Oklahoma City Thunder Send Spurs Packing; Win Series 4-2
If this turns out to be Tim Duncan or Manu Ginobli’s last game, at least they’ll have plenty of glorious memorable moments to look back on so they can forget about this one. The Oklahoma City Thunder send Spurs packing as a thrilling series came to a less-than-thrilling conclusion.
The final score was 113-99 as the Thunder win the series 4 games to 2, but the clinching game wasn’t nearly that close. The Thunder led by as many as 28 points. Kevin Durant led all scorers with 37 points and Russell Westbrook added 28 points and 12 assists for the victorious Thunder. Kawhi Leonard led the Spurs with 22 points.
Duncan came into the game averaging just 4 points for the series, while shooting only about 30%. Despite struggling with his shooting touch, he made his first 3 shots and had his best game of the series scoring 19 points. The starters opened up an early 17-10 lead for the Spurs. However, once the teams went to the bench, the Thunder went on a 12-0 to close out the first quarter with a 25-19 lead.
After their hot start, the Spurs only made 5 of their next 29 shots. Ginobli shot just 1-6, David West shot 2-5 and Kevin Martin was 0-3. Martin had only played 14 minutes in the first 5 games of the series, but Spurs’ coach Gregg Popovich went to him early in a point guard-less lineup attempting to generate some offense off the bench. Martin averaged over 20 points per game in a season several times in his career, but at 33 is no longer the scorer he once was.
The Spurs’ experienced bench was unable to keep pace with the Thunder, who fed off their energetic home crowd. Popovich candidly summed up the first quarter quite accurately by stating, “As soon as we substituted it went to crap.”
Unlike the Spurs, the Thunder did get a spark off the bench. Andre Roberson of the Thunder, who grew up a Spurs’ fan, had just 4 points in the first 5 games of the series. However, he found a way to contribute 14 points in game 6. Durant scored 18 in the first half and Westbrook played under control, hitting 5 of 9 shots and dishing out 6 assists.
Between turnovers and missed shots, the Spurs played one of the ugliest halves ever by a 67-win team as they trailed 55-31 at halftime. 31 points was the fewest the Spurs have scored in a half this season and it was the largest deficit they faced in a playoff game since 2002.
Second Half a Different Story
The Thunder came out slightly sloppy and complacent in the 2nd half, which was expected considering the size of their lead. The San Antonio Spurs are not the kind of team that rolls over under any circumstance. The Spurs are a veteran team of true professionals. MVP runner-up Kawhi Leonard was still diving on the floor for loose balls and driving hard to the basket. LaMarcus Aldridge was still battling for rebounds, then running the floor.
The San Antonio Spurs managed to cut the lead to 13 during a 4th quarter run led by 40 year-olds Duncan and Andre Miller, but it was too little too late.
Next up for the Thunder are the Golden State Warriors and their 73-9 record. The Warriors will have home-court advantage, where they were 39-2 this season. That record won’t intimidate the Thunder as the Spurs were 40-1 at home during the regular season and Oklahoma City won 2 road games in that series.
(Oklahoma City Thunder Send Spurs Packing)