Thunder 109, Spurs 103 (Series tied 2-2)
The Spurs are back off to Bexar County now. They’ll be rifling through their yearbooks trying to remember what once was. They got turned down by the hot girl at the bar in the most gut-wrenching way last night, losing to the Thunder 109-103.
San Antonio was about to work up the nerve to go say something warm and cool, then Kevin Durant showed up and just bought the whole bar. The girl came with it.
He scored 15 of the Thunder’s last 20. Thirteen of them were in a row. None of them were really stoppable by another person playing basketball. San Antonio was knocking on the door throughout the entire run, but it felt unserious. The League’s leading scorer just decided he wasn’t going to lose last night.
Now San Antonio has to figure out what worked last weekend—and the last 10 years—and then they’ve got to figure out how they got so ugly overnight.
Truth is, Gregg Popovich and Co. had to have expected that Durant fireball at some point. It’s probably crocheted onto a pillow somewhere in Matt Bonner’s locker. “Kevin Durant is going to go off at some point. We will play the next game like it never happened.”
But that’s not the problem. The problem is that the Spurs got eviscerated all night by the Oklahoma City big men. Serge Ibaka looked like David Robinson out there at the elbow and in the corner. He had the most points in a Playoff game by anybody who didn’t miss a shot. Eleven-for-eleven, this guy.
In fact, here’s Kendrick Perkins, Nick Collison and Serge Ibaka’s combined line for the first half: 33 points on 15-of-18 shooting. It was almost entirely putbacks, 15-footers, and smart cuts off of a quicker player’s penetration. All of it was savvy and tough.
Perkins, Collison and Ibaka carried that offense. If that last sentence is on a pillow anywhere, I’ll eat it.
Again, they hung around. Tim Duncan had a quiet, physical 21. Kawhi Leonard kept them in it with corner threes toward the end. That deathly Thunder backcourt was in a coma, too. Parker, Ginobili, Gary Neal and Danny Green made Westbrook force shots and threw Harden off his rhythm. The OKC backcourt (Westbrook, Sefolosha, Harden and Fisher) were a combined 9-of-33.
The Thunder shot 57 percent anyway.
Now the Spurs are off to lift some weights, remember what’s good about themselves, maybe buy a sexy new car called “2-3 zone” or “DeJuan Blair.” They’re gonna need an American Beauty moment if they want to make the kids look like hell again, like what happened at the AT&T Center in Games 1 and 2, when athleticism didn’t seem to matter and the Spurs were just too smart.
But these Thunder kids aren’t too dumb, themselves. They proved that last night.
And they sure are a hell of a lot prettier. —Ben Collins