Oklahoma City wins series 4-2 (Game 5 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

Thunder 108

(47-19, 21-12 away)

Spurs 103

(50-16, 28-5 home)

    Coverage: TNT

    9:00 PM ET, June 4, 2012

    AT&T Center, San Antonio, TX

    1 2 3 4 T
    OKC 26 26 29 27108
    SA 21 23 28 31103

    Top Performers

    Okc: K. Durant 27 Pts, 4 Reb, 5 Ast, 3 Stl, 1 Blk

    SA: M. Ginobili 34 Pts, 6 Reb, 7 Ast, 2 Stl

    Thunder hold off Spurs, move one win away from NBA Finals berth news services

    This story has been corrected. Read below

    SAN ANTONIO -- Look who's unstoppable now.

    Forget that incredible San Antonio streak of 20 straight wins. That's ancient history, and the way the Oklahoma City Thunder have taken complete command of the Western Conference finals, the Spurs might soon be finished themselves.

    Kevin Durant scored 27 points and the Thunder are on the brink of the NBA Finals, beating the Spurs 108-103 in Game 5 on Monday night and going from an 0-2 hole to moving within a victory of a series knockout. Their first chance will be Wednesday night at home, where they haven't lost in the playoffs.

    "We never thought we're supposed to wait our turn," Durant said. "Coach always emphasizes that with every opportunity that you step on the floor. It's a great opportunity to get better. To get to our dream."

    Russell Westbrook added 23 and the Thunder took a 3-2 lead in a wildly entertaining Western Conference finals. Looking invincible while carrying a 20-game winning streak a week ago -- the fourth-longest in NBA history -- the Spurs have lost three straight and are on the verge of a stunning collapse.

    Manu Ginobili scored 34 in a smashing return to the starting lineup, and the switch showed just how much Spurs coach Gregg Popovich knew his team might be in trouble. The only way the Spurs would have considered it a success is had they won, and that chance went clanging off the back of the rim with 4.9 seconds left with Ginobili missing an off-balance 3.

    Ginobili then walked to the scorer's table, made a fist and hammered it down.

    "It wasn't a great shot, but it wasn't a bad one," Ginobili said. "It just didn't go in."

    It was the Spurs' first loss at home since April 11.

    Popovich said he removed Danny Green from the starting lineup and plugged in Ginobili -- who had started only seven previous times this season -- to give the Spurs "an energy boost." But that didn't solve a third straight uneven game for the Spurs, particularly another languid second quarter that put them in a 14-point deficit.

    "If we don't get that straight," Popovich said, "it'll be over on Wednesday."

    Oklahoma City, meanwhile, is bringing home just what they needed: the must-win on the road if they're going to pull this series out.

    "That was a total team effort," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. "Everybody did their job. I thought we played as hard as we can play."

    Oklahoma City pulled it off behind their stars. James Harden scored 20, joining Durant and Westbrook as the only Thunder players in double figures.

    Harden hit the biggest shot, draining a 3-pointer with 28.8 seconds left that pushed Oklahoma City's lead to five. He admitted afterward that the ball was supposed to go to Durant but had no choice but to let go with the shot clock winding down and Spurs rookie Kawhi Leonard in his face.

    "The shot clock was running down and I had to make a play," Harden said. "Leonard was playing great defense on me. I just shot it with confidence. West Conference finals -- that's a big shot."

    Tony Parker had 20 points and Tim Duncan had 18 points and 12 rebounds for the Spurs.

    After remaining unbeaten for 50 days before arriving in Oklahoma City, San Antonio has lost three games in five days. The Spurs now must win two straight to avoid seeing their last best chance to win in a title in the Duncan era end.

    "Championship teams win on the road," Popovich said. "Oklahoma City just did that."

    It's the first time the Spurs have lost three in a row all season.

    Durant scored 22 of his points in the second half. He dedicated the win to his Uncle Tyrone, who Durant said was in the hospital.

    "We knew this was an important game," Durant said afterward. "Personally for me my uncle is in the hospital and I wanted to win this game for him."

    Westbrook also had 12 assists.

