2012 NBA Western Conference Finals: The Thunder strike down the Spurs

Too slow!

The Spurs looked poised for one last run and sadly it didn’t turn out that way. The surging Thunder knocked yet another former champ down on their way to the Finals. Lets’ use Arturo’s Half Baked Theory — that your top six minute getters dictate your playoff success — and Points over Par — how much a player’s box score stats contributes to a teams points — to find out.

Tim Duncan didn’t show up

2012 San Antonio Spurs Western Conference Finals totals

Player Pos G MP PoP/48 PoP/G
Kawhi Leonard 2.5 6 184.3 3.8 2.5
Stephen Jackson 3.6 6 142.2 3.8 1.9
DeJuan Blair 4.9 4 26.8 6.8 0.9
James Anderson 2.5 2 15.8 5.7 0.9
Manu Ginobili 2.5 6 179.6 0.0 0.0
Boris Diaw 4.7 6 146.0 -0.2 -0.1
Tiago Splitter 5.0 6 52.6 -2.5 -0.5
Tony Parker 1.0 6 226.4 -0.8 -0.6
Tim Duncan 4.5 6 206.8 -1.7 -1.2
Patty Mills 1.0 2 10.8 -17.5 -2.0
Gary Neal 1.5 6 103.8 -5.8 -2.1
Matt Bonner 4.0 5 54.0 -10.4 -2.3
Danny Green 2.5 6 91.0 -8.2 -2.6

Kawhi Leonard — the real Rookie of the Year – put up good numbers. At +2.5 PoP, he played at star level. The problem is that he was the best player on the team by a wide margin. The other players that had helped anchor this team (Green, Parker, Ginobili, Duncan) were nowhere to be found. Tim Duncan once carried the Spurs for an entire playoffs. He only had one good game in this year’s conference finals. While we did see some flashes of greatness out of some Spurs, on the whole they did not play well enough to win.

Durant tries to be like LeBron

Player Pos G MP PoP/48 PoP/G
Kevin Durant 3.5 6 257.5 6.0 5.4
James Harden 2.5 6 192.8 4.1 2.7
Thabo Sefolosha 2.4 6 152.2 5.1 2.7
Serge Ibaka 4.4 6 183.5 2.1 1.3
Nick Collison 4.5 6 82.3 4.0 1.1
Lazar Hayward 3.0 1 5.0 6.7 0.7
Daequan Cook 2.0 4 23.1 1.2 0.1
Cole Aldrich 5.0 1 5.0 -2.2 -0.2
Nazr Mohammed 5.0 1 4.9 -13.8 -1.4
Royal Ivey 2.0 1 5.0 -16.7 -1.7
Derek Fisher 1.0 6 131.2 -4.0 -1.8
Russell Westbrook 1.3 6 231.2 -3.3 -2.6
Kendrick Perkins 5.0 6 166.6 -6.6 -3.8

Yesterday I spoke about how Durant was the key to the Thunder’s recent success. That was no different in this series. He played twice as well as the Spurs best player. He produced three +5.0 PoP games and in his LeBron impression put up two +10.0 PoP games. In addition Harden and Sofolosha both played at star level. Ibaka was up and down but still a new positive player. Westbrook and Perkins sadly were both quite bad. Overall though it was enough to overwhelm the Spurs.

Summing up

This season both the Spurs and Thunder were tough teams full of great players. In this series the Thunder had more of theirs play well. With Durant playing amazingly and Ginobili and Duncan missing in action this series turned around quickly. It should be noted that Perkins has remained a poor option at center and Westbrook may have reverted to his regular season form. That said, the Thunder look to be the likely favorites heading into the finals and we’ll definitely be in for a fun matchup watching a new contender face yet another recent title holder.

-Dre

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