Tim Duncan could not quite explain the wild swings this Western Conference Finals has seen. Gregg Popovich jokingly would not even answer the question.
It is strange though how momentum changes as the teams travel to each other’s buildings. Two Spurs blowouts at San Antonio in the first two games were followed with two Thunder blowouts in Oklahoma City. San Antonio looked like the team reeling after giving up the last two games and looking completely helpless on offense. Popovich had to change his lineup, finding the right mix inserting Boris Diaw into the lineup.
Whatever buttons Popovich pushed worked incredibly well. A 30-point win well, as the Spurs won 117-89.
San Antonio’s balance and pace returned. The Spurs moved the ball seamlessly and got the 3-point shots they were not getting in Oklahoma City. San Antonio found its rhythm.
The Thunder lost that rhythm. Serge Ibaka was not as much of a presence in the paint as he was the previous two games. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook got their numbers but did not find the rhythm to keep this game close. Not after the first quarter.
Tim Duncan scored 22 points and Manu Ginobili scored 19 points for the Spurs. Durant scored 25 points and Westbrook had 21 points. But Oklahoma City shot just 43 percent from the floor.
Now if the Thunder want to win this series, they will have to win one game at AT&T Center. That has not changed. But first they have to return the favor on their home court.