Oklahoma City stuns San Antonio for Game 5 win

What a game. The Spurs looked like the Charlotte Bobcats in the first half, as their vaunted offense completely broke down. Yet somehow they were only down 8 points, and then Manu Ginobili went off in the third quarter with a barrage of three-pointers to give San Antonio the lead. But then the young studs of Oklahoma City just took over the game, and a late rally by the Spurs fell short.

Watching the Thunder, it’s hard to imagine them losing to the Heat or Celtics if they advance.

Meanwhile, the Spurs followed their 20-game winning steak with three straight losses against a team that looks like the next great NBA dynasty. They looked so bad tonight at home and the odds are stacked against them as they travel back to Oklahoma City.

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Spurs take game 1 over Thunder

The Spurs found a way to win game one against Oklahoma City despite looking terrible for three quarters.

– Gregg Popovich challenged his team to get nasty with their defense, and Stephen Jackson responded with tough defense on Kevin Durant.

– Russell Westbrook is getting a ton of heat for his lame play in the 4th quarter, but Gregg Doyle just eviscerates him in this column, pointing out that Westbrook’s game is as hollow as the lenseless glasses he was wearing to show off the new nerd look that he and other prima donna’s like Prince James and Dwyane Wade are sporting these days.

Youth is definitely a factor in a series like this. That has to be an advantage for the Spurs, and it’s one of the reasons that Heat-haters like me would rather see the Spurs take on the Heat.

Manu Ginobili came up big for the Spurs in the 4th quater and finished with 26 points.

Manu Ginobili hits game-winner against the Bucks [video]

My beloved Bucks, coming off of a surprising win in Dallas to snap the Mavs’ 12-game winning streak, gave the Spurs one hell of a run before Manu Ginobili hit this game winner at the buzzer.

The Bucks had a chance to take the lead, but failed to get a good look at the hoop. It’s a situation where Brandon Jennings has to create his own shot, but he ended up picking up his dribble and giving the ball to Luc Mbah a Moute, who tried to draw the foul on an airborne player.

Ginobili had 26 points, six rebounds and four assists in the win. Chris Douglas-Roberts (21 points) and Drew Gooden (20 points) led the Bucks in scoring, but it was Andrew Bogut (15 points, seven rebounds, four assists and SEVEN BLOCKS) who was the player of the game for Milwaukee. I sure hope he gets a long, hard look for the All-Star team, but Al Horford, Shaquille O’Neal, Roy Hibbert and Brook Lopez might have something to say about that. None of those players are the defensive presence that Bogut is, however.

A closer look at Manu Ginobili’s ‘Euro-step’ [video]

This is a nice collection of clips of Ginobili attacking the rim. He’s one of the best in the league at getting to the bucket and finishing.

Where do the Spurs go from here?

San Antonio played pretty well down the stretch this season, winning 17 of its last 25 games in March and April. (That’s a 56-win pace, by the way.) The Spurs looked sharp in their first round series against the Mavs, but looked old and slow as they were swept by the Suns.

It’s going to be interesting to see how the Spurs approach this offseason. They just signed Manu Ginobili to an extension, and Tim Duncan is signed for two more seasons, so Tony Parker may be the player most likely to be moved. He has one more year on his contract at the tune of $13.7 million and at just 27, he’s in the prime of his career. George Hill could take over the full-time point guard duties, if necessary.

Trading Parker would be a big shift in direction from a personnel standpoint. San Antonio’s Big Three — Ginobili, Parker and Duncan — have been together for eight seasons and three titles, but they haven’t reached the Finals in the last three tries and haven’t made it out of the semis in the last two years. This begs the question — how big of a change are the Spurs willing to make?

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