A Swing of Momentum

There’s a change in the air at Chesapeake Energy Arena, the momentum that was once held by the San Antonio Spurs is in the hands of the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Oklahoma City Thunder was finally at home for game three of their best of seven series against the Spurs. During TNT’s pre-game analysis, the commentators: Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal, Kenny “The Jet” Smith, and Ernie Johnson were breaking down everything from the last two games. During their analysis, they had an interview with Manu Ginobili and he said that he and the rest of the Spurs were looking to be a more offensive team in order to beat the youth of the Thunder. Derek Fisher of the Thunder was interviewed and he simply said, “You just have to want it.” With all the pieces being set together Charles Barkley felt that in order for the Thunder to win one of the Thunder’s supporting players had to step up and have a game with at least 20 points. Most importantly he focused on the play of Surge Ibaka, Dequan Cook, or Thabo Sefolosha. For the Spurs to continue to win Tony Parker and Ginobili needed to be very key players for their offense.

Oklahoma got the win with big help from a supporting player in Thabo Sefolosha who had 19 points, 6 steals, and 6 rebounds. His six steals tied the franchise records for the most steals in a playoff game. Kevin Durant had a good game and was the team’s leading scorer with 22 points and 6 rebounds. Russell Westbrook was key for opening the passing lane with 9 assists and he contributed with 10 points. Game 3 was the Thunder’s game; they shoot excellent from the free throw line and only committed 7 turnovers. As opposed to the 21 they caused San Antonio to commit with their defense. The Thunder were also able to hold the Spurs two most active players on offense, Parker and Ginobili, to just 16 points a piece.

When the first quarter started the Thunder came out of the gate rolling and began an 8-0 run within the first two minutes of the quarter. The Spurs retaliated with a 12-4 run making the first quarter was a close game with a lot of lead changes and the Spurs ended the 1st quarter with a two-point lead of 24-22. After a short three-point lead in the start of the 2nd it strictly became the Thunder’s game. In the second quarter the Thunder outscored the Spurs 37 to 17. The Thunder dominated the boards and points in the paint. Their defense was on point as well causing the Spurs to commit 6 turnovers that quarter. Ending the quarter with a 13-point lead of 41-54. At half time the analysts said that Thunder couldn’t get comfortable and they wondered in the Spur’s defense could adjust.

The Thunder didn’t get comfortable and the Spur’s defense couldn’t adjust. The Thunder offense didn’t let up. Their defense continued to do their job and caused 5 more turnovers and the Thunder offense dominated the categories of fast break points, points in the paint, and second chance points. At the Spurs started the 3rd with solid defense that kept the Thunder on the perimeter and shortly after the Thunder found an answer and began to continue to dominate. In the third the Thunder had their first lead of at least 20 points and ended the quarter with an 18-point lead of 60-78. By the fourth quarter the Spurs’ chances of sparking a comeback became more and more bleak. The Spurs were shooting worse than they had in both games 1 and 2. The Thunder’s supporting cast of Sefolosha, Harden, and Ibaka were all having good games. Harden with 15 points and Ibaka with 14 points and 4 blocks. The Thunder had their biggest lead of 25 and they outscored the Spurs in the fourth quarter as well with 24-22. The Thunder won game 3 with a score of 82-102 with a 20-point lead.

The Spurs had some great moments; Duncan became number one in blocks during the playoffs. The Spurs game into game 3 with the advantage; they had a 20-game winning streak and were about to break records. However, the Thunder came out just wanting it more. Their defense shut down Parker and Ginobili who had been explosive scorers in the previous games combining for 44 points in-game one and 54 points in-game two. Yet, in-game three the two only combined for 32 points. With the Thunder’s explosive offense and great play from their supporting cast along with the team’s solid defense. The questions that remains are can the Thunder keep this new momentum they obtained going? Or will the Spurs find an answer and be able to pull away with a win in-game 4? Find out on Saturday June 2nd at 8:30pm on TNT.

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