The Thunder responded, and they responded in a major way in last night’s second half. With their season on the brink and their franchise potentially at a disappointing and awkward crossroads, the Thunder dug in and found some extra resolve and simply blew past the Spurs late. Specifically, Kevin Durant went OFF. His offensive barrage, 12 in the 3rd quarter and 16 more in the 4th was enough to erase an early ten point deficit and instead win by a comfortable 14-point margin, 111-97.
A few things were odd about this game. First, it was the Spurs, not the Thunder who couldn’t close. The Thunder’s fourth quarter woes are well documented, but it was the Spurs getting drafted and passed in a second-half whip-around. Secondly, the Spurs, the beautiful basketball artists, played selfishly and “sticky” – a common description of the ball in a Thunder game. They recorded only 12 assists and turned in their lowest assist percentage since 1987!! In nearly THIRTY years, the Spurs haven’t played a less assist-efficient game. Unbelievable.
I put myself out there on this series. I really thought San Antonio was the better team and would win the series easier than most expected. I am not jumping off the Spurs side quite yet, but definitely admit the Thunder proved something the last three games. All of a sudden, this series has “seven game epic classic” potential…
Meanwhile, do the Blazers have some potential tonight? Signs are pointing to the soon-to-be minted two-time MVP sitting out yet AGAIN tonight. Portland exploded offensively in Game Three. Can the repeat the performance tonight at home??
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Today’s Free Pick:
Golden State Warriors -4.5 @ Portland Trailblazers (Total: 214)
SO can the Blazers shoot their way to another upset of the defending champs tonight? Well, Vegas doesn’t think so. Despite the dazzling shooting display from Big Gam Dame and the Blazers, the money is still backing the Warriors and the whole “never lose twice in a row” sentiment.
I’d have to agree. Portland was impressive in Game Three. Very impressive. They have now beaten the Warriors twice this season in impressive fashion. But the degree of difficulty of the shots they kept raining in is far too high to continue much longer. If a half dozen of those very difficult shots that found the mark bounce astray, we are looking at a far different game. And I think we will get that exact regression to the mean tonight.
Golden State, even without Curry, who is unlikely to play tonight according to all reports online around 9am this morning, the Warriors are still the better team. Look for their excellent defensive backcourt to force the same difficult shots from the Blazers’ guards – and to get a more balanced result this time. Occasionally shots just fall like rain and there is little a defense can do about it – that is the best way to describe Game Three.
I’ll take the Dubs getting back to business tonight and grabbing a commanding 3-1 lead in the series.