    Not wanting the series to slip away, Popovich moved Ginobili to the starting lineup in place of Green, who came in shooting a combined 8 of 28 in this series.

    Green's days as a starter began looking numbered after Game 3. He couldn't save his job before leaving Oklahoma City -- Green shot 4 of 12 in both losses combined -- and Popovich couldn't wait any longer with the series tied and the season in the balance.

    Out with the undrafted swingman who barely made training camp, and in with the former All-Star. Pulling this big an adjustment this deep in the season likely didn't come easy for the NBA coach of the year, and the gambit drew mixed results.

    It looked like a no-brainer with Ginobili leading all scorers at halftime with 14, but new rotations for the Spurs made for rocky possessions. None more so than in the second quarter, when the Spurs shot 38 percent.

    Ginobili finished 11 of 21 and made half of his 10 3-point attempts. But with the game and arguably San Antonio's season on the line, his last one didn't connect.

    "It's either win or go home," Ginobili said. "It's our job. Nobody is going to feel sorry about ourselves."

    Game notes

    Taking a page from the Thunder, the Spurs held a T-shirt whiteout at the AT&T Center, a move the team has rarely made before. ... Durant's the clear last-shot taker for the Thunder. Popovich said it's as obvious as Dirk Nowitzki having the ball in his hands at the end for Dallas. But who do the Spurs go to with the game on the line? "It's a secret," Popovich said before the game.

    Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

    A June 4 story on incorrectly noted the length of the Oklahoma City Thunder home winning streak. Through Game 4 of the NBA Western Conference Finals, the Thunder had won every home playoff game.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 108 103
    FGM-FGA 40-80 (.500) 34-74 (.459)
    3PM-3PA 8-21 (.381) 9-24 (.375)
    FTM-FTA 20-23 (.870) 26-31 (.839)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 6-34 10-42
    Assists 22 23
    Turnovers 17 21
    Steals 12 8
    Blocks 5 1
    Fast Break Points 13 15
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 25 (1/0) 25 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 14 7

    Top Performers

    Oklahoma City
    San Antonio
    Kevin Durant Durant
    Points: 27
    Reb: 4
    Ast: 5
    Stl: 3
    Blk: 1
    Manu Ginobili Ginobili
    Points: 34
    Reb: 6
    Ast: 7
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0

    Research Notes

    The Game 5 loss against the Thunder gave the Spurs their 1st 3 game losing streak in the postseason since 2010, when they were swept by the Suns. In the Tim Duncan era (since 1997), the Spurs have lost at least 3 straight playoff games on 7 occasions.
    The Spurs shot 40 percent or less on pick-and-roll plays for the third straight game Monday (all losses). In their wins in the series, the Spurs shot over 50 percent on pick-and-rolls and averaged 20.2 more points per game.
    Manu Ginobili missed a 3-point field goal to tie Game 5 with four seconds left in the game. Ginobili was the 23rd different player to attempt a game-tying or game-winning field goal with fewer than 24 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter or overtime this postseason, all 23 having missed at least once and only Kevin Durant and Glen Davis having made one.
    Kevin Durant shot 9-13 and scored 22 of his 27 points in the second half of Game 5. Durant was 8-10 from 10+ feet in the second half, including 2-3 from the 3-point line. It was his most makes and attempts from that distance in any half this postseason. Durant is shooting 68.4 percent from 10+ feet in the second half of his last two games. For the postseason, he is shooting 46.3 percent from this range, fourth best among the 64 players with at least 40 attempts.
    From Elias: Kevin Durant is just 23 years old and he's already had a historic playoff career. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Durant's 27.6 career playoff scoring average is the highest ever among players who have played in at least 20 playoff games prior to turning 24 years of age.
    We take you Next Level to show the impact James Harden had in Oklahoma City's Game 5 win over San Antonio. In the 35 minutes with Harden on the court, the Thunder outscored the Spurs by 24 points and shot 55 percent from the field. In the 13 minutes he was off the court, OKC was outscored 37-18.
    Kevin Durant got off to a shaky start, totaling just 5 points on 1-6 shooting in the first half...but he got things going in the second half, scoring 22 points on 9-13 from the field

    ESPN Stats & Information