The NBA: The French Blur

Tony Parker was clutch as the Spurs gained a measure of
vengeance against the OKC Thunder.
(image by Eric Gay/AP)
Russell Westbrook may be Jet Zero, but even he couldn’t stop the French blur that was Tony Parker in the only All Saints’ Day game of the 2012-2013 season.

In this rematch of last season’s Western Conference Finals, the Spurs barely came out on top. With both teams’ starting shooting guards from the previous series not playing – Manu Ginobili is still nursing back spasms while James Harden is off doing his thing for Houston – the focus was on the battle between San Antonio’s aging duo of Parker (he doesn’t look it, but Parker is already 30) and Tim Duncan against Oklahoma City’s youthful pairing of Olympians – Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.

TD pounded OKC’s insides early and often, finishing with 20 points and 8 rebounds in yet another display of his seeming timelessness. It was Parker, however, who stole the show, quite literally, in the endgame. The fiery Frenchman hit a big three, played good D in the next sequence, and hit the game-winner all in the final 30 seconds to lift the Spurs to win #2.

KD and Westbrook combined for 41 points, 22 rebounds, and 10 assists, but it was clear they missed Harden. His replacement, Kevin Martin, actually put up decent numbers – 15 points, 5 assists, and 3 treys – but the presence, especially on the defensive end, of Harden was the thing OKC needed more. It’s just one loss, on the Thunder’s first game at that, but it’s one that might be an indication of the power shift in the West. By handing over Harden to the Rockets, have the Thunder also handed the Western Conference back to the Spurs (let’s not even talk about the 0-2 Lakers yet)?

Game Recaps (courtesy of the Sports Network):
San Antonio 86, Oklahoma City 84
Tony Parker tied the contest with a late 3- pointer and then swished the game-winning jumper as time expired in the San Antonio Spurs' 86-84 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder in a rematch of the Western Conference finals. The Frenchman banged home a triple from the left corner with 28 seconds left and Russell Westbrook turned the ball over on the Thunder's ensuing possession. Westbrook then got lost while covering Parker, who came off a down screen before getting the ball at the left wing. He took a dribble to his left before burying the wide-open jumper.

Tony Parker was left momentarily open and
the Thunder paid for it.
(image by Eric Gay/AP)

Kevin Durant receives an alley-oop pass
from Olympic teammate Russell Westbrook.
(image by Eric Gay/AP)

Serge Ibaka clutches his shorts after the
Thunder lost to the Spurs.
(image by Eric Gay/AP)

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