Is anybody watching the same series I am?
There’s a chess match going on in the 4th quarters of the OKC-SAS series that is hard not to notice. Yet, no one is talking about it.
In the last two games, wins for the Thunder, it was more than just role players playing well at home and Kevin Durant “doin’ his thang”. Coach Scott Brooks has won the matchup game.
All we heard from the TNT “experts” after games 1 & 2 in San Antonio was how the Thunder can’t play both Kendrick Perkins and Serge Ibaka at the same time…the Spurs were just too quick and the ball movement was just too good….translation? Pop’s small lineup was dictating the game.
Well the past two contests in OKC, Brooks went with his traditional rotation late…Durant at the SF and two big inside. The Spurs stayed small, as expected, with guys like Stephen Jackson and Kawhi Leonard at the 4-spoy. The Thunder won both contests, clearly outplaying the Spurs in the 4th quarter.
This is a classic case of playing to one’s strength’s.
Remember in the Laker series, when Brooks repeatedly went with Durant at the ’4′? it worked every time. Mike Brown stayed big, with both Gasol and Bynum out there together…he was trying to play to his strengths. Brown finally went small in Game 5, but it was too late. The Thunder were already rolling to a 4-1 victory.
In this series, Scott Brooks has come to the realization that his ‘bigs’ are better than those of the Spurs….and advantage that wasn’t there vs LA.
He’s made the right move the past two games, playing your hand and some coaching not spreadsheet of how minutes should be broken up.
Brooks has been the more flexible coach the past two games, and it was shown. In-game adjustments and coaching on the fly…that’s what wins Western Conference titles.
The first 2 games in SA, Brooks played to Pop‘s strengths. In games 3 & 4 he forced the Spurs to play his game. This is how a playoff series is meant to be played. In the words of Denzel Washington…it’s chess, not checkers.
So what move will Pop make in Game 5?
I can’t wait to find out…..
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