Thunder-Spurs: Why it's beginning to feel like 2012 all over again

COMMENTARY — The Western Conference Finals heads back to San Antonio tied 2-2, just like it was in 2012. And suddenly, after Russell Westbrook’s dominant Game 4 performance, the possibility of a similiar outcome is anything but crazy.
by Berry Tramel Published: May 28, 2014

This is scripting like 2012, when the Thunder came home down 0-2, only get to huge games from Ibaka (Game 3) and Thabo Sefolosha (Game 4), then went to San Antonio rejuvenated and stole homecourt advantage.

“We gotta make (our game) travel,” Westbrook said. “We gotta win one there if we’re gonna win the series. We’re going to go in with the same mindset.”

The mindset Tuesday was aggression. Aggression on offense, where the Thunder again attacked the paint and was rewarded with 31 foul shots. And aggression on defense, where Westbrook darted all over the court to make life miserable on Parker, and where Westbrook’s teammates didn’t let the Spurs sharpshooters roam free.

“Everybody chipped in,” Brooks said. “The defensive mindset was outstanding. The thing I love about our group is we’ve always had that bounce-back ability, and that’s showed. We played with toughness, we played with energy and we played together.”

The Thunder is indeed resilient. The Thunder has a chance to join the 2001 76ers as the only team to make the NBA Finals after trailing in each of their first three series.

Of course, it’s easy to bounce back when you add Ibaka to the recipe. And the Thunder returns to San Antonio knowing it has defeated the Spurs seven straight times, and 12 of 14 times, with Ibaka in the lineup. Which is where Serge will be come Thursday night in a series that is feeling an awful lot like 2012.

Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at . He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.


by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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