NBA

Oklahoma City Thunder vs. San Antonio Spurs: Game 5 Grades and Analysis

May 29, 2014; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs forward Boris Diaw (33) congratulates guard Tony Parker (9) during the game against the Oklahoma City Thunder in game five of the Western Conference Finals of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports
USA TODAY Sports
Andy BaileyFeatured ColumnistMay 30, 2014

Another game, another blowout in the Western Conference Finals, as the San Antonio Spurs took a 3-2 series lead over the Oklahoma City Thunder after a 117-89 victory.

After getting crushed in two straight games on the road, San Antonio responded with a classic Spurs team effort.

They shot 51.3 percent from the field, out-rebounded the Thunder 48-35 and won the battle of the benches 55-26.

 

Key Player Grades: San Antonio Spurs

Tony Parker, Point Guard

SAN ANTONIO, TX - MAY 29: Tony Parker #9 of the San Antonio Spurs reacts after a play in the third quarter against the Oklahoma City Thunder during Game Five of the Western Conference Finals of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center on May 29, 2014 in San A
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Thanks to a complete team effort that included solid contributions from eight players, Parker really didn't have to do much.

He still put an imprint on the game, though, with some timely jump shots that gave the Spurs a little momentum before the game turned into a blowout.

He shot 6-of-13 from the field on the way to 12 points. He also had four assists and four rebounds.

Grade: B+

 

Tim Duncan, Center/Power Forward

SAN ANTONIO, TX - MAY 29: Tim Duncan #21 and Kawhi Leonard #2 of the San Antonio Spurs talk in the second quarter against the Oklahoma City Thunder during Game Five of the Western Conference Finals of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center on May 29, 2014 i
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Duncan was one of the primary reasons San Antonio didn't need Parker to carry a huge load. He turned in a classic Big Fundamental performance on the way to 22 points and 12 rebounds in 30 minutes.

He scored in a variety of ways and often in the face of intense defense from Steven Adams, who gave Duncan no space on his post-ups.

It is truly remarkable that even at 38, Duncan still dominates an NBA playoff game like this.

Grade: A+

 

Kawhi Leonard, Small Forward

SAN ANTONIO, TX - MAY 29: Kawhi Leonard #2 of the San Antonio Spurs handles the ball against Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first quarter during Game Five of the Western Conference Finals of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center o
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

For most of his career, Leonard has been one of those players whose contributions can't be fully captured by a basic box score.

That was definitely the case as he defended Russell Westbrook. OKC's point guard went off for 40 points and 10 assists in Game 4 but was held to 21 and seven against the on-ball D of Leonard in Game 5.

On the other end, Leonard quietly put together a solid offensive showing, scoring 14 points on 4-of-7 shooting.

And to top it all off, he grabbed seven boards.

Grade: A

 

Danny Green, Shooting Guard

SAN ANTONIO, TX - MAY 29: Head coach Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs talks to Danny Green #4 in the first quarter against the Oklahoma City Thunder during Game Five of the Western Conference Finals of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center on May 29
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Home-court advantage has obviously been huge in this series, and it may be impacting Danny Green more than anyone else.

He went off from beyond the arc once again in the confines of the familiar AT&T Center, dropping 4 of his 8 three-point attempts on the way to 14 points.

He was also tasked with defending Kevin Durant. Though he didn't stop the league's MVP, he certainly made him work for his points.

Grade: B+

 

Matt Bonner/Boris Diaw, Power Forward

SAN ANTONIO, TX - MAY 21:  Boris Diaw #33 of the San Antonio Spurs posts up Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first half in Game Two of the Western Conference Finals during the 2014 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center on May 21, 2014 in San Ant
Chris Covatta/Getty Images

Gregg Popovich surprised everyone by starting Bonner over Tiago Splitter, perhaps looking to give his other four players more space in which to operate.

Bonner really didn't do much with the opportunity, as he struggled on the way to zero points on 0-of-4 shooting.

Shaking things up again, Popovich then started Diaw over Bonner in the second half, and it was a brilliant move.

Diaw provides similar floor spacing as Bonner, but he also has the ability make an impact on the defensive end.

Add to that his power forward abilities, and it's hard to see how Pop could start any other frontcourt for the rest of the postseason.

Diaw finished the game with 13 points, six rebounds and three assists.

Grade: A (for Diaw)

 

Manu Ginobili, Shooting Guard

SAN ANTONIO, TX - MAY 29: Manu Ginobili #20 of the San Antonio Spurs drives to the basket against Reggie Jackson #15 and Serge Ibaka #9 of the Oklahoma City Thunder in the second quarter during Game Five of the Western Conference Finals of the 2014 NBA Pl
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Ginobili was spectacular. He was electrifying. Let's see, what other adjectives are there?

He scored 19 points by slashing, finishing and drilling long-range jump shots. His final tally was 7 of 9 shots from the field.

He was also the primary facilitator of the offense for most of the 21 minutes he played, as he led the team with six assists.

