I don't think this is what Gregg Popovich meant when he said he wanted some nasty.

The Oklahoma City Thunder:
After the Spurs imposed their will on the Thunder in Game 1 -- especially over the final 12 minutes -- Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks was shelled by bloggers and media experts for not giving Serge Ibaka enough fourth quarter burn. Well, Serge logged a fat 39 minutes last night, and the Thunder looked even more helplessly overmatched by a Spurs team that apparently has no flaws. Unless you count Tiago Splitter's haircut. And you should.

Despite Tim Duncan's off shooting night (2-for-11 from the field), the Spurs converted 55.1 percent of their field goal attempts and finished with 120 points despite bricking 12 free throws and committing 18 turnovers. Remember: In one of those Mic'd up segments in Game 1, Brook screamed at his troops: "We're a defensive team." I wonder what he said after rookie Kawhi Leonard lit 'em up for 18 points on 7-for-12 shooting. Of course, the Thunder finished the regular season ranked 11th in Defensive Rating and currently rank ninth out of 16 playoff teams. So I'm not sure they're really the "defensive team" Brooks seems to think they are.

Speaking of Brooks, he unveiled the Hack-a-Splitter strategy with 2:31 left in the third quarter and the Thunder trailing 83-66. After about a grueling minute of that "action," Splitter had gone 5-for-10 from the line and OKC was down 88-72. Which was...good...I guess. They made up one point of their deficit anyway.

According to Brooks, though, he was just trying to change the pace of the game: "It changed the tempo a little bit. They (the Spurs) were fast tonight. That ball was just all over the floor with quick passes, passes that were right in their shooting pockets, and it kind of threw their rhythm out a little bit. He stepped up and made six of them (including another trip to the line that was not away from the ball). He did better than his playoff percentage. But if on occasion we have an opportunity to do it again, we will."

Can't wait!

Reggie Miller, quote machine: "This is a surgical clinic by Gregg Popovich and the San Antonio Spurs."

Bonus stat: The Thunder had been giving up an average of 92.9 PPG in the playoffs. The Spurs had 92 at the end of the third quarter.

Gregg Popovich, quote machine: Regarding the Hack-a-Splitter plan: "No, I’ve never done that before. I think it's a lousy thing to do. It's unsportsmanlike." Pop then added: "No, it's a a good move. If there's a reason to do it and they felt there was a reason to do it, they did it. It's a good move."

Serge Ibaka, poster boy: Tim Duncan says: STUFF THIS, IBAKA.

I guess Timmy gave Pop what he wanted.

Kendrick Perkins:
Yikes. 3 points, 1-for-5, 5 rebounds, 4 turnovers, 3 fouls, and a game-worst plus-minus of -14 in 24 minutes. Sam Smith of recently called Perkins a "fraud," and I'm starting to think he may have a point.

Charles Barkley, quote machine: "I gotta call out my boy Scott Brooks tonight. It took him over three quarters to see you can't play those two big guys [Kendrick Perkins and Serge Ibaka] together."

Derek Fisher: Remember how he almost saved the Thunder in Game 1 with his near-perfect shooting? I guess he used up all his makes, because last night he went 2-for-11, including 0-for-6 inside the arc. Oddly, he had a team-best plus-minus score of +9. Must be all the veteran savvy.

Russell Westbrook: His line looked pretty strong -- 27 points, 8 assists, 7 rebounds, 0 turnovers -- but Tony Parker (game-high 34 points on 16-for-21 shooting plus 8 dimes) made Westbrook his bitch. How on fire was TP? According to Tim Griffin of the San Antonio Express-News:
Tony Parker had a shooting game for the ages Tuesday night. It didn't matter where he was aiming from. He hit 5 of 6 shots from inside 10 feet, misfiring only on a twisting first-quarter layup. He was 7 for 9 from 10 to 20 feet. And he hit 4 of 6 from 20 feet and beyond to finish off a 34-point effort that was the biggest playoff scoring binge by a Spurs player since his 43-point effort against Dallas in 2009. Parker's 16-for-21 shooting effort Tuesday night ended up as the best shooting game by a true guard with at least 20 shots in the playoffs since Vinnie Johnson notched a similar 16-for-21 game against Boston in 1985. And it was the biggest reason why the Spurs cruised to a 120-111 victory over the Thunder, claiming a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series. Parker might have out Microwaved “the Microwave” with his clutch shooting down the stretch, hitting 7 of his 8 2-point attempts and one of his two 3-pointers in the second half. It finished off a memorable night that he was at a loss to explain afterwards. "I don't know," Parker said. "It was just one of those nights. I felt in a good rhythm early on. I was making my shots and just trying to be aggressive."
What's more, there were a few times when you could tell Russell wanted to pay Parker back, which resulted in some of those awful dribble-dribble-dribble-dribble-dribble-shoot possessions that may be the fatal flaw that prevents Westbrook from becoming a true superstar. Speaking of which...

