OKC Came Back! Series 2-1 Now..
San Antonio’s winning streak has coming to a screeching halt.
Looking to make things interesting in the Western Conference Finals, Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder smacked the Spurs 102-82 in Game 3 on Thursday night.
The loss was the Spurs’ first since April 11, snapping a 20-game winning streak. San Antonio’s 10 consecutive wins to start the playoffs was one shy of the all-time record set by the Los Angeles Lakers in 2001.
San Antonio still holds a 2-1 series lead over the Thunder. Game 4 is Saturday night.
Durant led all scorers with 22 points, but Thunder guard Thabo Sefolosha was the player of the game for his defensive effort in addition to his 19 points. James Harden added 15 points off the bench for Oklahoma City, Serge Ibaka chipped in 14 points and Russell Westbrook contributed 10 points, seven rebounds and nine assists.
Tony Parker and Stephen Jackson led the Spurs with 16 points apiece. Parker made 6-of-12 shots. Jackson made 6-of-7 shots, going 4-for-15 from 3-point range.
Only one other Spurs player scored in double digits.
That player was Tim Duncan, who struggled mightily the whole night before finishing with 11 points on 5-of-15 shooting. Some solid defense by Thunder center Kendrick Perkins proved to be Duncan’s problem, as Perkins used his strength and shot-blocking skills to thwart several post-ups by the future Hall of Famer.
The Thunder’s defensive effort forced the Spurs into just 39.5 percent shooting, a series-low for them. San Antonio also turned the ball over a series-high 21 times, leading to 20 points for the Thunder. Oklahoma City, on the other hand, had just eight turnovers, which helped the Thunder outscore the Spurs 18-7 in fast break points.
The Thunder led by as many as 27 points and never trailed in the second half.
The Thunder took a 22-point lead when Derek Fisher drained a corner 3 off a pass from Harden. It was a basket that put Oklahoma City ahead 73-51 with 2:29 remaining in the third quarter and ended any remaining doubt about Thursday night’s outcome.
The Spurs led 24-22 at the end of the first period, the third straight time in this series that San Antonio has held a lead going into the second quarter. But, unlike Games 3 and 4, a fast start kept Oklahoma City close. The Thunder raced to an 8-0 lead in the first three minutes, benefiting from swarming defense and smart decisions on offense.
The Thunder’s length and quickness hounded the Spurs into four turnovers in the first three minutes and seven in the first quarter. Sefolosha, who got the start defensively against Parker, caused all four of those turnovers by being a pest in the passing lanes and coming up with steals.
San Antonio stormed back with a 13-4 run to go up 13-12, one of six leads the Spurs held in the first quarter.
But the Thunder outscored the Spurs 32-17 in the second quarter and threatened to run away with the game, taking a 54-41 lead at halftime.
NOTES: Thunder guard Derek Fisher passed former Lakers teammate Kobe Bryant to move into sole possession of third place on the all-time list of career playoff games. Fisher has now appeared in 221 postseason games…With 7.3 seconds remaining in the first quarter, Sefolosha was called for a flagrant foul for raking Manu Ginobili across the face with his forearm… Durant was slapped with a technical foul with 9:22 remaining in the second quarter for protesting a no-call…A combined 21 fouls were called in the first half…NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver attended Thursday’s game.
Source : hoopsworld
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