Every morning, we’ll give you five things from the night before in the NBA to start your day.
1: The Spurs…… lose?
This has to be some kind of special effect, right? That was Hollywood CGI that made the Thunder fly all over the court and make more baskets than the Spurs, wasn’t it?
After a 20 game winning streak and no losses since April 9, it’s hard to believe the Spurs would drop a game again, much less get spanked by 20. But the reality was that it was bound to happen, and when you consider the desperation facing OKC, combined with the fact that they’re at home, it was not real surprise that the win came in Game 3.
The Spurs were sloppy and slow, playing at a pace that that netted them their lowest scoring output of the season. The Thunder played for their lives and got the kind of unexpected contributions that you need to beat a team like San Antonio in the playoffs. They made adjustments to put a better defender (Thabo Sefolosha) on Tony Parker that San Antonio will have to counter. The Spurs will obviously need more than 35 points out of the Duncan/Parker/Ginobili trio, but more than that they need more than six points out of their three other staters (Kawhi Leonard, Boris Diaw and Danny Green).
It’s still not very likely that the Thunder will beat the Spurs three more times in four tries. But it’s not impossible, either. So we’ll have to wait and see if this is one of those “smack you in the face” losses for the Spurs that ultimately is good for them, or if it’s the beginning of a shift that tilts this series in OKC’s favor.
2: Duncan makes history
Tim Duncan last night became the all-time leader in shots blocked during the playoffs.
Add it to the list of his achievements. I could go on and on with obvious statements about Duncan’s greatness. I’ll spare you all that and just say there’s a reason the Spurs have been contenders every year he’s been in the league. Congrats, Timmy.
Russell Westbrook gets the alley oop from Harden
Kevin Durant with the big slam
4: Line of the Night: Thabo Sefolosha – 19 points, 6 rebounds, 6 steals
Sefolosha is certainly capable of more nights similar to this, but this was still unexpected offense. The 19 points matched his highest output with OKC and was three points shy of his career high. Of course, Sefolosha is known more for his defense, which resulted in six steals. And the combination of defensive and offensive contributions are the biggest reason for OKC’s huge win. Durant, Westbrook, and Harden will all generally have good nights at the same time. But taking the load off them like this makes life so much easier.
5: You can quote me on that
“They played like it was a closeout game, both offensively and defensively. They were very active, physical; they moved the ball well on offense. They did all those things better than we did. They beat us good.”