May 19, 2014; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard (2) has his shot blocked by Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (35) in game one of the Western Conference Finals in the 2014 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

2014 NBA Western Conference Finals: Game 3 Preview

The 2014 NBA Western Conference Finals between the San Antonio Spurs and the Oklahoma City Thunder has been one-sided, to say the least.

Silver and Black Basketball Attack.

Air Alamo covered Game 1 and Game 2, both blowout wins for San Antonio, so Game 3 is pivotal for the Thunder.

May 21, 2014; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker (9) shoots the ball past Oklahoma City Thunder center Steven Adams (behind) in game two of the Western Conference Finals of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Though they are down 2-0, Kevin Durant and company return home to OKC for Game 3 and 4. OKC has one of the best crowds in the NBA, and they will certainly need all the help they can get to keep their season alive. Teams very rarely come back from a 2-0 deficit, and no teams has ever come back from a 3-0 hole; but the Thunder have history on their side.

Can the Thunder repeat history and pull off another spectacular comeback to reach the Miami Heat NBA Finals?

Unfortunately for OKC fans, all signs point to the negative. Bleacher Report’s Stephen Babb reminds us of their loss of star power as compared to the 2012 series:

If the Thunder are going to repeat their 2012 series comeback, the ball will have to start moving. Durant and Westbrook should undoubtedly take the majority of shots, but they still have to let the offense come to them. If they get better looks, they could turn this series around—even without significant help from their supporting cast.

All the same, there are important differences between this series and its 2012 iteration.

Serge Ibaka is missing in action on account of a calf injury, and that puts a serious crimp in OKC’s ability to shut down the paint without collapsing the entire defense.

The Thunder are also missing James Harden this time around. That’s nothing new, but it’s a game changer in terms of this squad’s ability to recover from a 2-0 deficit.

Harden made over 49 percent of his field-goal attempts during the 2012 series, serving as an all-important third scorer and easing the pressure on Durant and Westbrook to do it all. He made over 60 percent of his three-point attempts in that series, spacing the floor and sinking dagger after dagger.

The Thunder no longer have the luxury of overwhelming star power. They can’t rely on talent alone this time. They have to instead utilize a team-oriented offense that keeps the Spurs off balance. Among all the adjustments Brooks makes in advance of Game 3, that will be priority No. 1.

Proof of the need for more ball movement? Just count the assists. Through the first two games, San Antonio has a combined 55 assists. The Thunder have just 37.

Tom Osborn of the San Antonio Express-News gathered meticulous quotes from the Spurs players, who always seem careful about what they say (except maybe for Boris Diaw).

Ginobili: “We can’t get satisfied…We have to be very humble, knowing we are in same spot as we were 2 years ago. #Spurs

— Tom Orsborn (@tom_orsborn) May 22, 2014

Duncan: “Defensively, we were good. Shots will go in some days, shots won’t go in some days. But if we defend like that, we (win).” #Spurs

— Tom Orsborn (@tom_orsborn) May 22, 2014

More from Ginobili on not blowing this one: "We cannot take anything for granted...It is never over until you win the fourth game." #Spurs

— Tom Orsborn (@tom_orsborn) May 22, 2014

Will the Spurs Sweep OKC?

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  Game 3 begins Sunday, May 25th 8:30 pm. ET on TNT. If you're in OKC, Totally Tickets has tickets to Game 3.

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Tags: 2014 NBA Playoffs 2014 Western Conference Finals San Antonio Spurs

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