|< Prev||Next >|
The Oklahoma City Thunder picked up a huge victory against the San Antonio Spurs on Monday night to take a 3-2 lead in the Western Conference finals. After winning 20 games on the trot, the Spurs have lost 3 successive games against OKC and now find themselves without home advantage and staring at an exit from the NBA playoffs. The AT&T centre was hushed by the antics of the likes of James Harden, Russell Westbrook and omnipotent Kevin Durant as the home fans watched their team fall to a 108-103 defeat.
The final seconds of the game saw Manu Ginobli with the ball and a chance to tie the game and take it to over time. But the big Argentine couldn't bucket from beyond the arc, allowing OKC to become the first victors in the AT&T fortress in the post season. Ginobli started for the first time since March for Spurs and added a game high 34 points to his tally. He was in hot form for the hosts, bucketing 5 of 10 from 3 point range and shooting at a tad under 50% from the field. Eleven Spurs players found themselves with time on the floor and only 4 managed double figures. Tony Parker had another average night scoring 20 points while Tim Duncan shot 18 points, converting 7 of his 10 from the field. Stephen Jackson kept his numbers up in his cameo role on the floor, shooting 5 of 9 from the floor.
Oklahoma City Thunder had all their big guns firing and it made a world of difference for the team. Durant, Harden and Westbrook combined to add 70 points, playing in perfect harmony and looking as domineering as ever. Durant had another stellar latter half of the game as he scored 20 of his 27 points in the second half, which helped OKC close the game out against the Spurs. OKC played a tough game from the onset, keeping the pressure on their opponents for the whole 48 minute game span.
OKC coach Scott Brooks praised his team's toughness by saying, "Definitely, we learned from Game 1 (when the team was ahead by nine points going into the fourth quarter). That first game we didn't move the ball as well and we didn't defend as well. I thought we did a good job of weathering the storm. We won the game because of toughness."
Spurs spurned a great number of opportunities in the paint by handing over possession to Oklahoma. The turnovers were a huge cause for concern as they conceded 28 points owing to ball control. "Bottom line is you can't turn it over 21 times for 28 points. That's what we did again. Turnovers have been theme during the entire deal. I thought we spotted them 24 minutes. I didn't think we competed very well in the first half. I was disappointed in the lack of competitiveness in the first half. We've been competing for three quarters and tonight we competed for two. If we don't get that straight it will be over on Wednesday." Gregg Popovich said, aptly spotting the team's waterloo in Game 5.
Game 6 heads to Oklahoma, and Durant & Co. are just a win away from their first NBA Finals. It'll be perfect if they achieve this feat in front of their home fans, but a 3-2 advantage means that they have 2 opportunities to etch their name in the history books. San Antonio Spurs have allowed their opponents to snatch the advantage but one believes that this veteran team has what it takes to pull themselves out of this abyss. Game 6 will be an interesting contest between a team hungry for glory and a team hanging on for dear life.
Final Score: Oklahoma City Thunder 108 - 103 San Antonio Spurs
Game on Tuesday night
Boston Celtics vs. Miami Heat (2-2)
- 08/06/2012 11:58 - NBA Playoffs: Miami drop the James bomb in Boston to tie series 3-3
- 07/06/2012 09:21 - NBA playoffs: Oklahoma create franchise history by pipping San Antonio to NBA finals
- 06/06/2012 18:37 - NBA playoffs: Boston trump Miami to take unlikely 3-2 lead