Steve Kerr, quote machine: "Dribble. Dribble. Dribble. Got to start moving the ball. There's too much dribbling. You can't beat a good defense by overdribbling."

Thabo Sefolosha: I know he really starts only so James Harden can win Sixth Man of the Year awards, but damn: 2 points, 1-for-4 shooting, 1 rebound and a -10 in 15 minutes.

Nazr Mohammed and Daequan Cook: In a combined 10 minutes off the bench, Mohammed and Cook each contributed...1 personal foul. That's it. Not a point. Not a rebound. Not even a turnover. Thanks for coming, fellas.

Kawhi Leonard's shoe-tying abilities: Try a double knot, Kawhi.

Tony Parker, quote machine, Part 1:
Regarding his 8 assists: "It's always been a battle my whole career, when you're a scoring point guard and Pop wants you to score, then he wants you to pass, and he wants you to score, and he wants you to pass. You go back and forth. It's always been the biggest room for me to improve, to find a happy middle between scoring and passing, and find that good balance. I think, over the years, I got better at it."

Tony Parker, quote machine, Part 2: On getting blistered by a Popovich rant in the second half: "He's screamed at me for 11 years. We weren't getting our plays. We were playing sloppy."

Tony Parker, quote machine, Part 3: "When you have Coach Pop screaming at you every day, that will make you pass the ball. He's always big on, 'Find a better shot.' That's the way we play."

Kevin Durant, quote machine: "There are no moral victories for us. We were down. We dug ourselves a hole. We did what we normally do, which is fight all game, and we lost."

Scott Brooks, quote machine: On why the Spurs spanked his team: "They were making shots. I mean, they were spraying them all over the floor and knocking them in. I thought (Kawhi) Leonard was making the shots. (Manu) Ginobili made a lot of tough shots tonight. (Tony) Parker was on fire."

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Anonymous Jackie Boyd said...
Man, I'm happy to see this post this morning.

Blogger Raza said...
That Bonner pic needs to be made into a poster.

I'm thinking the Spurs win this series in 5.

Hopefully games 3 and 4 won't be the free throw fest that the fourth quarter was last night.

Blogger chris said...
Is it me or has Kendrick DECLINED since he buffed up after leaving the C's?

Anonymous Brazilian Fan said...
How I miss reading about the worst of the best in Basketball. It's always a pleasure to read your rants, Mr. McHale. :-)

Anonymous spinetingler said...
"Is it me or has Kendrick DECLINED since he buffed up after leaving the C's?"

Playing with Garnett can make you look good.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Both Barkley and Steve Kerr are right. Brooks finally got some ideas of how to defend the Spurs, too late for Game 2 but it gives them some hope for Game 3. And unfortunately for OKC fans the dribbling expedition won't stop because that's just how they play. Perimeter team with no post presence. Live by it, die by it.

Blogger kazam92 said...
That Perk contract looks horrendous right now.

Blogger Michael Hsu said...
The first thing I thought when I saw this post.

Looked straight at the author

"Holy #@*! he's back!"

Welcome back hope you won't take another year off since vacation is only about another 3 weeks away.


Spurs in 4, Heat in 5. Can't decide on the finals. SAS is just plan awesome this year, but Lebron is playing on a level no one has seen in a long time. Miami has 2 players that can 1 on 5 your team and they are doing it.

Blogger winnetou said...
My memory may be tricking me, but I thought Kendrick Perkins looked a lot leaner after the lockout.

Blogger Wormboy said...
MATT McHALE!!!!! Allahu akbar!

In defense of Perk, his whole value has always been against classic big men, whom he pushes well outside of their comfort zone. He owned Howard back when Howard sorta mattered. In fact, Perk was pretty good at this against the Fakeshow this year, pushing mostly Bynum to floor positions where his efficiency plummeted. To whom does he do this on the Spurs? The bigs can all shoot mid-range or better. The Spurs just took him into high pick and rolls all night, where Perk was a serious liability. My bet is that he sees limited action for the rest of the series. As usual, Barkley was right. It takes 7 quarters to figure out that perk is a poor match is this series? Brooks sat Perk during certain series last year!

