San Antonio wins series 4-2 (Game 5 of 6)

San Antonio wins series 4-2

Game 1: Monday, May 19th
Game 2: Wednesday, May 21st
Game 3: Sunday, May 25th
Game 4: Tuesday, May 27th
Game 5: Thursday, May 29th
Game 6: Saturday, May 31st

Thunder 89

(59-23, 25-16 away)

Spurs 117

(62-20, 32-9 home)

    Coverage: TNT

    9:00 PM ET, May 29, 2014

    AT&T Center, San Antonio, TX

    1 2 3 4 T
    OKC 32 23 19 1589
    SA 32 33 29 23117

    Top Performers

    Okc: R. Westbrook 21 Pts, 4 Reb, 7 Ast, 3 Stl

    SA: T. Duncan 22 Pts, 12 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Blk

    Tim Duncan, Spurs thrash Thunder for 3-2 lead in series 

    Associated Press

    SAN ANTONIO -- Back at home, this blowout went to the San Antonio Spurs.

    Now they can clinch a return to the NBA Finals on the road, where they are the ones taking the beatings in these wacky Western Conference finals.

    "This is the craziest series I've ever been involved in," veteran Tim Duncan said.

    The Spurs took a 3-2 lead in the series Thursday night after Duncan had 22 points and 12 rebounds in a 117-89 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder.

    The Jekyll-and-Hyde series continued between the past two Western Conference champions, as the road team has been thumped in every game of the best-of-seven series.

    Game 6 is Saturday in Oklahoma City.

    "I have no clue, honestly," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said of the disparity. "I think every game, it's a different animal. It really is. We talk to our team about that all the time. You have no clue what's going to happen, how a team is going to come out, whether they're going to be lethargic or hold the ball, get 50/50 balls or don't get 50/50 balls."

    Kevin Durant scored 25 points, but Russell Westbrook had only 21 points and seven assists after finishing with 40 points and 10 assists in Game 4.

    Manu Ginobili scored 19 points, Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green each had 14, and Boris Diaw added 13 for the Spurs, who are a win away from returning to the NBA Finals after losing in seven games to Miami last year.

    The Spurs returned to the style of play that enabled them to win the series' first two games by a combined 52 points.

    "We gave them everything they wanted," Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks said. "They got the dribble drive, they got the 3-point line and they got to the free throw line."

    The Spurs also were 13-for-26 on 3-pointers and outrebounded the Thunder 48-35. In addition, San Antonio limited Oklahoma City to four fast-break points after giving up 21 in Game 4.

    After losing twice in Oklahoma City by an average of 11 points, San Antonio upped its winning margin in San Antonio to 26.7 points per game.

    Oklahoma City had just 34 points in the second half after scoring 32 in the first quarter.

    "Our shots weren't falling for us," Durant said. "We've got to stay aggressive and we've got to get stops. When we can't make a shot, we've got to play defense, and we didn't tonight."

    San Antonio outscored Oklahoma City by 10 points in both the second and third quarters, allowing both teams to sit their starters for much of the fourth.

    Serge Ibaka, who dominated the interior in Oklahoma City, was held to six points and two rebounds.

    The Spurs started Matt Bonner in place of Tiago Splitter to draw Ibaka out of the paint, and it worked early. It also helped defensively, as Ibaka attacked Bonner but missed his first five shots on a series of running hooks. Duncan also was able to help defensively, rolling over to block a layup attempt by Ibaka.

    "He didn't have the games that he had the last two games, that's pretty clear," Brooks said. "I thought his energy was good. He competed. He missed some shots that he normally makes. (But) it was everybody. It was everybody."

    San Antonio's crowd was raucous from the start, booing Westbrook heavily during pregame introductions and erupting joyously when Green scored the team's first points on a 3-pointer 1 1/2 minutes into the game.

    Oklahoma City withstood the early barrage, going on an 11-2 run for its largest lead of the game.

    San Antonio kept Westbrook out of the paint early, but that only opened up the lanes for Reggie Jackson, who made his first five shots. He had four straight layups and then drained a 3-pointer with Tony Parker closely defending.

    When asked whether San Antonio had done anything differently to keep him out of the paint, Westbrook said, "Nothing."

    Three-point shooting got San Antonio back into the game, as Patty Mills and Green closed the first with consecutive 3s to tie the game at 32-all.

    Diaw's 3 gave San Antonio a 42-37 lead with 6:12 left in the first half and resulted in an Oklahoma City timeout.

    Ginobili's 3 gave the Spurs a 65-52 lead with 6.9 seconds left in the first half.

    Ginobili's third 3 gave San Antonio an 87-70 lead with three minutes remaining in the third.

