Saturday, June 2, 2012
Posted by Anthony Canton | Saturday, June 2, 2012
Unless your team is completely devoid of heart or character, you can always expect a team going home after losing the 1st 2 games of a series on the road to come out with a sense of desperation, a firestorm of will, and a pretty damn raucous crowd. We've seen that the last two nights in Oklahoma City and Boston, and with that we have a chance to have two very competitive conference finals. The Thunder and the Celtics still have plenty of work to do.
Tonight the Celtics as expected showed a lot of heart in their 101-91 victory over the Heat. To be fair, the Celtics are a team that is on it's last legs. KG, Pierce, and Rondo came up with gutsy performances in Game 3 especially after that very tough loss in Game 2. This team has earned a lot of respect for their stubbornness to not go down without a fight, and they proved that once again. They got good contributions from Marquis Daniels and Keno Dooling. Defensively after the 1st quarter they controlled the game and played their style of basketball. Sometimes it isn't as much adjustments as it is energy. They reinforced their Game 2 performance but this time their great home crowd helped push them over the top. The jury is still out obviously on if they can actually win this series, but they're now back in it, and Sunday will be a barn burner.
From the Heat perspective, there was another very noticeable lack of energy from Dwyane Wade in this game. He scored 18, but he did not have the same impact as he had in Games 1 & 2. The margin of error for the Heat is much smaller with Chris Bosh injured. LeBron James came to play with his 34-8-5, but if Wade is not playing with the same intensity, then it will be an uphill battle on the road as it was tonight. Look for Wade to play a lot better in Game 4 in what will be THE swing game.
Switching to the West, it's almost the same exact situation as the Thunder will try to even up their series with the San Antonio Spurs after beating them into submission in Game 3, 102-82. The Thunder's defensive energy was off the charts as Scott Brooks made some key adjustments while sticking to some of his main principles. Thabo Sefolosha was the MVP of Game 3 as his defense against Tony Parker was integral in throwing the Spurs off of their rhythm. Russell Westbrook with his 9 assists really played a solid floor game and got others involved as the Thunder found their game.
This series I think can and will go the distance. I'm interested to see how the Spurs respond to their 20 game winning streak being snapped. I believe they'll play a lot better, and coach Popovich will have some adjustments of his own to throw at the Thunder. Expect a lot of Tony Parker off the ball screens to get him going. I think the Thunder will tie this up tomorrow setting up a best of 3.
What happens when you get a wounded animal cornered? They usually fight for their lives. That's what we have here in the Conference Finals is 2 teams trying to fight back from very difficult circumstances. Will The Heat and Spurs pay for letting the Celtics and Thunder getting off the deck? Desperation can create a hell of a monster.