The Oklahoma City Thunder picked up a crucial 106-97 win over the San Antonio Spurs in game three of the Western Conference Finals on Sunday night. Serge Ibaka made his much anticipated return after only missing two games due to a calf strain and he did not disappoint. Ibaka sparked the offense early by hitting his trademark elbow jump shot multiple times in the first quarter. Not only was he hitting his jumpers, but the Thunder power forward was showing confidence in his calf by putting the ball on the floor and attacking the basket. More importantly Ibaka was a menace defensively, blocking four shots in the game and altering many more. Serge also set the tone for the entire team on the defensive end. All night long the Thunder was playing with great intensity on defense not allowing the Spurs to find a groove.
The one Spurs player to have success scoring on Sunday was Manu Ginobili. The Argentinian shooting guard scored 20 points in the first half alone, but was unable to translate that to the second half as he finished with 23. It was not the best game for the duo of Tim Duncan and Tony Parker. The future hall of famers combined to go 11-30 from the floor.
The Thunder offense as a whole was clicking throughout although neither Russell Westbrook nor Kevin Durant had a great game. Both finished 8-19 from the floor and they combined to score 51. That is by no means a bad performance from either, but not what they are capable of. The Thunder offense was able to be successful because everyone was involved and the spacing on the floor was terrific. Scott Brooks did a great job of making adjustments with his lineup to put his team in the best position to win.
Reggie Jackson was added to the starting lineup and the move was a success. Jackson finished with 15 points and 5 assists, and took some pressure off Durant and Westbrook throughout.
Heading in to game four on Tuesday night, the tone of this series has changed dramatically. Only a few days ago the Thunder was down 2-0, missing one of their best players, and getting thoroughly dominated. Now, the team is one home win away from tying the series and putting themselves back in position to move on to the finals. After their performance tonight they should be confident they can do just that.
Check back in on Monday for more reactions from the writers of Thunderous Intentions.