San Antonio wins series 4-2
|Game 1: Monday, May 19th|
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|Game 2: Wednesday, May 21st|
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|Game 3: Sunday, May 25th|
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|Game 4: Tuesday, May 27th|
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|Game 5: Thursday, May 29th|
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|Game 6: Saturday, May 31st|
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9:00 PM ET, May 27, 2014
Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, OK
Russell Westbrook scores 40 as Thunder knot up series with Spurs
And on Tuesday, Westbrook delivered a championship-caliber effort that got the Oklahoma City Thunder back to even in the Western Conference finals.
He had 40 points, 10 assists and five steals in a 105-92 victory over the San Antonio Spurs that tied the series at two games apiece.
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"Coach told us he needed maximum effort from us tonight, and it starts with me at point guard," Westbrook said. "My job is to play both sides of the ball. If you want to win a championship, those are things you have to do."
It matched the second-highest playoff point total of Westbrook's career, falling short of the 43 he scored in the 2012 NBA Finals. He also joined Michael Jordan, who accomplished the feat in 1989, as the only two players with at least 40 points, 10 assists and five steals in a playoff game, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
"Just his focus on every possession on the defensive end and his poise on the offensive end, I think that's what's fun to watch," Durant said. "People outside of our team don't really look at that type of stuff, but that's something we can definitely build on as a group, is watching him wreak havoc on the defensive end and offensively, playing with such patience."
At times, Westbrook has been a maddening player for Thunder fans to watch. His dynamic athletic ability gives him a supreme confidence that sometimes leads to ill-advised shots and a tendency to hold the ball at the expense of offensive flow.
But in this game, Westbrook did just about everything right. He shot 50 percent from the field and took just five 3-pointers. He made 14 of 14 free throws.
One-Man Team ... Literally
Russell Westbrook had more points, assists, steals and free throw attempts than the entire Spurs starting lineup combined in Game 4 on Tuesday:
"Sometimes he's going to go off," Spurs guard Manu Ginobili said. "He's capable of doing that. If he makes a lot of jumpers, it gets really tough."
In the midst of posting a monster game, Westbrook allowed Durant to still score 31 points. It was Durant's highest-scoring game of the series after the NBA's leading scorer was held to a 22.7-point average in the first three games.
Serge Ibaka added nine points and eight rebounds for the Thunder, who have turned around the series since he returned from an injury that was expected to keep him out for the rest of the postseason.
"We just play well with Serge," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. "We can do things with Serge in the lineup that we can't do with other guys."
Boris Diaw had 14 points and 10 rebounds, and Tony Parker added 14 points for the Spurs, who blew a 2-0 lead against the Thunder in this round two years ago and are in danger of doing it again. San Antonio will host Game 5 on Thursday and won't be worried about the past.
"I think we shouldn't think like that," Parker said. "Each game is different. Each series. Each year. We worked hard all year to have home-court advantage, and now, it's our job to protect home court."
SportsNation: Thunder even series
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Oklahoma City dominated for the second consecutive game after getting blown out in the first two. The Thunder committed just seven turnovers and shot 49 percent from the field.
The Spurs scored the first eight points of the game, but things went downhill from there. A steal and dunk by Westbrook gave the Thunder a 42-32 lead with just less than five minutes left in the first half. Back-to-back 3-pointers by Durant pushed Oklahoma City's lead to 50-36.
The Thunder led 58-43 at halftime. Durant scored 22 points, and Westbrook added 17 points, eight assists and four steals before the break.
Parker shot 6-of-9 in the first half, but the rest of the Spurs made just 11 of 32 shots before the break.
A lob from Reggie Jackson to Durant for a two-handed slam bumped Oklahoma City's lead to 60-43. A steal and jam by Ibaka made it 66-49, and a dunk by Westbrook made it 76-49.
The Spurs closed the quarter on an 18-7 run and cut their deficit to 83-67. San Antonio's Matt Bonner made a 3-pointer with 3:31 remaining to trim Oklahoma City's edge to 12, but the Thunder maintained control.
"We were just not focused coming out," Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard said. "We're not playing consistently throughout the whole game. We're playing in spurts or increments. We've just got to play the whole game."
The Thunder still need to win on the road to win the series.
"We're just trying to look forward," Durant said. "We know how tough it is to go in there and get a W. We have to go on the road and handle our business. We feel better, but we're not satisfied."
