Thunder Rally Falls Just Short
By Randy Renner
The Oklahoma City Thunder got popped in the third quarter, punched back in the fourth but couldn’t quite finish the job in overtime losing 112-107 to the San Antonio Spurs and bringing their season to an end before anyone wanted.
“We fought as hard as we could all night,” said Thunder superstar and NBA MVP Kevin Durant. “We left it all out there. They made plays down the stretch, we didn’t.”
The Thunder hit just one of their 11 shots in overtime, Durant was 0-for-3 and Russell Westbrook was 1-for-7.
Westbrook led the Thunder with 34 points and Durant added 31 but each also had seven turnovers. Boris Diaw came off the bench to score 26 for the Spurs as they head to the The NBA Finals for the sixth time in the Gregg Popovich era.
The Spurs scored a whopping 37 points coming out of halftime, outscoring the Thunder 37-20 in the third quarter, but OKC fought back in the fourth, tying the game and then surviving a second too late putback by the Spurs to get the game into overtime.
That big third for San Antonio was a bit surprising because it came with Tony Parker in the lockerroom nursing a sore left ankle that he actually sprained back in Game 4. Parker did not return for the second half.
Despite the fourth quarter comeback by the Thunder that big third quarter for the Spurs seemed to turn things around in a game the Thunder had led most of the first half.
“We started settling for too many jump shots and then we turned the ball over,” said Thunder head coach Scott Brooks.
Turnovers came in bushel baskets and so did points off of those givebacks. The Thunder turned it over 20 times and the Spurs scored 33 points as a result.
In the previous five games the Spurs hadn’t scored more than 21 points off Thunder turnovers.
“And then defensively they had us scrambling around and they made some big plays at the end,” Brooks noted.
The Thunder got big nights from Durant and Westbrook, Serge Ibaka (16 points) and Reggie Jackson (21 points)but that was it. Except for five points from Derek Fisher no one else in a Thunder uniform scored.
The Spurs got 61 points from their starters and 51 from their bench players. The Thunder were a tad less balanced, getting 102 points from their starters and five from their bench.
That 46 point differential is the most in any game this season.
The Thunder bench has suffered with Jackson’s promotion to the starting unit and that’s going to need to change moving forward.
Speaking of moving forward, the Thunder, as do most teams, will not waste any time saying good bye to this season. Exit interviews will held on Sunday and Monday and then GM Sam Presti will speak to reporters at about midweek.
As always we’ll keep you updated right here on InsideThunder.com with audio, video and photos.