The Oklahoma City Thunder will enter Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals with a set of renewed confidence in themselves and chances of moving onto the NBA Finals Saturday. That's because the Thunder are coming off one of their most impressive performance of the season Thursday, a 102-82 victory over the San Antonio Spurs, who had a 20-game winning streak snapped.
One of the big keys in the win was center Kendrick Perkins and his ability to defend the Spurs' pick-and-roll offense.
"I was just disappointed in my Game 2 performance as far as pick-and-roll defense and just being the defensive anchor that I’ve been all season so I just wanted to go out there and do what I needed to do, just try to stop they pick-and-roll."
Perkins success stemmed from a new attitude from the big man and a tweak in the defensive game plan, says the Thunder blog DailyThunder.com:
The Thunder attacked the pick-and-roll vigorously and switched up frequently on defense. Some of it was by design and some of it was dictated by how far the shot clock had ticked down but the switching was almost always called as an audible by the big guys, Perkins, or Ibaka or Collison. .
However, Thunder head coach Scott Brooks wasn't going to take all the credit for the Game 3 victory.
"We just played well," he said, "I don’t know we played hard, we played defense. We switched some but we stuck with a lot of our coverages and we’ll see what it does tomorrow."
Can the Thunder ride its Game 3 momentum Saturday, when they take on the Spurs in Game 4 (8:30 p.m. ET on TNT)? I guess, Thunder fans will find out.