The Spurs look that I like? Duncan at the high post distributing the ball. Reminds me a bit of the Triangle. It also seriously weakens Duncan's defender, since many bigs aren't comfortable out there. Plus, Duncan is such an awesome pick setter (though like all NBA picks he'd probably be called for a moving screen in NCAA).

You know whose commentary I'm liking? Kerr's. Reggie, though, has discovered the term "at this point in time." Dude, really? Substituting that phrase for "now" doesn't actually make you sound smarter. Just be Reggie. Say "man region" or something.

Anonymous Czernobog said...
That Remix was brilliant.

If SA win their 5th this year, That speech becomes one of the most iconic sports speeches of all time.

And speaking about nasty, That is one of the most violent dunks I've ever seen the TD-21000 throw.

And how about Durant? You feel like you hardly heardhis name the whole game, and he ends up scoring 31 points on 10-17 shooting. Unreal.

I love this series.

Anonymous Stockton said...

Anonymous Grizzly said...
Perk just overmatched in this series, he was great against the Lakers, and was brought in for defending the bigger players, which SA does not have.

Anonymous JJ said...
Bawful, back from the dead!

That is a great pic. Bonner is too sexy for words.

Michael, I wonder about Finals too. I think it depends on whether Bostrich comes back or not. I couldn't find anything about his injury update. I guess they're keeping it very hush hush. Without Bostrich, I think Spurs in 6. With Bostrich, maybe Heat in 6? Hard to say.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
why did basketbawful lower their ratio of posts?

Anonymous Chrissy said...
I want to have your babies.

No, but seriously.... I missed you. Most more often, please?

Anonymous Frankfurter said...
Anyone see Lebron blow that easy dunk right at the start of game 2 earlier? I remember thinking "I bet this haunts them late in the game"... and the game goes to OT... LOL.

How about that Rondo though? Wow.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
holy mary mother of god matt mchale is back...there is a god after all...

Anonymous Anonymous said...
So happy to see you do a Wotn again!

Russel Westbrook to me is one of those Allen Iverson, Stephon Marbury, Steve Francis type of guards. Loads of talent but just doesn't get "it" because of attitude or a lack of basketball IQ.

Anonymous Stockton said...
home... (sniff sniff) cooking? Boston gets 29 FTs... the Ringers get more than 40...

Blogger Wormboy said...
LeBron James, 24 free throws. ENTIRE Celtics team: 29. Does anything else need to be said? Epic home cooking was the only way the Heat won that game.

Anonymous Czernobog said...
@anon: It remains to be seen, but Russell Westbrook Could turn out to be a Tony Parker type of player.

It wasn't very long ago that this very blog was calling him an undersized shooting guard, but now I don't think anyone can argue that he isn't one of the best PGs in the game.

Blogger kazam92 said...
Bill Simmons epic meltdown on twitter is glorious. Especially since 2 weeks ago he wanted to "send a fruit basket" to the refs after beating Philly in game 5 and he "loved the refs" in game 6 vs Atlanta. Clown.

I'm sorry a bunch of 35 yr old jump shooters shot less FTs.

Blogger Barry said...
Man, the Celts had a chance to get that game right there....threw it away.

Still, Rondo....that was amazing.

Blogger Barry said...
Anyone catch those Szczerbiak tweets about Garnett?

Some old grudges?

Anonymous Naz said...
I'm right there with you Kazam

If you thought the officiating last night was bawful, you could make a pretty good argument about it, but the same people screaming about the NBA being rigged are in a lot of cases these same assholes that were loving the bawful officiating in the last 2 Boston series against Philly and Atlanta because it was in Boston's favor.

Considering how inconsistent the NBA is the least we can do as fans is show less hypocrisy than the National Bullshit Association.

Anonymous Silvio said...
Parker is key, he destroyed Devin Harris in first round, was at least equal to (not fully fit, but who cares) CP3 in next round. Now Westbrook is playing excellent, but Parker is winning that matchup too.

Heat: dislike, mainly because of one guy
Thunder: not very fond of
Spurs: what's not to like about?

Thus, I expected outcome: Heat to beat Thunder in finals. But hey, Spurs are up 2-0. Pleasantly surprised, and now I'm starting to dream. Hope I didn't jinxed Parker.

Anonymous Czernobog said...
@Barry: Nah, I'm sure it's just autocomplete.

And booze. Autocomplete and a whole lotta booze.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
@ Czernobog

Yeah well Allen Iverson was one of the best point guards in the league too a couple of years back. Look, I'm not denying his talent, nor am I saying the Thunder would be better off without him. He is one of the best guards in the game. But he could be so much better (and his team could be so much better) if he made smart decisions.

