Game 3 in this Western Conference Finals matchup between the San Antonio Spurs and the Oklahoma City Thunder begins tonight at an early Sunday time of 7:30 pm Central time. You can read a full preview of the game from earlier this week here.
May 21, 2014; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich watches from the sideline against the Oklahoma City Thunder in game two of the Western Conference Finals of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
Despite a 2-0 lead in this series, the Spurs will be trying to avoid a repeat of 2012 when they took a 2-0 lead at home only to drop the next four games and lose the series. These are not the same Spurs though, and from what they are saying, seem to be locked into game 3.
Patty Mills on facing desperate OKC team: “We can’t just react to their punches. We have to come out swinging as well.”
— Jeff McDonald (@JMcDonald_SAEN) May 25, 2014
Everywhere you look on Spurs related Twitter feeds you can see quotes like this, be it Tony Parker saying they aren’t going to even think about their series lead, to Danny Green saying we’re prepared for anything. I don’t expect the Spurs to be rattled by the Thunder’s home court advantage, or even the return of…. Okay, I’ve avoided it for long enough so let’s get it over with. Serge Ibaka is back. I’m not going to rehash it, but you can read about it here, here, and here.
Clearly the Thunder’s staff were trying to play mind games with the Spurs, bringing Ibaka back much earlier than they originally announced. In 8 days he went from “out of the 2014 NBA playoffs”, to “day-to-day”. Interesting…
Back to good news for the Spurs: Tony Parker should be feeling better after his injury problems in the first two games! After two beat downs by a combined 50+ points with a hobbling Parker, it will be interesting to see what a fully healthy point guard will do. Given how basketball logic works, we can expect a drubbing from OKC, right? (Yes, that’s my attempt at a reverse jinx.)
According to Bovada.lv, the Spurs are a two point underdog tonight in the Chesapeake Energy Arena. That sort of margin isn’t worth taking in a game like this, and I would imagine that the emotional boost from seeing Ibaka back on the court, not to mention the fact that he is a huge improvement over Kendrick Perkins, will be enough for the Thunder to win the game and get back in this series.
Will the Spurs Win Game 3 Tonight Against OKC?