For all their years playing together, the San Antonio Spurs core of veterans know what to expect on Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals against the Durant-led Thunder. For even in games 1 and 2 where the Spurs played with home court advantage, the Thunder showed they can really keep the game close, they can play physical on both ends of the floor, and they are a quick defensive team. With this, the Spurs have to wonder, how tougher can the Thunder be at home?
Oklahoma is a very young team, the type that can really feed of the cheers of the home crowd. That makes them particularly dangerous. As Parker said in their finals sweep against the Lebron-led Cavaliers years ago: ‘They are a young team. And young teams, you should not give them hope.’
This holds even more true for the Oklahoma Thunder, as they have a rare combination of athleticism, discipline, teamwork and talent. For all the brilliance of the Spurs in their last two games, Oklahoma really made them earn every point the hard way. Even after brilliant passes by the NBA’s best passing team, the Thunder’s fresher legs never gave the Spurs the luxury of a wide open attempt.
Things can only get tougher for the Spurs, especially when the Thunder’s superstars find ways to avoid those offensive fouls. Sensing that the Thunder is way more physical, the Spurs turned to make things more cerebral: sacrificing bodies to get the Thunder to commit more turnovers. In game 1 alone, the Thunder were clearly outsmarted by the veteran Spurs with Durant, Westbrook and especially Harden getting whistled for multiple fouls.
Without those errors that the Spurs are quick to capitalize into points, Games 1 and 2 could have gone the other way. But that is history and the Thunder is looking forward to please their home crowd and make the series more interesting.
The Oklahoma City Thunder vows to play more physical and the Spurs look as ready as ever to face even that. That is enough of a guarantee for an interesting match on Tuesday, May 31 at 900pm ET.
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