Fact is he overdribbles and kills the offense, he loses interest on defense, he takes bad shots, especially late in the game and with Durant and Harden on his team, he bitches to the refs instead of getting back on defense and the list goes on.

He is still young and with the right coaching he could a Tony Parker like scoring point guard, but so far Scotty Brooks seems to let all that nonsense slide.

Anonymous Czernobog said...
Pop's presser after game 1 was hilarious:

"Why would you say something like that?"

I would bet my internal organs that hanging out with him and Duncan would just be a barrel of laughs, as much as they don't show any of it on the court.

Anonymous avoozl said...
"I'm sorry a bunch of 35 yr old jump shooters shot less FTs."

Yea, I'm sure you're not blinded by your homoerotic infatuation with the cHeat or anything.

cHeat fans mouthing off on every sounding board after winning that game is fully expected but no less pathetic; and the lady doth protest too much, methinks.

Blogger Bing said...
"I was cumming with my butt, Marv."
Jebus Reggie, over-share much?

Anonymous Naz said...
No avoozl, you're confused, I'm the Heat fan that is blinded by his homoerotic infatuation with the Heat, not kazam.

kazam is a cool guy, no need to explode on him like that just because you're mad a bunch of 35 year old jump shooters shot less free throws.

Blogger kazam92 said...
Did I strike a nerve avoozi? When did I mouth off? Other than mocking Simmons, who deserved the firestorm that came his way from the NBA "bloggissists" of the world.

Anonymous Frankfurter said...
Regarding Doc Rivers's comments about the free throw disparity in game 2... I'm not sure you can be a physical team defensively, then complain about the officiating when someone (e.g. Lebron, Wade) actually takes it to the rack and draws fouls.

When Lebron is aggressive it's not ridiculous to think he could get to the line 10 or 12 times a game.

Disclaimer: I am not a Heat homer, I am a Boston fan and am gutted that the Rondo call was missed :(

Anonymous Anonymous said...
At last basketbawful is back! I stopped visiting this site when he stopped posting. :D

Blogger TeamD said...
bawful, welcome back, you wiped out some of the dust. Great post.

Blogger Matt said...
Hah, the jokes on you guys! Bawful isn't back at all, but he gave Raza his password so he could log in as Bawful and submit this post!*

*statement may have no actual basis in reality

Anonymous avoozl said...
Celtics took 25 shots at the rim, cHeat 26. The cHeat get 47 FTs to the Celtics' 29.

Wade and James finish with 4 fouls combined despite guarding all the Cs best players who are attacking the rim. Meanwhile Pierce fouls out.

In OT Rondo gets mauled in the head- no call, turns in to a cHeat fast break. Wade kicks KG in the groin and gets the and-1.

The Celtics would have been blown out in a game they dominated if the cHeat had made their regular amount of free throws.

But keep repeating "a bunch of 35 yr old jump shooters shot less FTs." if you want. Keep pretending you have some credibility as biased cHeat homers.

Blogger Wormboy said...
You can rationalize free throw disparities at any time. They happen for both good reasons and bad, and don't always involve bias.

But there are a number of things that stand out here:
1) Rondo gets clubbed in the face on a layup by Wade, no call. My dead, blind grandmother could see this. There's no way that the officials didn't. Even the ass-kissing company men announcers expressed dismay at the call.
2) Immediately thereafter Wade gets a borderline call at the other end. Now, I'm not a fan of the makeup call, but if you truly blow a call then fer Pete's sake roughly even it up by not making matters much worse at the other end.
3) Wade has made a career of throwing himself into crowds, or just down on the floor, and getting calls.
4) LeBron doesn't do so, but he still draws lots of touch fouls. This is the freakin playoffs, and other series have been freakin rugby matches. Funny how the Heat games are always so tightly called. I'm just sayin'.
5) And ultimately, if you're going to call touch fouls one way, you gotta call them the other. Allen is grabbed on almost every cut. Garnett is grabbed and shoved whenever he touches the ball in the low post. Mind you, THIS IS ALL FINE, assuming they call it both ways. They don't.

I'm no homer. If I had to call myself a fan of any team, it would be the Sonics. Yeah, good luck with that. And I can't even bring myself to hate the Zombies, because they're a fun, charming team. But I've got no hard-on for the Celtics, and I've pretty much forgiven LeBron for anything. I think I'm pretty objective on this. The Heat are getting away with murder, much like they did in 2006. It's a travesty and makes me not want to watch.

My tribute to Matt McHale's comeback :

My tribute to Matt McHale's comeback :

Blogger kazam92 said...
Holy crap. I just noticed this was posted by Bawful.