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Spurs vs. Thunder: Game 4 Pregame Primer

Spurs vs. Thunder: Game 4 Pregame Primer



Western Conference Semifinals (Best 4 of 7)

Spurs (6-1, 3-0 road) vs. Thunder (5-3, 2-2 home)

Radio: WWLS The Sports Animal (98.1 FM, 640 AM, 1300 AM The Buzz Tulsa)
Time: 7:00 PM CST

Spurs lead 2-1

Playoff Team Comparisons (per NBA.com/Stats – out of 16 teams)

  • Offensive Rating: Thunder – 111.3 (3rd), Spurs – 110.8 (4th)
    Defensive Rating: Thunder – 103.2 (9th), Spurs – 94.3 (1st)

As much as people hate to hear it, this is as much a must win game as any elimination game out there. Fall down to the Spurs 3-1 and that almost guarantees a trip for each Thunder player to their offseason villa. Have teams come back from 3-1 deficits before? Of course, as recently as last year’s Western Conference Semi-finals between the Los Angeles Clippers and Houston Rockets. But these Spurs aren’t those Clippers. They are disciplined, feisty, and experienced. Things the Clippers weren’t. So it comes down to tonight. Win, and the entire complexity of the series changes. Lose, and an aura of inevitability starts to set in for Oklahoma City. And that aura includes the thought that tonight may be the final time that we see Kevin Durant in Thunder whites.

3 Big Things

1. Turnovers

The same thing that plagued the Thunder during the regular season is starting to plague them in this second round series. Turn the ball over against a team like San Antonio, and you are essentially gifting them at least 2 points on the other end of the floor. The Spurs are third among playoff teams at converting turnovers into points at 17.7 per game. And luckily for the Spurs, the Thunder are committing 14 turnovers per game. And its the fact that most of the turnovers are of the live-ball variety. With players like Kawhi Leonard, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, and Patty Mills, the Spurs are able to convert turnovers into points at an alarming rate.

2. Pick and Role Defense

Instead of depending on LaMarcus Aldridge most of the game, they Spurs went to their bread and butter in Game 3, running the Thunder through the spin cycle with various pick and rolls throughout the floor. Too many times the Thunder got caught going under the pick, where Leonard and Parker caused the defense to shift enough to where the Spurs were able to find the open man.

3. Bring one more back to the ‘Peake

This could be the final home game for the Thunder as we know them. If the Thunder win, they are guaranteed a Game 6 in Oklahoma City. Let’s get that victory.

To any mothers reading this, Happy Mother’s Day from DT.