San Antonio Spurs vs. Oklahoma City ThunderAT&T Center, San Antonio, TX
May 25, 2014, 7:30 PM Spurs Time
TV: TNT - RADIO: 1200 AM WOAI
What with all of the time that's passed since Game 2, and all the rest days we've had to dive into all the developments, I decided to do this preview a bit differently. So, let's look at the numbers.
2-0 - Spurs lead series
Well, we've been here before, haven't we? 2 years ago in 2012 Western Conference Finals the Spurs traveled up to Oklahoma city with a 2 game lead and dropped 2 games to the Thunder. I discussed this with J.A. Sherman of Welcome to Loud City, but he doesn't think that this year's situation is too like that one:
I'd say the series are more dissimilar than similar ... without its anchor in Serge Ibaka, and aside from the rim protection, it has also royally screwed up the Thunder's collective predatory psyche. Their defense is doing the one thing that you never want a defense to do: second-guess itself. Right now, the Thunder D has no course of action against the Spurs' onslaught, in part or in whole, and that's where it is affecting them psychologically. No team can completely take away everything the other team is trying to do, but you have to take some things away in order to feel some success. In 2012, OKC took away Tony Parker. This time around, it doesn't look like they're trying to take away anything and by trying to defend everything, they defend nothing.
But now with the Serge Ibaka injury turning into a saga of it's own, will he be playing for OKC tonight?
Presti and Brooks [probably] decided to keep the rest of the team in the dark to prevent them from looking forward to Ibaka's return. Had Serge been day-to-day from game 1, his teammates could have been holding out hope he could be their savior when it wasn't really clear if he could come back. Now they are saying he could return because there's not a lot to lose, mentally, after the beat down.
111 - Big Three are alone in 1st place on the all time list of playoff victories
Travis Hale wrote a terrific tribute to the Big Three, who despite still having work to do crossed a major milestone to stand in sole possession of the most wins by any trio in NBA history.
Three ones, three individuals, joining together to create something that will never be duplicated. The three have won three championships together but insist they aren't yet finished, and to this point no one has risen to the challenge to prove them wrong. And while not possible, it's reassuring for Spurs fans to imagine the Big Three, the most successful trio to ever join forces, playing together in perpetuity on the hardwood inside the AT&T Center.
26 - Average margin of victory
The Spurs won Game 1 by 17 and Game 2 by 35. While it really makes no difference what the score is as long as the good guys have at least one more point than the Thunder at triple zeroes, there is the matter of San Antonio's record in playoff series during the Big Three era when they win a game by at least 25 points: when the Big Three are healthy, they're 14-1, with the only blemish on their record last year's Finals loss to the Heat.
Sometimes history is fun to study.
Matchup to watch: Serge Ibaka against anybody.
It's possible that he does't play at all. It's possible he doesn't even suit up. But if he suits up and plays, it's almost a certainty that he won't be to 100%. The question is: how close to his best can he play? And the followup question is: what does a fully healthy Nick Collison equal? A 60% Ibaka? 70%?
It's hard to say, but the wait is nearly over, and there should be answers to all of these questions in just about eight hours.
|Game 3, Western Conference Finals, 2014 NBA Playoffs|
|May 25, 2014|
|AT&T Center, San Antonio, TX|
|7:30 pm CST|
|TV: TNT - Radio: 1200 WOAI|
|Russell Westbrook||PG||Tony Parker|
|Thabo Sefolosha||SG||Danny Green|
|Kevin Durant||SF||Kawhi Leonard|
|Nick Collison||PF||Tim Duncan|
|Kendrick Perkins||C||Tiago Splitter|
|95.4 (9th)||Pace||95.0 (10th)|
|110.5 (6th)||ORtg||110.4 (7th)|
|103.9 (6th)||DRtg||102.4 (3rd)|
For the Thunder's perspective visit Welcome to Loud City.
Game Prediction: Spurs by some.
As always Tony must dominate Fisher, and you can get your San Antonio Spurs tickets from Daniel Farias with Spurs Sports & Entertainment:
Tel: 210-444-5607 | firstname.lastname@example.org