After a comfortable win over the Oklahoma City Thunder in the second game, the San Antonio Spurs will be aiming to continue their winning momentum and build a 3-0 lead in the Western Conference finals at the Chesapeake Energy Arena on Sunday night.
The Spurs dominated the second encounter and displayed solid defense against the Thunder. They held Oklahoma to less than 20 points in three out of four quarters to take a commanding 2-0 lead in the series.
Playing without the NBA's leading blocker, Serge Ibaka, the Thunder defensively looked completely out of sorts and struggled to stop San Antonio from scoring freely. However, Ibaka dismissed claims he could have rescued OKC Thunder in the last two encounters.
"I've been hearing a lot of people saying my team lost two games because I was out," he said. "That's not true. I believe in my guys. I believe in my teammates. They can be better with me or without me. It's no excuse because Serge Ibaka was not there. Just San Antonio, the first two games, they played better basketball."
Kendrick Perkins and Nick Collison have struggled to confine San Antonio in the last two games which have raised speculations if Ibaka might come back in the third game, even if he is not fully fit.
Oklahoma general manager Sam Presti has said they are not ruling out Ibaka from Game 3. Ibaka said his participation largely depends on the doctors and how he is feeling before the game.
The inclusion of Ibaka in the team for Game 3 will not solve Oklahoma's problems entirely as the Spurs are averaging 27.5 assists per game against the Thunder. Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili are generating most of the assists for San Antonio
"We don't have a Durant," Ginobili said. "We don't have a Kobe (Bryant) or LeBron (James) that can go one against one and finish every single time. We need to pass the ball to find open teammates, and that's what we do, and that's what we've been doing. We all feel proud about it. We know when we have 25 assists or 30, we are much better and we try to do that every time."
Oklahoma's Kevin Durant said they have to work hard in restricting San Antonio, as they are equally good in scoring from the paint or the three-point arc.
"They've got threats," Durant said. "Everybody on their team is a threat because of their offense. They move the ball. They've got 3-point shooters. You take away 3-point shooters, they get the role guys and they get the paint points.
"You take away that and they start hitting the threes. So we have to do both. We have to be able to close the paint up and get out to shooters. Easier said than done, but we can do it."
Where to Watch Live
The game is scheduled for an 8:30 pm ET (6:00 am IST, 12:30 am GMT) start with live coverage on TNT in the US and Sony Six and Sony Six HD in India. The game can be watched via live streaming option in the US HERE or HERE. The game can be live streamed by international viewers, including India, HERE.