Talk about good old fashion butt whoopings, that's exactly what OKC gave to San Antonio on route to a 102-82 victory in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals. With the thunderous crowd behind them Kevin Durant and co. made a statement, which I'm pretty sure must have been "Sweeping us is out of the question !". Now it really is as the series is 2-1, with game 4 coming next back in Oklahoma City. Tonight wasn't a 40 or 30 point barrage by Kevin Durant, or Russell Westbrook. Instead it was the ultimate team win, as everyone stepped up and completely dismantled Greg Popavich's Spurs, snapping their 20 game winning streak.
The Thunder took a page right out of San Antonio's book winning the post battle, they outscored the Spurs in the paint 44-22. Just a testament of how hard they battled down low. Big men Serge Ibaka, and Kendrick Perkins were in the zone. Blocking shots left and right combining for 6 blocks (3 a piece). 6th man of the Year James Harden scoring 15 points, and grabbing 4 rebounds. His intensity of the bench could be felt from the TV screen. Whether it was his hard driving in the lane, or stare down on Spur's players it was a great feel for them. That sort of toughness was needed tonight in order to win tonight's game. Superstars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook were not firing like they usually do but they made sure that they contributed not only to their own success but to their teammates as well. Durant put up a stat line of 22 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists. While Westbrook had a more relaxed but efficient game of 10 points, 7 rebounds, and a team high 9 assists. The star tonight however was Thabo Sefolosha scoring 19 points, grabbing 6 rebounds, and garnering a team high 6 steals.
The Spurs seemed in the game until the second quarter. Off shooting was the story tonight for Greg Popavich's boys as they shot 39.5 percent from the floor. Pretty low compared to their other playoff performances. Tony Parker (16 points) and Stephen Jackson (16 points) were the high scorers and shot well, but still it wasn't enough. With a combined 18 points Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobli both struggled as Duncan shot 5 for 15 for 11 points, and Ginobli shot 3-11 with only 7 points. The rest of the supporting cast such as Daniel Green 1 of 3, Kawhi Leonard 1of 3, and Boris Diaw 0 of 2 were also victims of off shooting nights. It wasn't only from in play shots as well, the team had an off free throw percentage of 73.3 percent. Seeing how nothing got better for San Antonio the turnover battle was lost as well, losing that one 21 to 7. Greg Popavich pulled his starters completely as the Spurs were down 95 to 68 with just 5:56 to go in the 4th quarter. The only bright spot for San Antonio was Tim Duncan garnering 5 blocks, passing Kareem Abdul Jabbar to become number one all-time in blocks during the NBA Playoffs (477).
The Spurs were picked apart tonight due to the Thunder's great defense, and great play in the post. Playing from the inside out made it harder for San Antonio to keep up with the perimeter players of OKC, and it showed early.The intensity OKC had tonight was too much, especially from moments such as Kevin Durant's big dunk over Tim Duncan. Combine that with some of the worst shooting we've seen from the Spurs this season, this game was all OKC all night. With some confidence, and the more than lively home crowd behind them OKC will look to even this series up in Game 4. I expect the Spurs to come back more focused, and playing to Coach Popavich's liking, as well as the Thunder playing their hearts out.
Game 4 is Saturday at 8:30 pm, On TNT