made his 4th quarter impact known by hitting an important 3 off a brilliant pass by Tony Parker with only 25.8 seconds on the clock. He also knocked down 3 clutch free throws with 13.5 ticks left in the game. Aldridge finished with 41 points and 8 rebounds on a perfect 10-10 from the free throw line.
What it means:
For the Thunder: NBA fans are forced to take this team seriously. This assumed to be lopsided series is no longer anything but a battle between two proven powerhouses. Westbrook and Durant combined for 57 points in this game 2 victory.
For the Spurs: Although anger is the only thing on their minds, they must move on. All bad calls even out eventually and the Spurs must understand that they will be redeemed. They will focus on starting out the next game stronger than the previous. It’s exciting to see what Gregg Popovich has in store for us.
With the series tied at 1 game apiece, game 3 will air on TNT this Friday at 8 PM EST. These teams cannot wait to get another crack at each other.