The Norman Transcript

Sports

March 17, 2012

Spurs snuff out Thunder’s rally

OKLAHOMA CITY — Fans packed into The Chesapeake Energy Arena on Friday expecting to see a clash of the titans. Oklahoma City and San Antonio represent the two best teams in the Western Conference and opposite ends of the spectrum in style.

The Spurs grabbed a giant lead and did everything possible to hold back a surging Thunder squad the rest of the game.

San Antonio beat Oklahoma City 114-105 to take a 2-1 series lead and sent a message that it has not given up its claim on winning the top-seed in the conference.

As well as the Spurs (29-13) played, the Thunder (33-11) still had a chance to claim the victory.

With 1:20 left in the fourth quarter, Kevin Durant drained a 3-pointer to get Oklahoma City to within two points. The Spurs Tim Duncan was fouled by Serge Ibaka while making a layup, but he missed the ensuing free throw and Oklahoma City trailed by only four.

However, after a Thunder time-out, Danny Green stole James Harden’s inbound pass and sprinted for an easy layup. The Spurs scored seven unanswered points to close out the game and hand the Thunder their fourth home loss.

"You can’t get down 27 points to a good basketball team, or any basketball team, and expect to come back," Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks siad. "It’s tough to do. Give our guys credit. They nearly did that tonight with their toughness and their spirit of not giving up.”

Russell Westbrook led all scorers with 36 points on 13-of-29 shooting. Durant’s shooting night was not as kind. Being guarded by rookie Kawhi Leonard, he was 8 of 19 for 25 points to go along with seven rebounds and five turnovers.

"He did as good as anybody would expect," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "Kevin is a future hall of fame player and Kawhi, a rookie, the best part about it is that he doesn't get intimidated and just does his best and he keeps working at it."

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