Playoffs 2018 West First Round: Thunder (4) vs. Jazz (5)

Thunder's coach Billy Donovan may have tweaks ready for pivotal Game 3 against Utah Jazz

From NBA media reports

* Tonight on ESPN: Thunder vs. Jazz (10 ET)

Oklahoma City Thunder coach Billy Donovan trusts his work ethic and his own history of preparation and how it impacts his team from game to game. It worked that way during a championship career at the University of Florida as well as early on in his tenure with the Thunder, regardless of the personnel he’s had to work with.

So there’s no trepidation from his team as their first-round playoff series against the Utah Jazz shifts from the comfort of home in Oklahoma City to the wild environment that awaits in Salt Lake City for Game 3 tonight (10 p.m. ET, ESPN). With stars like Russell Westbrook, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony, the Thunder have plenty of postseason experience. They also have a coach who bring his own set of experiences into this chess match, writes Brett Dawson of the Oklahoman:

“Quin (Snyder) is an incredible coach. I know he’s gonna make adjustments,” George said. “But we have an incredible coach.”

That praise for Billy Donovan drew rolled eyes in some corners of the internet, where Thunder fans spent much of this season maligning the third-year Oklahoma City coach.

But Donovan has shown postseason acumen before, and as the Thunder heads to Salt Lake City with this first-round Western Conference playoff series tied at 1-1, he may need a few tweaks up his sleeve to get OKC into the conference semifinals.

When Saturday’s Game 3 tips off at Vivint Smart Home Arena, Donovan will have had almost three full days to dissect a 102-95 Game 2 loss and analyze what comes next.

“A lot of times it’s like subtle things that (only) the person that’s breaking down film after film after film maybe sees,” Donovan said. “But you’re always trying to tweak things going from game to game to try to get better.”


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