[Editor's Note: On Tuesday night, as the Spurs were struggling to get past an undermanned Thunder team, the San Antonio area was hit by a serious storm. It was so extreme that it provoked an unrestrained torrent of puns in this rehash. You have been warned. -jrw]
On a night of meteorological significance, plain ol’ logic eventually prevailed…though just barely. Without their trio of stars Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and Serge Ibaka, the Spurs should've barely broken a drizzle of sweat against the Thunder's supporting cast.
But with chunks of ice falling from the San Antonio sky outside of the AT&T Center, the Spurs did their best to match it on the court. It seemed that Zeus himself was presiding over the game as one thunderbolt after another fell on San Antonio, putting the Spurs down by as many as 18 points. The fact that Spurs faced their largest deficit of the season against this squad might have had fans wanting a rain-check for the first half, but the Thunder's next-men-up were impressive. Bigs Enes Kanter and Steven Adams absolutely destroyed the Spurs on the glass.
Now before we get any further into this game or any deeper into a bad-pun-athon, let's take a brief rain delay to re-examine the Spurs dance gif that is the best thing since Spuran Spuran (almost exactly a year ago).
San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) April 12, 2016
If that doesn't confirm just how important Boris Diaw is to the performance of this team, you and I don't understand the world the same way. I have watched this no less than 150 times and I find something new every time. Please dissect the finer points, and offer analysis in the comments.
The Thunder started off making it rain from behind the arc, dropping five of their first eight. Thankfully for the Spurs, they were frozen out, hitting only one of their next 17! One thing that never changed was the rebounding woes, specifically allowing the Thunder 18 offensive rebounds. You can be sure that this will be an important issue if these two teams meet in the playoffs, even with a fully available LaMarcus Aldridge and Boris Diaw. The Spurs were able to match the Thunder with 87 field goal attempts, and even managed seven more free throws than the visitors. This was almost exclusively thanks to the turnover margin falling 11-to-21 in the Spurs favor.
It was a stormy performance, one that the Spurs will want to forget heading into the playoffs, but it still allowed the Spurs to finish the regular season 40-1 at home which is surely some kind of pot at the end of the rainbow.
Let's hope that this late season offensive smog will clear and prove to be the calm before the playoff storm of beautiful, efficient basketball that propels them to postseason history.
Quote of the Night
Tony with the DIME.— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) April 13, 2016
Boban with the DUNK! pic.twitter.com/vhlzvz9R0B
I don't care about Kawhi's overtime or Tony Parker's clutch plays that seemed straight out of a late-2000s highlight reel. This was Boban's game. Boban--who is literally the best thing on the planet--gets the benefit of being possibly the most beloved Spur of the Moment, even when he's not doing much during meaningful minutes.
That was not the case on Tuesday; these were incredibly meaningful ones, as reflected by his game leading +/- of 13 in a four point win. He played during a vital 15 minute stretch that ultimately made this a winnable game. Entering at 5:28 in the 3rd with the Spurs trailing 59-66, Boban left the floor with a lead of 92-88 and just under three minutes left to play...the Spurs would only manage to score one more point in regulation. His 8 rebounds were absolutely crucial, and his size genuinely made the difference with Aldridge dealing with soreness in his injured finger and Boris resting. I think he made the case for not only being a viable part of the playoff rotation, but for having the most Spursy quality of all: basketball IQ. He made many plays that seemed to show wisdom and an innate understanding.
He also had the highlight of the game ruined when David West missed the dunk that was freed by Boban's Magic-esque no-look bounce pass behind his back. That surely must be floating somewhere around the internet (please post in the comments). How do you stop a guy like that?
Steven Adams explaining task of guarding Boban Marjanovic is predictably hilarious: "I tell you what mate: Leg days" pic.twitter.com/EXqVb1zRt3— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) March 27, 2016
1392 - Tim Duncan passed Jason Kidd for 7th all-time in Regular Season games played. Of course Duncan is already third in playoff games played and fifth in total games played (vaulting Kevin Willis and Kevin Garnett on that list). If he were to play one more season he would probably finish 5th in Regular Season games, 1st/2nd in playoff games, and 3rd in total.
388 - Quarters since the Spurs last played overtime basketball in the regular season (which many of you may remember as that silly OT loss to the Knicks that ultimately cost the Spurs crucial seeding).
15% - Dion Waiters and Cameron Payne combined to shoot 2-for-13 on 3-point field goals
1 - Overtime games played this season. If they can avoid a second, it will mark the second time in franchise history only playing in one overtime game (1980-81 season).
Weather-Tempered Hot Takes
Only Tony! pic.twitter.com/NLM4SxbOGN— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) April 13, 2016
Let's start with more Boris. What a man.
Horry is colder than hail on this one.
OMG Robert Horry. So cold. pic.twitter.com/esIlmfDXsN— Daniel (@benchwarmerdan) April 12, 2016
Speaking of hail, this is so Pura San Antonio
So is this...
All the hits.
And a Duncan block, leading outlet pass to Tony, spin cycle? This is like a band playing all the hits and skipping that terrible new album.— Kyle Carpenter (@KyleCarpenter) April 13, 2016
This would be beautiful.
Half-court, dribbling out the clock in Game 7 of the Finals, up 99-89 on Cavs. https://t.co/kNFQ25v5IS— Travis Hale (@LubbockElitist) April 13, 2016
Dion Waiters just swatted Tim Duncan and he will be pulling that clip up on YouTube for his boys in Philly for years to come.— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) April 13, 2016
Pop making Gulag jokes as only Pop can:
Pop on Boban: pic.twitter.com/HlMIQ1dUiX— Jeff McDonald (@JMcDonald_SAEN) April 13, 2016
Meanwhile in the rest of the league:
Reggie Jackson on Cavs in 1st round: "I like it... I don't want to fight Goliath's homeboy or little brother. I want to fight Goliath."— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) April 13, 2016
4. After his Achilles injury, Kobe asked Gary Vitti to tape his foot so that he could still play. Vitti: "No, you ruptured your Achilles."— Baxter Holmes (@BaxterHolmes) April 12, 2016
We'll close with one more. Do yourself a favor and watch that gif of Boris dancing 100 more times too!