All the Oklahoman sports guys predicted the same outcome: Spurs in seven. The one non-guy, Jenni Carlson, says Thunder in six. Through 36 minutes, I was all ready to believe Jenni, what with OKC up by nine with momentum out the wazoo. But wazoos are fragile, and in nine minutes San Antonio had turned that nine-point deficit to a seven-point lead. The Spurs ultimately won it, 101-98, to go up 1-0 in the series.
You wouldn’t think of Manu Ginobili as a secret weapon — I mean, everybody knows what he’s capable of — but the Thunder hadn’t seen him this year, so maybe it was a case of out of sight, out of mind. Ginobili provided a jolt to the memory in the last minute of the first quarter, during which he scored seven points, and through the fourth, when he racked up 11 of his 26 points. With this much Manu, neither Tony Parker nor Tim Duncan had to be exceptional, though Duncan did log a double-double (16 points, 11 rebounds), and Parker did outscore Russell Westbrook, 18-17.
What happened to the Thunder, apart from Ginobili, was a spectacular fourth-quarter offensive drought: in those nine minutes the Spurs went 29-13, responding to a total lack of ball movement. (The Thunder logged exactly one assist in that final frame.) They got themselves somewhat righted in the last couple of minutes, but by then it was already out of reach. Kevin Durant did lead all scorers with 27, and while the Beard was hard to get started, James Harden did finish with a respectable 19. Still, when your sharpshooter is Derek Fisher (6-8 for 13), you have to figure that something’s a trifle askew.
Next game is Tuesday. I’m sure Scott Brooks is reminding the troops that it, like tonight’s game, will run 48 minutes.