Thunder Rumble Past Spurs To Level Series
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[May 28, 2014]
(Reuters) - The Oklahoma City Thunder, superbly led by
inspirational All-Stars Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant on their home
court, outplayed the San Antonio Spurs 105-92 in Game Four of the
Western Conference Finals on Tuesday.
Dynamic guard Westbrook contributed a game-high 40 points and 10
assists while league MVP Durant weighed in with 31 points on
11-of-22 shooting as the second-seeded Thunder evened up the
best-of-seven series at 2-2.
The top-seeded Spurs, aiming for a return to the NBA Finals after
losing to the Miami Heat in five games last year, were outshot by 49
percent to 40 from the field.
Point guard Tony Parker and Boris Diaw, off the bench, led the way
for San Antonio with 14 points each but veteran All-Star forward Tim
Duncan was held to just nine points on three-of-eight shooting.
"I think I did all right," a smiling Westbrook told Turner Network
Television in a courtside interview after a stellar display that
also included five steals. "Coming out with a win is most important.
"I just try to come out and give maximum effort. My team mates ask
that of me and that's what I was trying to do at both ends of the
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich applauded the performances produced by
Westbrook and Durant, but felt his team had paid the price for not
being aggressive enough.
"I thought they (Westbrook and Durant) did a great job," he said.
"They are great players, and that's what they do. I was disappointed
in our physicality."
San Antonio made a fast start, Kawhi Leonard pouring in two
three-pointers to help his team race ahead 8-0 but Westbrook sparked
an Oklahoma City fightback and they ended the first quarter on a
13-2 run to lead 26-20.
Durant then put on a spectacular show for his fans with a dazzling
array of shots from all around the court, totaling 15 points in the
second quarter as the faster-paced Thunder stretched their advantage
to 58-43 at halftime.
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San Antonio's second unit went on a rousing 18-5 run late in the
third quarter but Oklahoma City maintained overall control and led
83-67 heading into the fourth.
There was no way back from there for the Spurs, despite continued
good play from their reserves, and they ended the night by slipping
to their ninth straight loss to the Thunder at Chesapeake Energy
"I thought the last two games we played as a group," Thunder
coach Scott Brooks said after his team rebounded from two
demoralizing road losses to level the series. "Russell's defensive
toughness really set the tone in this game tonight."
The series shifts back to San Antonio for Game Five on Thursday with
the eventual winners advancing to meet either the Heat or Indiana
Pacers for the NBA title.
"We've got to make it travel," Westbrook said of the need for
Oklahoma City to take their winning form at home on the road. "We've
got to win one there if we want to win the series.
"We've got to go there with the same mindset as tonight and try to
come up with a win."
(Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by John
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