Oklahoma City wins series 4-2 (Game 4 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 103

(50-16, 22-11 away)

Thunder 109

(47-19, 26-7 home)

    Coverage: TNT

    8:30 PM ET, June 2, 2012

    Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, OK

    1 2 3 4 T
    SA 26 17 28 32103
    OKC 26 29 20 34109

    Top Performers

    SA: T. Duncan 21 Pts, 8 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Blk

    Okc: K. Durant 36 Pts, 6 Reb, 8 Ast, 1 Blk

    Kevin Durant's big 4th, Serge Ibaka's perfect night lift Thunder in Game 4

    Associated Press

    OKLAHOMA CITY -- When Lil Wayne turned down Kevin Durant's invitation to watch the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 4 of the Western Conference finals, he missed quite a show by the three-time scoring champion.

    Durant scored 18 of his 36 points in a scintillating final 7 minutes, Serge Ibaka added a career-high 26 points and the Thunder evened the series at two games apiece by beating the San Antonio Spurs 109-103 Saturday night.

    After seeing his team's 15-point lead dwindle to four, Durant took over midway through the fourth quarter by scoring all 16 of the Thunder's points during a span of just over 5 minutes to keep the Spurs at bay.

    "I didn't tell myself that I need to go score because what we were doing was working," Durant said.

    "We were passing the ball and guys were making shots. ... I just wanted to stick with what we were doing, but it started to open up for me and I could see some lanes that gave me some opportunities to make some shots."

    With All-Star teammate Russell Westbrook limited to seven points, Durant did almost all of the damage late to send the series back to San Antonio all square for Game 5 on Monday night.

    Durant, who finished behind only LeBron James in MVP voting, hit three straight jumpers, the last one coming after he bumped into Tony Parker in the lane to draw a foul and set up a three-point play. Then he attacked the rim for his next three baskets, getting to the line again when he was fouled on a layup off of James Harden's alley-oop.

    Durant hit another jumper after coming off a Westbrook screen for the last basket in his personal run -- and the Spurs were still within striking distance. Rookie Kawhi Leonard bracketed a pair of 3-pointers around that Durant jumper, and the Spurs were only down 102-96 with 1:24 left.

    The Spurs succeeded in getting the ball out of Durant's hands on the next possession, only for him to provide the assist on Harden's 3-pointer from the left wing that bumped the lead to nine.

    "When a player that talented gets hot, it's really hard to contain," San Antonio's Manu Ginobili said. "We tried different things and they didn't work.

    "He scored a bunch in a short period of time. When we tried to blitz or really help, he kicked it and they made big shots."

    Durant hit two free throws in the final minute to help close it out.

    "We tried to do a couple of different things but his play was better than anything we did defensively, that's for sure," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "He finished it off in fine fashion."

    Before the game, Durant said he still hoped to convince Lil Wayne to come see a game in Oklahoma City after the rapper created a stir before Game 3 by tweeting he was denied access and followed it up by saying he felt "unwanted" at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

    With another big closing effort, Durant provided another reason to catch the Thunder in the playoffs.

    "I just want to be calm and composed and poised in those situations and make the right basketball play," Durant said. "I just try to calm down and go with my instincts."

    Oklahoma City is trying to become the 15th team in NBA history to overcome an 0-2 deficit in a seven-game series, and the eighth to do it since 2004. The Thunder avoided an even trickier task by winning.

    Only eight teams have ever overcome a 3-1 hole, and only two had done it while needing two wins on the road -- the 1995 Rockets and 1968 Celtics.

    "We've just got to go down there with the mindset that we're going to play hard every possession, play together like we've played in these last two games and we'll see what happens," Durant said.

    "We've just got to keep believing, man, and we'll be fine."

    Tim Duncan had 21 points for San Antonio, which had won 20 in a row before losing Game 3. Leonard added 17 points and nine rebounds.

    The Spurs wiped away most of a 15-point deficit with a run that coincided with Popovich turning to DeJuan Blair, who's had some notoriously big games against the Thunder but had occupied a spot on the bench for most of the playoffs after starting 62 of the 66 regular-season games.

    Blair sprung free for a layup early in an 18-5 comeback, and Ginobili's 3-pointer from the top of the key trimmed Oklahoma City's lead to 73-71 with 1:16 to go in the third quarter.

