NBA Playoff Schedule 2012: What Thunder Must Do to Steal Game 2 in San Antonio

Matt ShetlerCorrespondent IMay 28, 2012

SAN ANTONIO, TX - MAY 27:  (L-R) James Harden #13, Kevin Durant #35 and Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder walk off the court after losing 101-98 to the San Antonio Spurs in Game One of the Western Conference Finals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center on May 27, 2012 in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The Oklahoma City Thunder let one slip away in Game 1 of their Western Conference Finals matchup against the San Antonio Spurs.

Now the Spurs are not only riding a 19-game win streak, but also are a combined 33-5 on the season at the AT&T Center (including playoffs).

If the Thunder plan on heading back home with the series even, several things must get better for Scott Brooks' team in Game 2.

Here's a quick look at how Oklahoma City can steal Game 2.



James Harden Getting to the Free-Throw Line

Harden has struggled of late, shooting only 37 percent from the floor his past six games, but he somehow found a way to not once get to the charity stripe in Game 1.

He's lived at the line during the postseason, getting there an average of 7.1 times per game, but his lack of aggressiveness in Game 1 resulted in no free throws.

That has to change.



Russell Westbrook Being More Efficient

Guarded by Tony Parker, Westbrook struggled in Game 1, shooting only 7-of-21 for the night. In addition, he had only five assists and turned the ball over four times.

Westbrook has to get the ball moving against the Spurs' aggressive defense and that means more than just passing it to Kevin Durant.



Score in the Paint

San Antonio's defense did a great job of collapsing and making it tough for the Thunder to score inside, but Oklahoma city can not turn themselves into strictly a jump-shooting team.

The Thunder struggled to score inside all night long, as the Spurs enjoyed a 50-26 advantage in points in the paint. Oklahoma City missed 20 of their 33 shots in the lane and where outscored 16-2 in the paint during the game's final quarter.



Four Quarters of Defense

Through three quarters, the Thunder did a very good job defensively, but they made it easy on San Antonio in the fourth, allowing 39 points in that quarter alone.

That marked only the second time all season long that Oklahoma City has allowed 39 points in any quarter, the first time being when they allowed 39 to the Sacramento Kings in the first quarter on April 24th.

Despite finishing the night with 11 steals and nine blocks, the Thunder allowed San Antonio to shoot 75 percent from the floor during the fourth quarter and that can't happen anymore.



SAN ANTONIO, TX - MAY 27:  Manu Ginobili #20 of the San Antonio Spurs lays the ball up against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game One of the Western Conference Finals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center on May 27, 2012 in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO US
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Bench Play

Manu Ginobili torched the Thunder for 26 points on only 14 shot attempts in the series' opener and the Spurs' bench outscored the Thunder's 52-37.

Granted, the Spurs are a very deep team, but if San Antonio's bench scores that much and there's that much discrepancy between the two benches, this will become a short series.



Team Shooting

Oklahoma City shot 42 percent from the floor in Game 1, down from the 46 percent they shot during the regular season, but the Thunder's Big Three combined to shoot only 39 percent on the night and Kevin Durant went without a field goal in the fourth quarter for the first time in his postseason career.