Thunder vs. Spurs Game 3 Preview


Friday, May 6th 2016, 6:35 am
By: News 9


Well, well, well…

Things certainly took a U-turn in this series on Monday night when Oklahoma City responded from a 124-92 loss in Game 1 to stun the Spurs by a point in Game 2. The impressive performance almost ended in disaster for OKC, but after a no-rules-just-right final possession where each team committed multiple unseen violations, the Thunder ended up on the high side.

It was only the Spurs’ second home loss of the season. San Antonio tied the all-time record by going 40-1 at the AT&T Center during the regular season before hammering Memphis twice there in the first round and OKC in Game 1.

So now the Thunder come back to Oklahoma City with the series tied 1-1 and their chances of winning this thing looking suddenly more optimistic.

Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook bounced back from poor Game 1 performances to shine in Game 2. The star duo combined for 57 points on 50 percent shooting in Game 2, while OKC got 12 points apiece from Serge Ibaka, Enes Kanter and Steven Adams.

Oklahoma City won despite LaMarcus Aldridge going for 41 points on 15-of-21 shooting. That came on the heels of Aldridge’s 38 points on 18-of-23 shooting (in just 30 minutes) in Game 1.

Adams and Ibaka have spent the first two games getting torched by Aldridge without much, if any, help defense. And even though OKC’s bigs might be hoisting the S.O.S. flag, it doesn’t appear that any help is coming.

Thunder coach Billy Donovan said this week that because of the 3-point threats of Patty Mills, Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green, Oklahoma City can’t really to send perimeter help. Donovan mentioned that the Thunder will have to be selective as to when they help and whom they leave open.   

Dion Waiters exclaimed that “one man can’t beat you.” That’s a debatable stance considering Aldridge was the only Spurs starter to play well in Game 2 and it was a one-point contest; but it’s the philosophy OKC is going to go with, and it’s probably the right one in this case. The Spurs make opponents pay for overhelping as well as any team in the NBA, and Oklahoma City really can’t afford to simply pray for misses.

Oklahoma City will also need to replicate the energy it had in Game 2, which should be easier considering this one is at The Peake. But part of the Thunder’s rebound from that horrid Game 1 was out of pure pride. Will they have the same hunger coming off of a win?

“You have a game like we did in Game 1 – get embarrassed – and as men if that don’t burn your soul, how bad we lost, then you shouldn’t be in this league,” Waiters said. “We knew we were going to be a different team.”

So let’s get down to Friday night. The Thunder have a real shot to plant some seeds of doubt into the minds of the mighty Spurs with a Game 3 win. The Peake should be rocking at historic decibel levels as tipoff arrives at 8:30 p.m.

It's probably a safe bet that the Spurs will get more out of Kawhi Leonard, who scored just 14 points in Game 2 and did not hit a 3. San Antonio will also need more from Tim Duncan and Tony Parker, who combined for just nine points on 4-of-17 shooting.

One other note: the Spurs are a two-point favorite on the road, which is something you can bet that the Thunder players will be made aware of prior to tipoff.

Adams and Ibaka have spent the first two games getting torched by Aldridge without much, if any, help defense. And even though OKC’s bigs might be hoisting the S.O.S. flag, it doesn’t appear that any help is coming.

I don't think Serge Ibaka has been dominated like this since Dirk lit him up in 2011. LaMarcus Aldridge is getting whatever he wants.

— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) May 3, 2016

Thunder coach Billy Donovan said this week that because of the 3-point threats of Patty Mills, Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green, Oklahoma City can’t really to send perimeter help. Donovan mentioned that the Thunder will have to be selective as to when they help and whom they leave open.   

Dion Waiters exclaimed that “one man can’t beat you.” That’s a debatable stance considering Aldridge was the only Spurs starter to play well in Game 2 and it was a one-point contest; but it’s the philosophy OKC is going to go with, and it’s probably the right one in this case. The Spurs make opponents pay for overhelping as well as any team in the NBA, and Oklahoma City really can’t afford to simply pray for misses.

Oklahoma City will also need to replicate the energy it had in Game 2, which should be easier considering this one is at The Peake. But part of the Thunder’s rebound from that horrid Game 1 was out of pure pride. Will they have the same hunger coming off of a win?

“You have a game like we did in Game 1 – get embarrassed – and as men if that don’t burn your soul, how bad we lost, then you shouldn’t be in this league,” Waiters said. “We knew we were going to be a different team.”

So let’s get down to Friday night. The Thunder have a real shot to plant some seeds of doubt into the minds of the mighty Spurs with a Game 3 win. The Peake should be rocking at historic decibel levels as tipoff arrives at 8:30 p.m.

It's probably a safe bet that the Spurs will get more out of Kawhi Leonard, who scored just 14 points in Game 2 and did not hit a 3. San Antonio will also need more from Tim Duncan and Tony Parker, who combined for just nine points on 4-of-17 shooting.

Danny on helping Aldridge in Game 3 on the offensive end ... #Spurs #Thunder pic.twitter.com/b8H4WuWwOS

— Jabari Young (@JabariJYoung) May 4, 2016

One other note: the Spurs are a two-point favorite on the road, which is something you can bet that the Thunder players will be made aware of prior to tipoff.

","published":"2016-05-06T11:35:56.000Z","updated":"2016-05-06T11:35:56.000Z","summary":"

Serge Ibaka is hanging on for dear life against LaMarcus Aldridge in this series.

","affiliate":{"_id":"5cc353fe1c9d440000d3b70f","callSign":"kwtv","origin":"https://www.news9.com"},"contentClass":"sports_nba","createdAt":"2020-01-31T23:05:12.146Z","updatedAt":"2020-03-31T17:18:31.853Z","__v":1,"show":true,"link":"/story/5e34b2a8527dcf49dad8d499/thunder-vs-spurs-game-3-preview","hasSchedule":false,"id":"5e34b2a8527dcf49dad8d499"};