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How Spurs & # 39; super-small lineup helped defeat thunder



The Spurs pulled their second SEGABABA victory out of season in an incredibly double overtime marathon against thunder on Thursday night. Behind a powerhouse performance from LaMarcus Aldridge, they competed and more importantly ended an Oklahoma City team with the best defense in the league.

LaMarcus & # 39; performance was remarkable. He made 20 of his 33 shots and hit all 16 of his free throws, and Spursne needed every one of them. He did everything, but made a tree. Here is a summary of all the different ways he scored.

Except for LaMarcus & brilliance, 14 just made three to start the game, and Derrick White's 7th or 8th breakout game of the season, an interesting lineup adjustment that helped pave the way for Spurs & # 39; victory.

After Steven Adams fell on his right foot awkwardly with less than six minutes to go in the fourth quarter, Thunder introduced both Patrick Patterson and Jerami Grant in the lineup. It only lasted 46 seconds when they quickly realized that they didn't have to match Davis Bertans' size at the forward position and instead be able to play a person with more firepower at offensive end.

With 4:44 back in regulation, Dennis Schroder checked in for Grant and beat a 3-pointer just 6 seconds later and cut the Spurs lead to 1. Thunder played that way with 3 guards – Russell Westbrook, Terrance Ferguson, and Schroder, for the rest of the fourth quarter. The spurs were able to reach the lead back to 7 thanks to LaMarcus, but it was short-lived.

Ferguson's 2nd triple in the last two minutes bound the game with only 40 seconds to go. Both shots, the other especially was the result of defensive errors.

Although it is understandable that Davis is worried about a Westbrook drive here as he retires to the left, Davis must move one step closer to Ferguson. He basically puts a guy who shoots 36.5% from three in the year and who had made 5 of his 6 threads already in this game.

A moment later, Davis did it again, but he was not alone guilty.

LaMarcus could have peeled and picked up Ferguson on the right, but he ran to his husband, Grant, whom Davis picked up in the paint. Davis will find Davis Ferguson. If Derrick is half a step lower or seems to look up when Westbrook does the pass, it's probably a turnout, but as such Ferguson gets an open look to tie the game.

After Derrick, Spurs put back three with a three of his own thunder called timeout. Patty Mills replaced Davis in the lineup and never checked back. Marco Belinelli switched for Bryn Forbes on Spur's attempt to enter the ball, which led to a hallmark Marco-centered slide of emotion, but when overtime started, Bryn was back. The spurs saved the 5-man unit – Patty, Bryn, Derrick, DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus – in all three tenths of a second out of the last 10 minutes.

Before Thursday night, the 5 players had only shared court for 3 minutes, but since it was most important, Coach Pop trusted them to shut it down. Even when Adams checked back in just 1 minute into the first overtime period, Pop stood firm with the 4 guard lineup. LaMarcus picked up Adams, and DeMar continued to protect Paul George while Derrick stuck with Westbrook. It left Patty at Ferguson and 6 "Spartan at 6" 9 "Grant.

The Thunder intended to attack Westbrook and George out of the pick-and-roll with Adams, so Grant's great advantage was largely irrelevant at one end of the floor. Thunder did not even attempt to send him to the glass for the most part. The spurs gave the advantage of playing a floor spacer that could also handle the ball and create in their secondary offense if needed. Patty was not amazing, but he nailed a pull-up three late in the shot clock from the left after he had spun Adams around his bad ankle.

Still, the first overtime was a wash, and Spursne stuck with the same five players next time. Thunder, on the other hand, put Schroder back in place of Adams, probably due to his somewhat limited mobility on that ankle. Now, in roughly the same size, Spurs asked another driver, but managed to hold onto it this time, despite some near-disastrous shenanigans at the end.

Pop's confidence in this lineup, even more than its apparent success, is interesting. DeMar has only played 5% of his minutes on Power Forward this season, per Cleaning the Glass, but Spurs & # 39; net rating is +13 at that time. Of course, we only talk about 138 belongings, which are just over 5 quarters of basketball, so it's not a very large sample size. But it suggests that there are possible situations, as at the end of this game, where it could be a useful solution.

In view of the countless fascinating match-ups in the Western Conference, flexibility in range will be important in a playoff race. Spurs have already shown how well they can match up when the teams play big, at least when Rudy Gay is healthy. If they are so good when they play small, it represents an incredible flexibility that can help cover their lack of depth on the wing.


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