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Thunder-Spurs: Thunder players say urgency, not desperation, propelled them in Game 3

Don't tell Derek Fisher and Kevin Durant that the Thunder was desperate to win Thursday night. But whatever it was that energized the Thunder, it worked.
BY JOHN ROHDE Published: June 1, 2012

Those who portrayed OKC as "desperate" in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals might want to cease and desist.

Turns out those associated with the Thunder aren't particularly fond of the word.

"Respectfully, no. 'Desperate' is not a good word to use," veteran reserve guard Derek Fisher said, not smiling. "We weren't desperate to win on our home court because we're capable of doing it. You don't have to be desperate to do something that you're more than capable of doing.

"For us, it was a matter of being better than we were the first two games. It wasn't about being desperate to be better. Just be better. We found a way to do that (Thursday) night."

Best pay heed, because every word that comes out of Fisher's mouth this time of year is some pretty sage stuff.

Inscribe what he says on two stone tablets and carry them down from the mount, for Fisher now stands No. 3 on the NBA list for career playoff appearances with 221. If this 37-year-old vet says something is so, by God, then something is so.

When informed Fisher didn't approve of "desperate" to describe the Thunder's circumstances on Thursday night, 23-year-old Kevin Durant smiled and said: "Fish has been through so many of these games, you're better off listening to him than listening to me."

Had OKC lost Game 3, it would have been one game away from elimination.

"We knew what was at stake, but we weren't desperate or anything like that," Durant said.

Desperate times called for desperate measures. Thunder coach Scott Brooks decided to have Thabo Sefolosha defend Tony Parker and Serge Ibaka occasionally guarded Manu Ginobili. Were these signs of desperation (or some other word)?

Whatever it was, it worked, because OKC throttled the Spurs 102-82 at Chesapeake Energy Arena on Thursday and will try to even the series at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in Game 4 at The Peake.

Not to sic Merriam-Webster on the masses, but "desperate" does have many definitions — including reckless or dangerous because of despair or urgency; having an urgent need or desire; leaving little or no hope; very serious or dangerous; extremely bad; intolerable or shocking; extreme or excessive.

Even Fisher would have to admit these definitions seem to fit when you're down 2-0 against a team riding a 20-game winning streak that hadn't lost since April 11.

Perhaps it's more of the implication or tone in which "desperate" is being presented.

"To me, 'desperation' (implies) you're hoping that you win," Brooks said.

Playing "desperate" doesn't necessarily have to be an insult, but in no way, shape or form does Fisher want his team portrayed as a bunch of desperadoes.

Scowling Thunder center Kendrick Perkins didn't appear to be angry at the use of "desperate," which was a relief to those standing in his path after Friday's practice.

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