Grade: A+

 

Bench

The rest of San Antonio's bench scored 23 points. Combine that with Diaw and Ginobili, and the Spurs reserves scored 55 points.

Patty Mills nailed three three-pointers for nine points. Splitter got all six of his points from the free-throw line, where he only missed two attempts.

Grade: A+

 

Key Player Grades: Oklahoma City Thunder

Kevin Durant, Small Forward

SAN ANTONIO, TX - MAY 29:  Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder warms up before the game against the San Antonio Spurs in Game Five of the Western Conference Finals during the 2014 NBA Playoffs on May 29, 2014 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, T
Noah Graham/Getty Images

Durant was solid, with 25 points on 11-of-21 shooting, but OKC needs him (or Westbrook) to be spectacular to win this series.

Durant's size and athleticism should make him an absolute nightmare for the Spurs, but as was stated earlier, Green's effort on defense held him relatively in check.

But it really is all relative with Durant. Twenty-five points, five rebounds and two assists is an excellent game for most players. Durant's in the rare position where that's just not enough.

Grade: A-

 

Russell Westbrook, Point Guard

SAN ANTONIO, TX - MAY 29:  Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder goes up for a dunk in the first half against Kawhi Leonard #2 of the San Antonio Spurs during Game Five of the Western Conference Finals of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center o
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

After utterly destroying the Spurs in the last game, Westbrook looked like a completely different player against the defense of Leonard.

Like Durant, Westbrook didn't have a bad game—21 points on 6-of-12 shooting to go with seven assists—but it just wasn't enough.

Grade: B+

 

Serge Ibaka, Power Forward

SAN ANTONIO, TX - MAY 29: Serge Ibaka #9 of the Oklahoma City Thunder reacts after a play in the first quarter against the San Antonio Spurs during Game Five of the Western Conference Finals of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center on May 29, 2014 in San A
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Ibaka's presence completely swayed the momentum in Oklahoma City, but he was about as nonexistent in Game 5 as he was in Games 1 and 2—when he literally didn't play.

In 27 minutes, Ibaka only grabbed two rebounds and went 3-of-10 from the field for six points. To his credit, he did get two blocks.

Overall, though, he really didn't do anything to help the Thunder win.

Grade: D-

 

Reggie Jackson, Shooting Guard

May 29, 2014; San Antonio, TX, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard Reggie Jackson (15) dribbles past San Antonio Spurs center Tiago Splitter (22) during the first half in game five of the Western Conference Finals of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center. Man
USA TODAY Sports

Jackson was fantastic in the first quarter, scoring 11 points on 5-of-5 shooting. Then, the rest of the game happened.

In the second, third and fourth quarters, Jackson took five more shots and missed every one. He finished with the 11 points he started with.

Jackson's ability to score is huge, as the Spurs can't really "hide" Parker on him the way they would on Thabo Sefolosha. But he needs to be able to apply that pressure on offense throughout a game.

Grade: C

 

Kendrick Perkins, Center

May 29, 2014; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker (9) shoots past Oklahoma City Thunder center Kendrick Perkins (5) during the first half in game five of the Western Conference Finals of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center. Mandator
USA TODAY Sports

Perkins only played 16 minutes, but he still managed to grab six boards, dish out two assists and commit four fouls.

Offensively, he was as nonexistent as ever, as he went for zero points and missed his only shot attempt.

His size does seem to bother Duncan a bit, but he just couldn't keep up with San Antonio's smaller lineup and spent most of the game on the bench. 

Grade: C-

 

Steven Adams, Center

May 29, 2014; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan (21) looks to drive as Oklahoma City Thunder center Steven Adams (12) defends during the first half in game five of the Western Conference Finals of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Cen
USA TODAY Sports

Adams got the most minutes off the bench and played with his typical energy for all of his 20 minutes. He went at every loose ball and rebound as if grabbing it would seal a victory.

But as is the case with Leonard, Adams' contributions don't always show up in the box score. His six points and four rebounds don't jump off the page, but he played a much more solid game than the starting center.

Grade: B-

 

Bench

Four other OKC players got significant minutes off the bench before Scott Brooks pulled the plug on the game.

Nick Collison, Derek Fisher, Caron Butler and Jeremy Lamb combined to score 16 points on 5-of-15 shooting.

San Antonio's advantage here is enormous, and it could end up being the deciding factor in the series.

Grade: D

 

What's Next?

SAN ANTONIO, TX - MAY 29: Steven Adams #12 of the Oklahoma City Thunder fights for position with Manu Ginobili #20 and Tim Duncan #21 of the San Antonio Spurs in the first half during Game Five of the Western Conference Finals of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at
Chris Covatta/Getty Images

After five blowouts for the home teams, the series now shifts back to Oklahoma City.

The Thunder have been much better there and will need another big effort from Durant and Westbrook to avoid elimination.

For the Spurs, they need to move the ball on the road the way they have at home. They don't really get into trouble unless the ball stops.

Game 6 is set for Saturday, May 31, at 8:30 p.m. ET.

 

Andy Bailey covers the NBA for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewDBailey.

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