You wouldn’t expect expert analysis from Stephen “Captain Jack” Jackson.But that’s what we got after his Spurs lost a heart-breaker against the Thunder in OKC last night.
Here’s what he told ESPN’s Marc Stein:
“It sucks. But those motherf**kers were just better than us.”
NBA experts have been struggling to understand what exactly happened to the Spurs since they played so beautifully in the second half of Game 2.
There are a lot of small explanations for why the Spurs collapsed so quickly out there, including:
- Russell Westbrook passed more and shot less (22.5 shots per game in the 2 losses, 16.5 shots per games in the 4 wins)
- Thabo Sefolosha played more minutes, which allowed the Thunder to switch every Tony Parker pick-and-roll and ultimately keep him from collapsing the defence
- James Harden played more point guard
- Gregg Popovich destroyed the rotations that played so efficiently all season
But last night, both teams played the best they could have played.
The Spurs moved the ball like they did in Game 2, scoring 63 points in the first half. Tim Duncan scored 25 and whipped out his vintage post game in the fourth quarter. Tony Parker had 17 points and 5 assists in the first quarter alone. Even Stephen Jackson made 6 of his 7 three-point attempts.
But the Thunder, as Captain Jack put it so eloquently, just outplayed them.
They shot the ball exceptionally well (50% overall and 55% from three). Their stars all hit big shots in the fourth quarter. And, most impressively, they had the energy and focus to get key stops in the last six minutes of the game — despite the fact that Durant played all 48 minutes, Westbrook played 41 minutes, and Harden played 35 minutes off the bench.
A week ago, it would have been inconceivable to say the Thunder were simply better than the Spurs.
But after those first two games, OKC made a bunch of small adjustments that only a really good, really talented, really confident team can make.
It wasn’t the fluke. The Spurs didn’t get unlucky. OKC was just better.
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