Amidst chants of “Referee’s Suck” and debris being thrown on the court by irate fans, the Spurs Defense held true till the end to allow them to snatch a 91-79 win in game 4 of the Western Conference Finals.
Traces of Deron Williams Stomach Flu didn’t seem to manifest itself in the first 3 quarters as he shot 18 points in the first half and made mincemeat of Bruce Bowen’s Defense. But come fourth quarter he started sputtering. I don’t know if the stomach virus he had reared its ugly head on the fourth quarter, when he started missing shots and was literally out ran by Parker for an uncontested layup during a fastbreak, or is Parker just that quick? Deron Williams top scored for his team with 27 pts and 10 assists despite tying Duncan with 5 turnovers.
In the first quarter, Okur and Fisher frustrated Duncan by stripping the ball from him whenever he made his post move to the basket. The Spurs countered this stifling defense by feeding the ball deeper inside the paint to Duncan so that all he had to do was make one dribble before shooting. Oberto was consistent and reliable for the Spurs in the first half whenever Duncan was covered. For added statistics, Oberto has an 82% FG% in this series. Despite the shooting woe’s for Duncan in the first half, he countered it by playing good defense and staying out of foul trouble. The big guy finished the game with 19 points, 9 rebounds and 5 blocks.
The Spurs, as if on cue started to break away on the 2nd quarter and ending it with an 8pt lead. The Jazz however, also on cue, countered it on the 3rd quarter and whittled down the Spurs 11 pt lead. However come fourth quarter the Spurs defense created opportunities for them to score via turnovers.
The keys to this game were:
- Ginobli - he frustrated Fisher enough to get him thrown out of the game in account of 2 technical fouls. In the fourth it was him and Duncan who dismantled the defense of the Jazz by attacking Okur and Boozer in the paint and getting them into foul trouble. Ginobli also hit a momentum killing 3 that ended the Jazz’s run and started the Spurs own 4th quarter run.
- Duncan keeping himself out of foul trouble - while doing the opposite to Okur and Boozer. Since Duncan was able to preserve his fouls, the Spurs could afford to play just 8 men compared to the Jazz’s 10 man rotation. The game was also kept close on account of Duncan missing his free throws (shades of his 64% FT% in the regular season) but come the fourth he started clicking on the FT line that fouling him was not an option that the Jazz could take.
- Spurs defense - definitely the Spurs defense, via Ginobli’s quick hands, closed out the game by creating turnovers that the Spurs capitalized on and turned into points. They created about 10 turnovers for the Jazz during the 4th quarter (17 total for the game vs the Spurs 11)
Box scores and stats here[source]