May 17, 2012; San Antonio, Texas, USA; San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich during the first half in game two of the Western Conference semifinals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs against the Los Angeles Clippers at the AT

The Oklahoma City Thunder Learned What the Clippers Learned Last Week

The San Antonio Spurs are really darn good… and they know how to close out a game as evidenced by their 19 game winning streak.

The Spurs did not quite look like the best version of themselves for the first 3 quarters of their game 1 against the Oklahoma City Thunder. And then Popovich gave what might go down as one of the best coaching moments of his career if it leads to something bigger down the road. He told his crew that he wanted “some nasty.”

The Spurs responded by outscoring the Thunder 16-2 in the paint in the 4th quarter.

Tim Duncan had 16 points and 11 rebounds while Tony Parker added 18 points and six assists as San Antonio outscored Oklahoma City 50-26 in the paint during the game.

“The heat of the game, stuff comes up (like the comment about ‘some nasty’). I thought we were playing a bit unconfidently, kind of on our heels, a little bit unsure of ourselves, on the dribble too much,” Gregg Popovich said. “So I talked to them about getting a little bit uglier, get a little more nasty, play with more fiber and take it to those guys. We got that way in the fourth quarter.”

Ginobli was clearly the star of this one, though. He hit a ridiculous 3-point buzzer-beater at the end of the 1st quarter, split double teams in the pick-and-roll with ease, and faked out Kevin Durant on a beautiful pass-fake in the 4th quarter on the way to 11 points. He scored a team-leading 26 points on only 14 field goal attempts, and also added in 5 rebounds and 3 assists.

Game 2 will be crucial for the Thunder, who do not want to go down 2-0 against a Spurs team that has not lost a game since early April. It should be a thrilling game 2 tonight. Who will bring the nasty?

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Tags: Gregg Popovich Manu Ginobli

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