Down and nearly out less than a week ago, the Oklahoma City Thunder are riding a momentum shift to the brink of the NBA Finals.
With three consecutive wins, the Thunder have changed the conversation from how anyone can stop the San Antonio Spurs’ record-setting 20-game winning streak to how Oklahoma City needs just one win on its home court in Game 6 tonight to play for the NBA title.
Coach Scott Brooks urged Tuesday that riding the momentum isn’t enough to get the job done.
“We have a great opportunity, we’re on our home floor but that doesn’t guarantee automatic victory,” Brooks said during a day off at the team’s practice facility. “They’re not going to give us the game. They’re not just going to say, ‘We’ve lost three in a row, we’re going to give in.’ We know we have a tough challenge ahead.”
Only 6 percent of NBA teams over the years have overcome an 0-2 deficit in a seven-game series. The Thunder could become only the 15th team to pull off the feat – and the eighth since 2004.
“The percentages, you can’t really feed into that because you know that there’s always a chance,” Brooks said.
A series of defensive adjustments by Brooks helped turn the series, with 6-foot-7 Thabo Sefolosha switching onto All-Star point guard Tony Parker in Game 3 the most visible change. The Spurs have been tinkering ever since to get back in the groove they’d been riding since mid-April but instead have lost three consecutive games for the first time all season.
“I think we have the right game plan,” Spurs All-Star Tim Duncan said. “We just need to play a little better for a little longer.”
MASSEUSE DEATH: A South Florida masseuse died at a hospital after collapsing at the Miami Beach home of injured Heat forward Chris Bosh.
A police report said the woman, whose name wasn’t immediately released, went to Bosh’s home Monday. Bosh had been sidelined with an abdominal strain.
Miami Beach police spokeswoman Vivian Hernandez said there are no immediate signs of foul play.
The woman initially appeared to be well but suddenly collapsed. Fire rescue workers responded and transported the unconscious woman to a nearby hospital, where she died Monday night.