Nothing much has gone right for the San Antonio Spurs in the first three games — all definitive losses — to the Golden State Warriors in their Western Conference first-round playoff series.
Now Billy Price Youth Jersey , with the prospect of a second consecutive four-game playoff sweep by Golden State, everything has to go right for the Spurs to even extend the series past Sunday afternoon’s Game 4 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio.
San Antonio will be behind the eight ball even before the game tips off as the team announced Saturday that coach Gregg Popovich will again be missing from the sidelines as he remains with his family in the aftermath of his wife’s death Wednesday.
Popovich did not coach the Spurs during their 110-97 loss to Golden State in Game 3 on Thursday, handing those duties over to first assistant Ettore Messina.
Messina will also be at the helm Sunday as San Antonio tries to stay alive and push the series to a fifth game Tuesday in Oakland. But even those chances are slim, and it’s all but a given that the Warriors will win the series and move on to the conference semifinals.
The Spurs lost Thursday because they didn’t shoot well, a theme throughout the first three games of the series. San Antonio shot 42.5 percent from the field and made only 7 of 33 from 3-point range. That poor performance from beyond the arc came after a 4-for-28 showing from long distance in Game 2 on Monday.
“Our guys focused in and we came in and we played,” said Spurs All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge, who led the team in Game 3 with 18 points and 10 rebounds. “It’s been the same thing. We just aren’t making shots that are there.
“They’re (Warriors) doubling and doing their things. We have open shots, but they just aren’t going in. Our guys are competing Breeland Speaks Jersey , following the game plan, and trying to give ourselves a shot, but when don’t make shots, it’s always tough.”
Tony Parker added 16 points off the bench for San Antonio in Game 3, bit most of those points came in garbage time, when things were already out of hand.
The teams could not have had a more contrasting series over the first three games, as for everything the Spurs have done wrong, Golden State has done right. It’s been a totally dominating performance so far for the defending NBA champions Mike McGlinchey 49ers Jersey , even without guard Stephen Curry — who is out rehabbing a knee injury.
Kevin Durant led the Warriors in Game 3 with 26 points on 9-for-17 shooting, nine rebounds and six assists. Klay Thompson added 19 points, and Shawn Livingston hit for 16. In all, six players scored in double figures for Golden State.
Thompson said the Warriors’ success in the first three games has been predicated on their willingness to go the extra mile on defense.
“We rely on our defense when we’re not making shots,” Thompson said. “Our defense can be a constant for us and dictate how far you play. If we get open looks, they’re eventually going to fall.”
Durant and Livingston rolled their ankles in the fourth quarter of Game 3, adding some suspense, at least on the injury front Jessie Bates III Jersey , for Sunday’s game.
“They’re going to be OK,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said of Durant and Livingston. “Shaun’s was probably a little worse than Kevin’s. Both sprained ankles, but I think they’ll be all right.”
Filip Forsberg came up big for the Nashville Predators in his return after sitting out a game.
Forsberg had two goals and an assist to lead the Predators to a 4-1 victory against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday night. He was held out of the previous night’s lopsided loss to Buffalo for maintenance purposes.
”It’s a big win and a good test for us going up against one of the best teams in the league,” Forsberg said. ”This is the way it’s going to be in the playoffs, especially on the road, so it was good.”
Craig Smith and Ryan Johansen also scored to help Nashville move closer to securing the first division title in franchise history, with the Predators’ magic number to clinch the Central at two points.
”I think the guys played smart and that’s all on them,” Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said. ”They had a meeting. They weren’t happy with (Saturday’s loss) and they straightened it out. They played a smart Braden Smith Youth Jersey , hard game, especially with the turnaround.”
Tampa Bay, which went 0 for 5 on the power play, played the final two periods without captain Steven Stamkos, who left the game with an undisclosed lower-body injury. Coach Jon Cooper did not have an update on Stamkos after the game.
Ondrej Palat scored while Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 21 shots for the Lightning, who have lost four of five to fall two points behind the Boston Bruins for the top spot in the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference.
”We don’t like to lose games, that’s bottom line,” Tampa Bay defenseman Victor Hedman said. ”We want to win every game. But we are looking at the big picture and hopefully there is two or three months left in the season Jaire Alexander Jersey , we want to play the right way.”
Nashville opened up the scoring as Johansen led a 2-on-1 rush and pulled the puck back before beating Vasilevskiy with a wrist shot 7:50 into the game.
The Predators doubled their lead early in the second with one second remaining on a power paly as Forsberg’s shot deflected off the stick of Tampa Bay defenseman Anton Stralman and trickled through Vasilevskiy’s pads at 2:46.
Palat pulled the Lightning within a goal at 7:32 as he was open in the slot to take a pass from Stralman and fired a shot from between the circles for his 10th.
Forsberg scored his second of the night, skating around Dan Girardi to get to the top of the crease and sip the puck under Vasilevskiy at 6:24 to make it 3-1.
Smith put the game away, taking a long pass from Mattias Ekholm and skating in alone to put a shot off the inside of the far post at 9:29.
”We just give up too many easy ones, they are too easy,” Cooper said. ”It’s not like they are spending an ounce of time in our zone, they just go down and find open space.”
NOTES: Tampa Bay RW Ryan Callahan returned to the lineup after missing five games with an upper-body injury. … Nashville leading goal-scorer LW Viktor Arvidsson missed the game with an undisclosed lower-body injury. … The Lightning have allowed the opening goal in five consecutive games. … Forsberg is the second player in franchise history to reach 60 points three different times, joining J.P. Dumont. … Saros improved to 8-0-2 this season when starting on the second night of a back-to-back games for the Predators
Lightning: Host Boston on Tuesday night.
Predators: At Florida on Tuesday night.