    The Spurs were within four after Duncan's left-handed runner with 6:55 left in the game. That's when Thunder coach Scott Brooks called a timeout, and Durant came out of it firing away. He made seven of his last eight shots and also finished with eight assists and six rebounds.

    "It was hard because were on a run, we were feeling good about ourselves and we just couldn't make a stop," Ginobili said.

    Ibaka made all 11 of his shots -- and all four of his free throws -- to lead a strong performance from Oklahoma City's frontcourt while Durant's usual running mates, Westbrook and Harden, both struggled.

    Ibaka, starting center Kendrick Perkins and reserve Nick Collison combined to go 22 for 25 from the field for 49 points. Westbrook missed eight of his 10 shots and Harden was limited to eight points.

    The Thunder shot 56 percent and outrebounded San Antonio 41-31.

    Oklahoma City pulled ahead to stay with a 12-3 run early in the second quarter with Durant and Westbrook both taking a break. Westbrook nailed a 3-pointer from the left side soon after returning to provide the Thunder's first double-digit lead at 43-33 with 4:44 to go before halftime.

    Game notes

    After committing a postseason-worst 21 turnovers in Game 3, San Antonio had 10 that led to 11 Oklahoma City points. ... Ryan Seacrest sat in the front row near midcourt.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 103 109
    FGM-FGA 41-82 (.500) 44-78 (.564)
    3PM-3PA 11-23 (.478) 5-13 (.385)
    FTM-FTA 10-16 (.625) 16-21 (.762)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 7-31 7-41
    Assists 17 27
    Turnovers 10 13
    Steals 5 5
    Blocks 2 5
    Fast Break Points 3 9
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 20 (0/0) 15 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 8 15

    Top Performers

    San Antonio
    Oklahoma City
    Tim Duncan Duncan
    Points: 21
    Reb: 8
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 1
    Kevin Durant Durant
    Points: 36
    Reb: 6
    Ast: 8
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 1

    Research Notes

    Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins combined to score just 10.5 points on 26.1 percent from the field in Games 1 and 2. But the two picked things up when the series shifted to Oklahoma City, combining to average 29.5 points on 75.8 percent from the field in Games 3 and 4.
    Durant came up big when the Thunder needed him most, setting a playoff career high with 18 fourth quarter points. That hadn't been the case through the first 3 games of this series, as Durant made just one field goal in 29 minutes of action in the final quarter of the first 3 games.
    The Thunder scored 10 transition points in Game 4, tied for their fewest in any game during the 2012 playoffs. The Spurs outscored the Thunder 12-10 in transition on Saturday after Oklahoma City was +41 in transition in the first three games of the series.
    Tony Parker had success while being defended by Russell Westbrook in the first three games of the series, shooting 65.6 percent and averaging 16.3 points per game. In Game 4 Westbrook limited Parker to 1-of-5 (20.0 percent) shooting and Parker did not have much success against any other Thunder defender.
    The Thunder were 19-of-37 (51.4 percent) from 15+ feet in Game 4, their second-highest shooting percentage from that distance in the last three postseasons. Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka were the catalysts from 15+ feet, combining to make 12 of Oklahoma City's 19 field goals from that distance.
    Serge Ibaka scored a career-high 26 points in Game 4 on 11-of-11 shooting, and made 6 of his 11 field goals on jump shots from 15+ feet. In the first three games of the Western Conference Finals Ibaka was 4-of-9 (44.4 percent) from 15+ feet. His six made field goals from that distance are tied for the most in a game (11/15/10 vs. Jazz) in his career (reg. season and playoffs).
    Kevin Durant scored 28 of his game-high 36 points in the second half of Game 4 (18 in the fourth quarter) and was 11-of-16 (68.8 percent) from the field in the final two periods. Durant was effective from all shot distances in the second half Saturday, making at least three field goals from inside 5 feet, 5-14 feet and 15+ feet.
    Serge Ibaka was 11-for-11 in the Thunder's Game 4 win over the Spurs. That's one shy of the all-time NBA postseason record for most field goals made without a miss, held by Larry McNeill, who was 12-for-12 for the Kings in a 1975 win over the Bulls.

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