Suddenly, Spurs face a 'great challenge'

Manu Ginobili of the San Antonio Spurs drives to the basket against Serge Ibaka and James Harden of...

Manu Ginobili of the San Antonio Spurs drives to the basket against Serge Ibaka and James Harden of the Oklahoma City Thunder during the 2012 NBA Playoffs on June 2, 2012 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. (Copyright 2012 NBAE Evan Gole/NBAE via Getty Images/AFP)

The Sports Xchange

, Last Updated: 3:10 PM ET

So much for all that 16-0 talk. A series that once was considered potential sweep for the Spurs, especially after they rolled through the first two rounds undefeated, can’t be any closer with just three games at most left.

Oklahoma City beat the Spurs 109-103 Saturday night, knotting the best-of-7 at 2-2. The series moves back to San Antonio for Game 5 on Monday night.

Are the Spurs, with the spot seemingly reserved in the NBA Finals just a few days ago, now in a must-win situation?

“It’s, of course, a great challenge,” Manu Ginobili said. “We are playing against a really talented team. We earned ourselves the possibility of having home-court advantage, and hopefully we’ll use it.

”We played a bad Game 3. Today was a little better, but it’s just part of the past. Both teams took care of business at home. Hopefully we keep that trend. Game 5 is always huge in every series when teams are 2-2. Game 5 most of the time is decisive, so it’s going to be a very important one.“

Should the series go the distance, the Spurs do have two of the last three games at home. The winner Monday is one victory away from playing for a championship.

But does the series hinge on Game 5?

”Every game in the series is important,“ San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said.


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