The San Antonio Spurs are set to take on the Oklahoma City Thunder in game three of the Western Conference semifinals, in which the Spurs lead 2-0. The Spurs have also won 20 games in a row, the longest such streak carried into the playoffs in NBA history. The Los Angeles Lakers hold the record for 33 consecutive wins, and the Houston Rockets had the longest streak since then with 22.
The Spurs are just two games from the Western Conference Finals, and with two more consecutive wins it would put them in a tie with those Rockets for the longest streak since the Lakers. That being said, the Spurs have to play a consistent, team game tonight to win. I believe they have to do four things well.
- Defense – The Thunder are going to come out with a lot of energy tonight, especially playing in front of their home crowd. The Spurs will be unfazed, but will need a consistent team effort to shut down the Thunder’s 3 of Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Russell Westbrook.
- Avoid The Off Night – The Spurs Big 3, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker will have to play a spectacular game tonight. If one struggles, they could be ok. But if two of the three struggle, the Spurs could lose the game. If that happens, the bench will need to show up.
- Bench Must Play Superior – The Spurs bench, if one or two of the stars are going to struggle, are going to have to step up and play better. That means Daniel Green, Gary Neal, Tiago Splitter, and others will have to step up to make up the scoring gap between the Thunder and Spurs Big 3.
- Take the Thunder Out Early – This game is not going to be easy, and the Spurs will have to play one of their better games if they want to put the Thunder in an 0-3 hole. The longer the Spurs let the Thunder stick around, the tougher it will be to close them out. Sure, the Spurs have the experience and know how to finish games, but they cannot let the Thunder hang around.