    Game notes

    San Antonio used its 31st different starting lineup this season, with Bonner making his first start. He averaged 11.3 minutes in 61 regular-season games but his playing time has been curtailed to 4.8 minutes while appearing in all 16 postseason games. Diaw started in Bonner's place in the second half. ... Durant was sent back to the sideline after attempting to substitute with 10:29 remaining in the second quarter. A timekeeper told official Tony Brothers that Durant was not at the table in time to enter prior to an inbounds pass. "I was there," Durant said. "That's (wrong). You know that." Durant was able to enter about 10 seconds later, however. ... Ibaka wore a heating pad on his injured calf when he was not in the game.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Research Notes

    Serge Ibaka went 1-of-6 in the paint in Game 5 after going 7-of-8 in Games 3 and 4. He was 0-of-3 with no points overall against Matt Bonner and 1-of-3 with 2 points against Boris Diaw. He faced those two on only four plays in Games 3 and 4. Kevin Durant finished 3-of-8 with 7 points against Danny Green, whom he started the game against. Russell Westbrook finished 5-of-11 with an average field goal distance of 18.7 feet against Kawhi Leonard Thursday. Westbrook had an average shot distance of 12.0 feet the first four games of the series, facing Leonard on only 1 field goal attempt.
    Spurs drivers scored 29 points Thursday, their most in a game this series. Their drivers shot 9-of-14 and attempted a series-high 11 free throws on those plays. The Spurs' drivers were 6-of-9 with 19 points (7-7 FT) on drives with Serge Ibaka on court Thursday. In Games 3 and 4, Spurs drivers shot 39.1 percent and averaged 13.0 points per game with Ibaka on court.
    Although Russell Westbrook was efficient on his drives in Game 5, he drove to the basket only four times in the game, his fewest since Game 1 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals. - In addition to driving less frequently, Westbrook was also less active looking for his shot. Westbrook didn't pass (only player to touch the ball) on five plays in Game 5, which led to 6 points. Westbrook didn't pass 19 times in Game 4, scoring 26 points. - Westbrook finished with two field goal attempts in the paint Thursday (1-2) after going 8-of-10 in Game 4. It's only the second time in Westbrook's playoff career with two or fewer attempt in the paint.
    The Spurs have won 7 straight home games by at least 15 points dating back to Game 7 of the first round against Dallas. That is the longest such streak in NBA playoff history. That includes a 35-point win in Game 2 and a 28-point in Game 5 Thursday.
    The Thunder lost Game 5 by 28 points and have lost their three road games in the series by a combined 80 points. That would be the worst points differential on the road since the first year of the conference finals in 1971.
    The Spurs won Game 5 by 28 points over the Thunder and history says that bodes well moving forward... In NBA history, each of the 3 previous teams to post a 20-point win in Game 5 of Conference Finals tied 2-2 not only won the series, but went on to win the NBA title as well.
    The tweak to the Spurs' lineup may have helped open the paint in Game 5. The Spurs shot 71.4 percent in the paint Thursday, their best in a game this postseason, after shooting a postseason-low 45.0 percent in Game 4. The Spurs shot 73.7 percent (14-of-19) with Serge Ibaka on court in Game 5 (43.4 percent in Games 3 and 4).
    The Thunder have won all 4 series in which they were tied 2-2 dating back to the 2011 postseason (OKC was tied 2-2 in both of their previous series this postseason - vs Grizzlies in the 1st Round and vs Clippers in Conference Semifinals)
    From Elias: Kevin Durant is averaging 29.8 points this postseason while Russell Westbrook is putting up 26.6 per game. Since 1970-71 (Conference Era), the only pair of teammates to average 25+ points per game in the postseason while making it to at least the Conference Finals were Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant. That duo did so on two different occasions with the Lakers, winning the title both times (2001 and 2002).
    Spurs this season (including playoffs) are 61-2 (.968) after finishing the 3rd quarter with a lead. That's the most wins and the best win percentage in the NBA this season. The rest of the NBA had a win percentage of .784.
    The Thunder are 6-0 with Serge Ibaka in the lineup against the Spurs this season, with 4 of those wins coming back in the regular season. OKC is limiting San Antonio to 21.0 fewer points per game with Ibaka, in large part due to controlling the painted area. San Antonio averaged 60.0 paint points per game on 66.7 percent shooting in the 2 games Ibaka sat out, but has put up just 40.3 paint points on 48.2 percent from the field in the 6 games he's played.
    From Elias: The Thunder still have work to do if they want to match the feat they accomplished in 2012. NBA teams erasing a 2-0 best-of-seven series deficit and tying the series 2-2 have gone on to win just 21.4% of the time (15 of 70 series). But since 2012, such teams are 2-2 (OKC d. SA in 2012, MEM d. LAC in 2013; BOS lost to MIA in 2012, ATL lost to IND in 2013).

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