Thursday, May 29, 2014
Behind The Scoreboard
Pair of popular NBA series
There is a song by one of my favorite singing groups which has a line that goes, “And as history repeats itself.”
I can imagine that the OKC Thunder is hoping that this could be the case for their so far grueling series with the San Antonio Spurs. The Thunder and Spurs were pitted against each other a short two years ago in another Western Conference finals. The Spurs went to a 2-0 start and allowed the Thunder to take the next four games then go on to face King James and his court at the inception of their reign.
Like all coins (except trick ones), stories also have two different sides. Back in 2012 OKC lost that pair of openers by a total of a dozen points. That fact probably wasn’t lost on San Antone when the Spurs whipped and quieted the Thunder in game one by 17 points and game two by 35 (the worst single game loss in the Thunder’s playoff history), which totals four dozen plus points on anybody’s calculator.
One has to believe that the four-game deficit to end the 2012 series has to be foremost in the memory packed away as part of their traveling luggage as they headed for Oklahoma City for Sunday’s game at 7:30 p.m.
One would be hard pressed to determine which series is most talked about – the OKC-Spurs or Pacers-Heat. All of these teams have some very volatile weapons with short fuses. There is no discounting the Westbrook-Durant combo, the Duncan-Parker duo, the George-Hibbert pair and last but by no means least, the Bosh-James-Wade trio. All of the tandems can establish a rhythm, but when the Heat triumvirate is really “rhyming,” it is going to be a non-poetic outcome for the opposing force.
One has to look no farther than game three on Saturday night when the Eastern finals flopped back to the American Airlines Arena. The Heat trotted out with “T” shirts logoed with “White Hot” emblazoned across the front. It would have probably been redundant to add “Heat” to the script. You had to notice that the bleachers were a total sea of blanco. It is remarkable, but when the Pacers started the game with a 15-point lead, no disappointing wails went up from the masses. And they didn’t appear really surprised when the trio closed out the Pacers in the final few minutes 99-87.
It is worthy to note that some of the highest paid players for Indiana were overshadowed by Lance Stephenson and Paul George. Roy Hibbert commands a salary this season in excess of $14 mil. David West takes in $12 mil and George Hill pulls $8. Some are beginning to wonder if those millionaires are earning their money being down 2-1 and still in Miami.
There were a few queries about the Thunder’s chances for a title (NBA). It has been a long drought since they won in ’79 as the Seattle SuperSonics. As pointed out earlier in this column, they have been down 2-0 before, however, the Spurs don’t seem to think that age is a factor in this series. Sunday night’s contest had to be the “make” or “break” factor.
(Editor’s Note: This column was written prior to Sunday due to early deadlines for Memorial Day.)
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