Arnovitz: Parker gave Westbrook a full-service workout
Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN, discussed the San Antonio Spurs offensive attack and how Tony Parker gave Russell Westbrook a full-service workout.
It must have been a cruel irony for Russell Westbrook that a game won largely on the effectiveness of San Antonio’s high picks for Tony Parker aimed at Westbrook was put on ice with Parker taking Westbrook one-on-one off the bounce.
All night, the Spurs had been running Westbrook ragged by pounding him with a wave of screens -- at the top of the floor from the Spurs' big men, off the ball as he tried to chase Parker around the Spurs' land mines. Westbrook's conditioning is among the best in the business, but there are physical and mental tolls to be paid by running into plaster walls, dodging shoulders, fighting through bodies for 50 reps of 20 seconds each. When it all came to a head and the Thunder trailed by eight inside of a minute, Parker milked some clock, crossed over Westbrook right to left, then stepped through and past Kevin Durant before bounding off his right leg for a four-foot floater.
For Westbrook, it might have been the least trying defensive possession of the night, but Parker still found the net, something he did 16 times from the field in Game 2. Parker was incredibly proficient as a jump shooter, hitting 11 of his 15 shots from beyond 10 feet. A good number of those looks were wide open, a product of either strong screens early in the shot clock that took Westbrook out of Parker's space, or of clean weak-side looks that materialized after the ball cycled through the Spurs' half-court waltz.
Was Parker the prime beneficiary of a perfect Spurs' offense, or was the offense perfect because Parker was driving it? Probably a little bit of both. Once the drive-and-kick game is established, the ball tends to find its way back to the team's best penetrator. When it did, Parker found seams in a Thunder defense that didn't know where the help was coming from quickly enough -- strong side, weak side, top, baseline? Oklahoma City wasn't atrocious, and Durant made a number of timely help rotations, but on a night like Tuesday, Parker gives a defense no latitude to deliberate.
Read the complete article on ESPN.