“Clinic” is usually the word we use when a team plays in the ideal way, and in effect, shows how it’s done to the hapless loser.
“Clinic” doesn’t begin to describe how the Spurs are playing now. They’re turning basketball into the dance it can be. On the technical side, they’re spacing, passing, helping, screening, shooting, controlling tempo, adjusting and pacing beautifully. On the intangibles, they trust each other, they love playing with one another (27 assists vs OKC’s 19), they have composure, they believe in their system. And everyone who’s learning to play or coach basketball should watch the way they’re playing now (20 straight wins!).
Key things a couch coach might see:
1. Parker is getting his way too much. A more active defense on him has to be placed. I’ve never guarded an all-star and Olympic athlete before, but I’m guessing it takes more than that.
2. switching. I think the Thunder discovered, too late in the game, that their best bet against all the screens, is their last lineup that can switch defenders at any point in the game.
3. this switching D, attack and be physical, with the Thunder’s attitude of never folding – PLUS the homecourt should re-energize the Thunder. we saw shades of it, i think, during the last quarter or so. and if that shade becomes the real thing in game 3, then we can have a series.
4. however, even if the thunder adjust, the spurs are just so versatile that they can play at any pace or style. and again, that makes them terrifying. at some point, you just have to hope they miss.
I remember when my pistons coached by larry brown, lost to the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA finals. coach brown said, “here, we always talk about playing ‘the right way.’ Right over there, that’s a team that plays ‘the right way.’ ”