Thunder to Combine Will to Win with Concentration
It’s the Western Conference Finals and the stakes are high, but the Thunder knows that with the will to win and a high level of concentration for 48 minutes, anything is possible.
The Thunder trails its series with the San Antonio Spurs 0-2, but the team is confident that it can rally together and start the comeback process with a win tonight in Game 3 in Chesapeake Energy Arena.
"I'm just excited that we get to come home and play,” forward Kevin Durant said. “It's going to be a good one tonight. We're looking forward to it. It's going to be a tough challenge, just like the first two games of the series. We want to make it different than the first two games, and we're excited to play in front of our home crowd."
On Wednesday, following a team meeting that took place only hours after returning home from San Antonio, guard Derek Fisher said that sometimes having a will to win is enough to help a team figure out the strategic aspect of the game. Head Coach Scott Brooks echoed those feelings Thursday afternoon, saying the desire, heart, passion and energy with which his team plays tonight will dictate the outcome.
“That’s the always the most important thing,” Brooks said. “The X’s and O’s is perfect, but you need the will to win. We’ve had that, and we still have it. We just have to do what we do and do it better. Not a little bit better, but better. With our guys, we have enough to win. We’re excited about the opportunity.”
Not only will the Thunder have to play with a rhythm and verve that allows it to dictate the pulse and flow of the game, but it also must have the discipline and concentration level to be locked in for 48 minutes. Against this Spurs team, as guard James Harden pointed out Wednesday and Brooks reiterated a day later, the Thunder cannot afford any momentary lapses in defensive focus or offensive execution.
“You have to be (locked in),” Brooks said. “It’s an opportunity to be focused every time down court, and it’s going to be critical.”
With the home Thunder crowd at its back, Durant and his teammates are fully prepared both give and receive a maximum effort. The intensity will be high and the preparation sharp as the Thunder takes on the Spurs in what will likely be an incredibly hard-fought contest. Whether it is aggressive pick-and-roll defense or proper floor spacing and unselfish passing on the offensive end, the Thunder hopes to both execute with single-mindedness and play with an unbridled sense of urgency.
“We’re going to come out playing with a lot of heart, playing with a lot of fight and we’ll live with the results,” Durant said. “I think if we do that, we’ll give ourselves a good chance.”