The San Antonio Spurs were humiliated in a game four routing that’s final score didn’t do the Thunder justice in the true destruction that they caused. It cannot be understated how well Russell Westbrook played, and it cannot be understated how much of an impact Serge Ibaka has made in this series. But I am going to try to do exactly that- welcome to the Under Reaction column.
Reason Why Spurs Fans Shouldn’t Panic #1- Gregg Popovich is our Head Coach
It is unquestionable that the coaching matchup in this series is not even close. Scott Brooks is a mediocre head coach. His offensive scheme is "Just create your own shots" and thrives on the backs of two of the most talented players in the league. Gregg Popovich has proven year after year that his offensive system can allow any player to thrive. If anybody can figure out an adjustment that nobody else could have seen, it is Pop.
Reason Why Spurs Fans Shouldn’t Panic #2- The Veteran Leadership can put a Bad Game Behind Them
Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili have played too many playoff games to buy into the "emotional momentum" or that the athletic disadvantage is too large. Those three guys know that the playoffs are played on a game-by-game basis. If that wasn’t true, then the Thunder wouldn’t have bounced back from a 35 points loss in game two. Between the big three and Pop, you have to have faith that this team can rally.
Reason Why Spurs Fans Shouldn’t Panic #3- Russell Westbrook Will Not Put Up 40, 10, 5 Again
It has been a series filled with outlier performances, but none was more of an outlier performance than Westbrook’s game four outing. He ripped apart our defense, and he was extremely efficient, scoring his 40 points on just 24 shots. That was Westbrook’s first 40 point game all season long. His second highest game was 38 points against the Clippers which he followed up with 19 points on 4 of 15 shooting.
Reason Why Spurs Fans Shouldn’t Panic #4- Serge Ibaka Cannot Play this well the ENTIRE Series
When Ibaka came back for game three, I was surprised. I was even more surprised when he looked completely dominate all game. The surprise continued to grow when he made such an impact again in game four. The Spurs just despise the threat of Serge down low. The entire team is more tentative when going to the basket. I just cannot accept the fact that he will be this dominate for three more games. There has to be a breach the Spurs can make between now and the end of the series, even if it is just one game. Whether the strategy is to get him in foul trouble, or just play small ball and force him closer to the perimeter. There has to be something that they can do.
Reason Why Spurs Fans Shouldn’t Panic #5- The Starters Can’t Play Much Worse
Let’s be honest here- in game four, the starters looked worse than the bench players. The plus/minus for the five starters were as followed: -14, -20, -13, -18 and -8. That is embarrassingly bad, especially for the Spurs. Tony Parker hasn’t look like himself for the past two games, Kawhi Leonard looks like he forgot how to play on offense, Tiago Splitter looks slow and useless, etc. The bench showed up and appeared to set the tone for the rest of the series and the rest of the players. The starters need to fuel themselves tonight and find the passion and drive that has brought them so much success.