It looked like they were going to stifle the game of the year when Oklahoma City entered the Supernova towards the end of the fourth quarter, but the San Antonio Spurs held firm and beat one of their closest rivals in the Western Conference on Thursday night , in a double overtime time of 154-147.
The Spurs trusted in LaMarcus Aldridge all night, and the best player you've probably forgotten was a 56-point career night shooting 20:33 and adding 9 rebounds and 4 blocks. The thunder had no answer for him, especially in the crucial second overtime. In this final session, he scored seven points, including the free-kicking free-kicks.
The victory could be attributed to a great player enjoying the game of his life, but it was not just the LMA show. The Spurs were not quite as quiet the best team in the NBA last month or so. Since losing to the Lakers on December 5, San Antonio has broken a 1
As I wrote in the analysis of Brook Lopez's hilarious three-point obsession this year, the NBA has done so even more dramatically in the direction of a hyperefficient three-to-one offense. Not every team does it well, but almost every team has done it. However, San Antonio's best players are middle-class savants, and instead of asking them to do what everyone else does, Gregg Popovich seems content to do what they do best. In the season, both DeMar DeRozan and Aldridge shoot more than 95 percent of their shots from the two-point area, with a disproportionate number of shots from at least 10 meters away. (DeRozan shoots 51.2 percent of his ten-yard shots on the three-dot line, while Aldridge stands at 44.2 percent.)
It's not just the two who work in the NBA's black hole zone. Rudy Gay continues his personal struggle against perceived efficiency (33.6 percent of his shots come from the middle class), while Derrick White brings 24.6 percent more from the region. The Spurs have found that there is a tactical advantage in the tactically most unfashionable attitude of the game, and they have assumed the ability of their mid-ranking aces to score in the least desired spots on the court. Conventional wisdom and league-wide trends are damned, it works.
In the last 15 games, San Antonio has the best offensive rating in the league. With 116.6 points, she is just ahead of the James Harden Show in Houston. One of the misconceptions about mid-range violations is that they are about isolation games. The idea is that any middle-class attempt is the desperate remnant of a star player's failed hero ball attempt. The Spurs are a bit too good for that, though you can see it when things are not clicking, like at the end of the fourth quarter and the first overtime against Thursday's thunder. When the Spurs collapsed in those moments, the offense was just the stereotype – daring, broken possessions built around DeRozan, hammering the ball seemingly endlessly before shooting up terrific mid-jumpers. However, San Antonio has this middle-class Blows from the beginning. The ball movement is the eternal strategy: In the same 15 games, the team in the Assist ratio in third place, since 19.7 percent of his possessions ended with an assist. Derrick White has become a passerby over the past month, and he has some nice diminutive odds against Oklahoma City on Friday showing his progress as a playmaker, as highlighted by NBA author Jared Dubin : 
This renewed focus on the middle class does not mean that the Spurs have, of course, given up the Three Ball altogether. Rather, rather than focusing on what other teams do, they choose their points behind the arc. In the last 15 games of the team, there were only three of three games, which is the 28th place in the league. They reach them, however, with a maximum NBA of 43.6 percent. The clippers, who rank second, only reach 39.7 percent. Against the thunder, San Antonio started from three to a ridiculous 13-of-13 rank, including a fiery sequence in the first quarter where she hit four straight three-pointers, three of them by Marco Belinelli. (Side note: Other highlights should come with Japanese comments.)
How does Popovich continue this shit? When the team exchanged Kawhi Leonard – the first superstar to join the Spurs since Manu Ginobili in 2002 – against the productive but very flawed DeRozan, it was worth wondering if Spurs's reign would be over for good. After all, Popovich was one of the first coaches in the NBA modern era, which highlighted the ball movement and the three-point acuity, which DeRozan was blamed nothing.
Rather than trying to put DeRozan into Moreyball In the style of style, Pop went the other way and allowed his two middle-class obsessives to do what they do best. It took some time, especially because the team suffered from injuries at the beginning of the season, but now everyone clicks. Aldridge's custom bonanza on Friday was an anomaly, but he followed the blueprint that drove the team to the sixth seed in the west. The Spurs fired 80.8 percent of their shots from a two-point gap, but as they stepped behind the arch, they burned and reached a staggering 84.2 percent from downtown. The thunder had no answer to the Star of San Antonio, but he had no answer to Patty Mills draining an icy pullup pointer out of nowhere.
The good news for the thunder is that they immediately get another shot at the Spurs – the two teams play again on Saturday night in OKC. The bad news is that they face a team that looks like an unexpected juggernaut. San Antonio has just finished one of the best performances of Russell Westbrook of the season – a triple double with 24 points, 24 aides and 13 rebounds. Maybe Aldridge will not turn into the human version of a star Super Mario on Sunday, but the Spurs attack does not need that to win. As you proved last month, San Antonio is more than capable of spreading the ball and killing you with a thousand sections of the middle class.