The NBA Playoffs: Thunder Strike Down the Spurs

Kevin Durant and the Thunder blasted the Spurs and their
20-game win streak to inch closer in their series.
(Photo by Getty Images)
#StreakBusted #itsaseries
Finally, the Western Finals got a lot more competitive with the Thunder's blowout win in Game 3, 102-82. The 20-game winning streak and flawless playoffs for the Spurs were busted and the Thunder has crept back into the series with a chance to tie it at 2-2 on Saturday night. The Thunder played with more intensity and passion all-game long as they harassed the Spurs into 21 turnovers, below 40% shooting and just 82 points which was their lowest total in the last 20 games. The Thunder showcased better defense on the pick and rolls and they executed better on offense by simply going for the extra pass and finding the open man. There was also the special performance by Thabo Sefolosha who made a difference on both ends of the court. 

#UnsungHero #MyNameIsThabo
The scoring outburst of Thabo Sefolosha was a BIG surprise. The Spurs did not expect the defensive stopper to score 19 points and take 16 shots. The Thunder probably did not expect him to score that much as well since they relied on him to play perimeter defense. In the previous two games, Thabo averaged 4.5 points and 5.5 shots in 23 minutes of action. How big was Thabo in Game 3? He outscored Duncan and Ginobili and he still played great defense as he came up with 6 steals. Thabo started the game guarding Tony Parker and he was the main reason the Thunder started strong as he forced Parker (5 turns) and the Spurs to commit a bunch of early turnovers. In Game 3, the Thunder had a Big 4 while the Spurs had nothing.

Thabo Sefolosha had the best game of his playoff career as he
did damage on both ends of the court with 19 points and 6 steals
(Photo by Getty Images)

#turnovers #startover
The best team in the NBA came back to earth after their blowout loss to the Thunder. They were unable to make a comeback this time after being down by 27 points. The 21 turnovers killed the Spurs as those led to 20 points for OKC. Their Big 3 had sub par games as they combined for 35 points, 11 rebounds, 6 assists and 11 turnovers (Thunder had 8). Their high-powered offense was sputtering tonight as they shot poorly (below 40%) and they could not stop Thabo from scoring. This loss could end up being good for the Spurs because now they get to make adjustments and they could learn something. A little adversity could go a long way for them. The Spurs will start a new streak on Game 4 and the Thunder hopes that it will be a 2-game losing streak.

#strategy #adjustments
The Thunder did some adjustments on defense that allowed them to get an early lead and then later on, finish the Spurs. Thabo became the primary defender on Tony Parker. That was a great decision since Westbrook got burned often by Parker in the last game. Parker was held to only 16 points after scoring 34 in the last game. The Thunder also did better on their defense against the pick and roll as they trapped and switched on the ball handler often. The Spurs only got 12 points from pick and roll sets while they averaged about 30 points from those sets in the first 2 games. On offense, Westbrook became more of a passer and facilitator as Durant and Sefolosha actually had more shot attempts than him. Russell also played better defense as he got 2 blocks on jumpers by Parker. The Thunder attacked the paint with more aggression as they ended with a 44-24 advantage in points in the paint.

#Tweet of the Night

Thabo Sefolosha joins LeBron, Rondo and KG as only players in last five years to have 19 points, six boards and six steals in a playoff game

#News #Stats

  • Thunder is 6-0 at home and Game 4 is at Chesapeake Arena
  • Tim Duncan is now the all-time playoff leader in blocks
  • Russell Westbrook was +29
  • Durant got a technical foul from complaining while on the bench
  • Parker and Duncan did not play in the 4th quarter
  • Perkins gave the TNT commentators "something to talk about"
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