Oklahoma City wins series 4-2 (Game 3 of 6)

Oklahoma City wins series 4-2

Game 1: Sunday, May 27th
Game 2: Tuesday, May 29th
Game 3: Thursday, May 31st
Game 4: Saturday, June 2nd
Game 5: Monday, June 4th
Game 6: Wednesday, June 6th

Spurs 82

(50-16, 22-11 away)

Thunder 102

(47-19, 26-7 home)

    Coverage: TNT

    9:00 PM ET, May 31, 2012

    Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, OK

    1 2 3 4 T
    SA 24 17 19 2282
    OKC 22 32 24 24102

    Top Performers

    SA: T. Parker 16 Pts, 3 Reb, 4 Ast

    Okc: K. Durant 22 Pts, 6 Reb, 5 Ast, 1 Stl

    Kevin Durant, Thunder win Game 3, snap Spurs' 20-game winning streak

    Associated Press

    OKLAHOMA CITY -- The streak is over. The series might only be beginning.

    Kevin Durant scored 22 points, Thabo Sefolosha set playoff career bests with 19 points and six steals, and the Oklahoma City Thunder snapped San Antonio's 20-game winning streak by beating the Spurs 102-82 in Game 3 of the Western Conference finals Thursday night.

    Oklahoma City closed its series deficit to 2-1 and will host Game 4 on Saturday night.

    "We never thought these guys had an advantage over us even though we had lost a few," Durant said. "It was just good that we took it to 2-1. We didn't want to go down 0-3."

    Sefolosha threw a wrench in the Spurs' well-oiled offense at the start, getting four steals in the first 3 minutes. The Spurs ended up committing a postseason-worst 21 turnovers and scoring their fewest points all season.

    San Antonio had been averaging 109.4 points per game during its month-and-a-half winning streak and had been held to double-digits only twice.

    "We just played a good basketball game," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. "We played with a lot of force, we played with good energy, but we played defensive-minded basketball.

    "That's who we are. That's how we win."

    Tony Parker and Stephen Jackson led the Spurs with 16 points apiece. Tim Duncan had 11 points on 5 for 15 shooting, taking 11 of San Antonio's first 25 shots as the offense went through the All-Star center instead of Parker.

    "They played like it was a closeout game, both offensively and defensively," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "They were very active, physical; they moved the ball well on offense. They did all those things better than we did. They beat us good."

    The Spurs, who already set an NBA record for the longest winning streak carried over from the regular season into the playoffs, were trying to match the league mark for most wins to start the postseason. The Lakers won 11 straight to start the 1989 and 2001 playoffs, getting swept in the NBA Finals the first time and winning it all the second.

    The Spurs hadn't lost since April 11 at home against the Lakers.

    "We are a prideful team. It's no fun being down 0-2. It's no fun," Brooks said. "But we weren't looking at the game thinking, 'Oh my gosh, we have a chance to be down 0-3.' We were looking at the game that we have a chance to be 1-2 after this game, and I give our guys a lot of credit. They believe in each other and they always play hard for each other."

    Parker and Duncan didn't play in the final 15 minutes, and Popovich pulled the plug after a series of three straight turnovers allowed the deficit to reach 23 points early in the fourth quarter.

    Sefolosha had a right-handed dunk off a lob pass from Russell Westbrook, who followed with his own two-handed jam on an alley-oop pass, and Sefolosha followed with a reverse layup on another turnover-fueled fast-break chance to push the lead to 86-63 with 9:48 left.

    The Thunder put together another 9-0 run coinciding with Manu Ginobili coming out of the game and featuring Serge Ibaka sticking his tongue out after nailing a jumper from the top of the key. Brooks soon followed Popovich and pulled his own front-line players with the game well in hand.

    "You're not going to beat this team by playing one-effort basketball," Brooks said. "You're going to have to have two, three, four, even five. And they make you do that because they pass the ball so well, they spread the floor so well."

    Popovich said the Thunder played harder and smarter than the Spurs.

    "They did definitely play with a lot more energy, a lot more passion than us tonight," said Parker, who committed five turnovers.

    The Spurs wiped out a 24-point deficit in Game 3 against the Clippers in Los Angeles in the previous round, but they weren't recovering in this one.

