The Oklahoma City Thunder showed the world Thursday night that the San Antonio Spurs are beatable, putting an end to their record 20-game win streak and getting themselves back into the series as well.
It's a different story playing at home, as the Thunder fed off their home crowd. For the first time during the series they showed excellent scoring depth with 12 different players finding their way into the scoring column.
Is this a sign of things to come, or was it a case of the Spurs just being due for a loss?
Game 4 will tell a lot of that story.
Thunder head coach Scott Brooks made some fantastic adjustments for Game 3, most notably putting Thabo Sefolosha on Tony Parker. In addition, it was a much better defensive effort as a team, as the Thunder forced 21 San Antonio turnovers that allowed them to get out and run in transition.
Give Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich time to prepare after a loss and he will have something up his sleeve for Game 4. The chess match will continue as Brooks will need to counteract whatever Popovich throws at the young Thunder.
Will the Thunder get back into the series or was Game 3 just a bump in the road for the Spurs?
Here's everything you need to know about Game 4 of this pivotal Western Conference finals battle.
When: Saturday, June 2 at 8:30 p.m. EDT
Where: Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Live Stream: TNT.com
Betting Line: Oklahoma City (-3.5) via 5Dimes
Spurs Key Injuries (Per CBS Sports)
No Key Injuries Reported
Thunder Key Injuries (Per CBS Sports)
No Key Injuries Reported
What They're Saying
The Thunder finished dead last in the NBA in assists during the regular season, but during Game 3 it almost looked as if Russell Westbrook and Tony Parker had switched jerseys.
Robert Klemko of the USA Today noticed the difference and wrote:
So after careful film study and strategic adjustments, the Thunder returned home to Oklahoma City looking less like themselves and more like the Spurs team that led the league in assists in 2011-12. They didn't lean on the pick and roll, as San Antonio does, but Russell Westbrook's lane-driving dishes had fans in the rafters wondering if Spurs point guard Tony Parker had switched jerseys.
Oklahoma City collected 23 assists, led by Westbrook's nine, playoff-high totals for both team and player. San Antonio struggled to address several Thunder defensive adjustments and finished with an uncharacteristic 18 assists, their fewest since the first round of the playoffs.
Most Important Player to Watch: Thabo Sefolosha
As evident when Kevin Durant, James Harden and Russell Westbrook combined to score 88 points in Game 2 but still lost, the Thunder's Big Three need some help.
Sefolosha delivered in Game 3 by scoring 19 points, but more importantly did a great job defending Parker.
He doesn't necessarily have to score 19 for the Thunder to win Game 4, but he has to knock down open shots and continue to be a pest on defense.
Key Matchup: Spurs Offense vs. Thunder Defense
I usually isolate one particular matchup, but in this case I am going to take a broader look.
The Thunder defense struggled big time in the opening two games but rebounded with a great effort at home in Game 3.
As a team, they forced 21 turnovers which led to plenty of easy baskets. That's something that must continue for the Thunder to even the series.
I mentioned the job that Sefolosha did on Parker, but Serge Ibaka and the other Thunder bigs must also do the job on Tim Duncan again. Duncan was limited to 11 points on only 5-of-15 shooting in Game 3. It's been a struggle from the floor this series for Duncan, who's made only 13-of-42 (31 percent) shots from the floor.
You win consistently in the playoffs by being able to get stops when you need them.
That's something the Thunder must rely on in Game 4.
Spurs 101, Thunder 93