SAN ANTONIO -- Instead of beaming with pride after seizing a 2-1 lead in the series, the Spurs hunkered down Saturday at the team facilities to study the tape from Game 3, stretch out and take in some light shooting. San Antonio knows this series is far from over.
“It was an incredible game. Everything went our way. Sometimes it happens,” Manu Ginobili said of the 100-73 win. “The important thing now is to react well, to not get arrogant or think now we have them because it’s not even close. They’re going to be hurt. They’re going to be upset. They’re going to come back hard, the same way we came back from Game 1 to 2. We’re going to have to play with the same intensity, and hopefully make adjustments.”
Ginobili, Tony Parker and Tim Duncan own a combined 42 years of experience, which provides them the perspective they believe is highly beneficial in managing the highs and lows of postseason basketball.
“We all understand the playoffs [are] a long process. It takes forever,” Parker said. “Every game is [its] own game. They’re all different, and we know everything can change real fast. We’ve been through every kind of scenario since I’ve been here.”
Case in point: the team’s wide-ranging performances between Game 1 and Game 3. In Game 1, a 107-92 loss at Los Angeles, the Spurs shot a putrid 36.6 percent from the floor and squandered 12 points on missed free throws as the team opened up the game hitting just six of 21 shots at the line.
In the moments after the loss, the Spurs kept an even-keeled approach, quickly identifying their issues as being more on the defensive end, despite such a horrid night shooting.
In Game 3, the Spurs tightened up the defense while offensively, Kawhi Leonard exploded for a career-high 32 points. The Clippers certainly helped San Antonio’s cause by shooting 34.1 percent, as Leonard outscored Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan and Chris Paul combined.
With five years of experience, guard Danny Green admits it’s “very difficult” to manage the highs and lows. “But [it's] easier to manage when you’re on the high end of confidence," he said. "When you're down, or losing, it's tougher to get that confidence back and come out with that same attitude or that same fight. But [the Clippers’] backs are against the wall right now. They're going to come out with a different face on Sunday. We expect them to come out the way we did in Game 2. To be able to match that is not easy; to control those emotions and keep the same attitude and edge, whether you're up or down, because it's human nature to be more satisfied or comfortable when you're up and [to] be more intense or hungry when you're down.”
Still, the defending champions must find a way, and shouldn’t have a problem doing so given their extensive postseason experience.
"I think it's very important not to feel you are the best after a game like [Game 3], or that you are terrible and you can't play after [a game like] Game 1. It's a thing people normally do,” Ginobili said. “[Spurs coach Gregg Popovich] makes sure that we don't. But I think it's in our nature, too, after so many years. We can still lose this series. It can easily happen. But we know we are the same [team] that won last year. We can do it again."
The teams meet again Sunday for Game 4 at the AT&T Center.