    San Antonio managed only 24 points in the paint after averaging 46 through the first two games of the series and 47.8 through the playoffs.

    Oklahoma City already held a 28-8 scoring edge in the paint while taking a 54-41 halftime lead, and it never got better for San Antonio, which couldn't get any closer than 11 points in the second half.

    "We wanted to bounce back after two losses like that. We had to play better and we did that tonight," Sefolosha said. "We played with energy; we played with passion in front of our home crowd. They did a great job giving us a lift."

    The Thunder scored the game's first eight points, feeding off Sefolosha's steals, but San Antonio recovered in time to take the lead with more than 5 minutes left in the opening period.

    Oklahoma City took the lead early in the second quarter, and there was no looking back.

    Sefolosha set up Ibaka's two-handed dunk and hit a 3-pointer during a 13-1 run, with San Antonio's only point coming on a free throw by Ginobili after Durant was called for a technical foul while arguing a call from the bench.

    Oklahoma City's lead ballooned to 15 when Kendrick Perkins grabbed Westbrook's air ball and dunked it with two hands.

    Game notes

    Duncan did have five blocks to surpass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's NBA playoff record of 476 by one. ... Rapper Lil Wayne tweeted before the game that he planned to attend but "was denied by the team to be in their arena." Thunder spokesman Dan Mahoney said the rapper's representatives demanded front-row seats but none were available. "We'd love to have him at a game, but like anyone else, he needs a ticket," Mahoney said. ... Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin presented TNT analyst and former NBA All-Star Charles Barkley with a pair of boots, a steak and an order of lamb fries -- a dish that leaves the otherwise undesirable part of the anatomy out of its name -- during the pregame show.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 82 102
    FGM-FGA 30-76 (.395) 40-88 (.455)
    3PM-3PA 11-26 (.423) 6-22 (.273)
    FTM-FTA 11-15 (.733) 16-17 (.941)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 12-41 12-44
    Assists 18 23
    Turnovers 21 8
    Steals 2 14
    Blocks 7 9
    Fast Break Points 7 18
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 19 (0/0) 16 (1/1)
    Largest Lead 5 27

    Top Performers

    San Antonio
    Oklahoma City
    Tony Parker Parker
    Points: 16
    Reb: 3
    Ast: 4
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 0
    Kevin Durant Durant
    Points: 22
    Reb: 6
    Ast: 5
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0

    Research Notes

    Putting a magnifying glass on the box score shows the Thunder completely dominated the painted area, outscoring the Spurs 44-24. 42 of OKC's 88 shot attempts came in the paint while the Spurs 28 attempts in the paint accounted for only 36.8 percent of their total shots.
    Thabo Sefolosha totaled 19 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 steals in Oklahoma City's 102-82 Game 3 win over the Spurs. He becomes just the fourth player over the last 5 years to hit each of those marks in a playoff games.
    From Elias: James Harden had another solid game off the bench in Game 3, totaling 15 points on an efficient 5-10 from the field. This postseason, Harden is averaging 18.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 3.0 assists. According to Elias, since 1970-71 when starters began being compiled on official box scores, Harden is trying to become just the third player during that span to come off the bench and average at least 15 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists in a single postseason (minimum 5 games off the bench).
    Tony Parker totaled 16 points on 6-12 shooting in San Antonio's Game 3 loss to the Thunder. Through the first two games of the series, Parker was averaging 26 points on 61.1 percent shooting.
    The Spurs went 11-of-20 from inside 5 feet Thursday, which was bolstered by DeJuan Blair going 5-of-6 in the fourth quarter with the game out of hand. The 22 points inside 5 feet are the lowest for the Spurs this postseason.
    The Thunder went 19-of-33 (57.6 percent) from inside 5 feet in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals. The Thunder have scored at least 38 points on shots from such distances in their two wins against the Spurs this season, and have scored fewer than 38 in their four losses.
    The Thunder were able to stop the pick-and-roll in Game 3, holding the Spurs to 12 points on such plays. The Spurs scored 30 points off pick-and-rolls in each of the first two games of the series. Tony Parker was 1-of-3 with 2 points as the pick-and-roll ball handler in Game 3. In Game 2, Parker scored 15 points on 7-of-9 shooting as the ball handler in the pick-and-roll.

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