Gregg Popovich pulled the plug on this one early, emptying the bench with 17 minutes of game time left. The Spurs were down 25 when Timmy, the last of the starters to be pulled, went to the bench. The deep bench of Cory Joseph, Marco Belinelli, Boris Diaw, Matt Bonner, Jeff Ayres, and Aron Baynes played much better than the starters, perhaps able to get into their game with nothing to lose, and even against the OKC mainstays they cut the lead to 16 at the end of the third quarter.
Boris Diaw in particular was great for the good guys, scoring nine points in just 2:50 of game time in the third. He finished with 14 points, 10 rebounds, and three assists. Unfortunately, the game was too far gone for the good guys. The C-Team battled hard, and a couple times looked like they were about to cut the lead to single digits, but every time they missed a shot or OKC scored.
It was a frustrating game to watch. The series is all tied up at two, and the Spurs now have to win two of the next three to advance.
Your Spurs fall to 10-6 for the postseason and it still stands at:
Did you consider bringing back the starters?
No, because I didn't see any sense in it.
On going to the bench early.
How did the good start get away from you?
We didn't play smart on a consistent basis. All of a sudden we wanted to see if Serge [Ibaka] could block a shot. I thought about passing a picture out on the bench so they'd know who Serge was. Really unwise basketball all of a sudden. Instead of hitting open people that are out there, we started attacking the rim unwisely. That turns into blocked shots, we had seven turnovers in the first half, but it was really 14 because of the seven blocks. Those are all like turnovers, so that precipitated the 20 to nothing fast break points. You have to play smarter against such great athletes, they're talented obviously, but the athleticism and the length give them a small margin of error and you better be smart in the way you play. You can't afford to screw that up as many times as we did. And I think we have to play harder. I think they're playing more physically than we are, they're getting more 50/50 balls. They played with more determination than we did in these two games.
On Westbrook and Durant defensively
I thought they did a good job. They're great players. That's what they do.
On the miscommunication with Duncan.
I don't know what you're talking about. [Clarifying] I don't have any idea what you are talking about.
If he was happy with how they competed.
I just said I was disappointed in our physicality.
He's a great player.
Pressed on why Westbrook was effective
You'd have to ask him why.
On Jeremy Lamb and adjustements
This has nothing to do with adjustments, it's about playing smarter and harder for more consistent minutes.