However, we are getting down to crunch time here in the NBA playoffs! The Eastern Conference Finals have seen Miami take the last three game from Indiana, and I don't know if Indiana can make it past five, especially after Frank Vogel was quoted saying "Anytime you lose three in a row in the playoffs, it shakes your confidence some". Not strong words you want to hear from a coach down 3-1.
Game Four: San Antonio Spurs vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
What Advantages do San Antonio hold?
Concerns for the Spurs
On top of that, the Spurs have not beaten the Thunder when Serge Ibaka is in the line-up. The Spurs are 0-5 (Regular Season and Postseason) when Ibaka starts for the Thunder. Part of this is because Ibaka brings his great blocking ability, making opponents, such as the Spurs, doubt their shots just a little bit more than usual. On top of that, all inside shots become that much harder to make with Ibaka playing the four spot on the floor (Power Forward for those not aware of NBA positions and their number equivalents. Quick tutorial, 1 = Point Guard, 2 = Shooting Guard, 3 = Small Forward, 4 = Power Forward, 5 = Center).
What Advantages do Oklahoma City have?
Concerns for the Thunder
Although Russell Westbrook has 6.3 assists, he's also averaging 4 turnovers per game, which shows his sloppiness with the ball, considering he gave up 3.8 turnovers per game during the regular season. Each turnover becomes more during the postseason than it does the regular season, and if he continues to give the ball up, he could cost the Thunder a key playoff game.
Kevin Durant is only shooting 44% from the field, a number much lower than his 50% number he had during the regular season.
I think it will come down to the X-factor, Serge Ibaka. He's been the centerpiece of this entire post, and for good reason. Can Serge play like he did in game three and propel another win, or will he lose his effectiveness due to his injury?
I think he will not the same player he was in game three. there is a reason why he was considered done for the season, and although I commend him for playing through his injury and trying to help the Thunder, I don't think he can put up that performance every couple of nights. He needs much more rest than that, and I think it will start to put a strain on his calf. The Spurs win in double-digits.