Jackson started for the second straight game. He sprained his right ankle on a drive to the hoop and left the game with 8:25 left in the first quarter. He returned to start the second quarter. ... Thunder C Kendrick Perkins had 10 rebounds. ... The Thunder improved to 5-1 in the playoffs when Westbrook has at least 10 assists. ... Ginobili played just 11 minutes and scored five points. ... Thunder G Thabo Sefolosha did not play for the second consecutive game. He started the first two games of the series.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - MAY 27: A general view before Game Four of the Western Conference Finals of the 2014 NBA...(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Around The Association
MVP: Russell Westbrook. Serge Ibaka continued to provide the emotional lift, but Westbrook played for 46 of the game's 48 minutes with the needle pegged, racking up 40 points and 10 assists plus five steals that made a difference early in getting the Thunder out ahead of the Spurs.
That was ... a momentum killer. Ibaka's heroic return gave Oklahoma City an undeniable jolt in Game 3, but anyone might have bet on San Antonio shrugging it off in Game 4. This felt much more like a tectonic shift, and now everyone's looking back to 2012 when the Thunder ended up destroying a Spurs team that looked dominant.
X factor: Fast-break points. The difference couldn't be more stark: Oklahoma City racked up 21 (17 in the first half alone) while San Antonio managed zero. None. Goose egg. It seemed at first like leaning so heavily on the starters and playing at such a speed might wear out the Thunder, but they never faltered.
Russell Westbrook scored 40 points Tuesday and had 10 assists that led to 23 more points. The 63 points created were the second most of his career (previous high 65 in Game 7 of Round 1 vs the Grizzlies). Westbrook assisted on 14 of Kevin Durant's 31 points. How was Westbrook so effective on offense? Despite picking up 10 assists, Westbrook had 19 plays in which he was the only player to touch the ball, his most in a game this series. His ability to pick his spots better in Game 4 led to a more efficient approach on those plays. On drives, Westbrook was a perfect 5-of-5 from the field and drew five shooting fouls. His 20 points on drives were three shy of his total from the first three games combined (7-of-15, 10 free throws on drives in first three games).[+]
Russell Westbrook When Not Passing This Series
The Thunder outscored the Spurs 21-0 in fastbreak points, their 3rd-best fastbreak points differential in a playoff game since Durant and Westbrook joined the team. In addition, they've allowed 38 paint points per game in the last 2 games after allowing 60 paint points per game in the first 2 games of the series.[+]
Thunder vs Spurs in Western Conf. Finals
The aggressive play by Westbrook and Durant, as well as the higher transition output, helped the Thunder shoot 71.0 percent in the paint Tuesday, their highest of the postseason.[+]
The Thunder also dominated the interior on the defensive end. The Spurs shot 45.0 percent in the paint Tuesday, their lowest this postseason. Their previous low was 47.6 percent, done in Game 3 against the Thunder.
Spurs Offense In the Paint, This Series
The Thunder turned the ball over on 7.7 percent of their possessions Tuesday, their lowest in the postseason and second-lowest this season. It also their third-lowest turnover percentage in franchise postseason history.[+]
Four Factors Analysis
Russell Westbrook sparked the Thunder's running game Tuesday as he scored or assisted on 17 of their series-high 29 transition points. Westbrook forced five turnovers as a primary defender Tuesday that led to nine transition points for the Thunder.[+]
Entering the game, the Spurs and Thunder had each scored 37 transition points, with the Thunder having two more transition plays.
Transition Offense, Game 4
Russell Westbrook is the 1st player with 30 points, 10 assists and 5 steals in a playoff game since Allen Iverson in 2003 against the Pistons. He is 1 of 6 players to hit those marks in a playoff game in the last 25 seasons[+]
It is Westbrook's 3rd 30-point, 10-assist game this postseason. That is tied for the 4th-most such games in a single postseason in NBA history.[+]
Kevin Durant's 22 first-half points are his 2nd-most first-half points in his postseason career (27 on April 27, 2013 vs HOU) The Thunder are 6-0 in the postseason when Durant scores 20+ in the first half
The Thunder outscored the Spurs 22-0 in transition in the first half Tuesday. The Spurs haven't even recorded a play in transition. Russell Westbrook scored or assisted on 14 of the 22 transition points.
It's the first time this postseason that Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook both committed 0 turnovers in the 1st half. It's the 3rd time in 71 postseason games together that Durant and Westbrook had 0 turnovers in the 1st half (1st time since May 14, 2012 vs Lakers). It's the 1st time they've ever combined for at least 30 points and 0 turnovers in the 1st half of a playoff game.
Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant scored 39 of the Thunder's 58 first half points Tuesday. Neither player committed a turnover, the first time this postseason neither both had zero combined turnovers at the half.[+]
Thunder in 1st Half Tuesday
FROM ELIAS: Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant each scored 30 points and shot at least 50 percent in a playoff game together for the 3rd time. The only other teammates to do that multiple times in the postseason together over the last 10 years are LeBron James and Dwyane Wade (3x) along with Tony Parker and Tim Duncan (2x)
ESPN Stats & Information
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