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San Antonio Spurs Narrowly Lose Game 2 to OKC Thunder

May 2, 2016; San Antonio, TX, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook (0) dribbles the ball as San Antonio Spurs small forward Kawhi Leonard (2) defends in game two of the second round of the NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
May 2, 2016; San Antonio, TX, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook (0) dribbles the ball as San Antonio Spurs small forward Kawhi Leonard (2) defends in game two of the second round of the NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
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Game 2 turned out be be a much closer contest than game 1. In a thrilling finish with a blend of excitement and controversy, the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the San Antonio Spurs with 98-97 to even up the series 1-1.

The Spurs started 2 for 16 from the field, and although they were executing nicely on the pick-and-roll in terms of creating separation, they weren’t finishing near the rim.

The Thunder looked more tenacious on both ends of the court, as if they had woken up from their funk from the previous contest.

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Oklahoma City started the game on a 17-4 run, completely flipping the script from their game 1 start. They were also able to run up an early rebounding advantage on the Spurs through their much better shooting percentage as well as their increased grit inside compared to their softer approach in game 1.

The Thunder outshot the Spurs in free throws 10-0 in the first quarter, using their slashing ability to draw fouls.

The Spurs finished the quarter with improved offensive performance compared to how they started, shooting 8 for 10 to close out the 1st, capped with a Manu Ginobili 3 pointer just before time expired. The Thunder were winning 29-21 after the 1st quarter.

San Antonio opened the 2nd quarter on a 9-0 run. They kept their composure after a slow start and climbed back in the game through smart basketball.

An evenly matched 2nd quarter brought the game to halftime with the Thunder still ahead  56-53.

The Spurs were able to hang around in the 3rd quarter based on their advantage on points off of turnovers. They also enjoyed terrific production off their bench, lead by Ginobili.

The Spurs closed the gap with a 12-2 run while Westbrook rested. After 3 quarters, the score was 77-76 with the Thunder still maintaining a slight lead.

OKC opened the 4th quarter on an 8-0 run, lead by Kevin Durant. During this run by the Thunder, the Spurs missed 8 straight shots.

Back-to-back 3s from Danny Green got the Spurs right back in it. The Thunder missed 7 straight shots during a Spurs’ 8-0 run to answer the previous run.

The game was within 3 with less than a minute and a half left. Durant scored a big basket on a runner, but LaMarcus Aldridge answered right back off a slick pass from Tony Parker for 3.

Russell Westbrook hit 2 free throws on the other end to make it a 4 point game with less than 19 seconds remaining.

Aldridge was fouled shooting a 3 by Serge Ibaka on the Spurs’ next possession. He made all 3 free throws to cut the lead to 1 with under 14 seconds left.

In a thrilling finish, San Antonio forced a turnover but couldn’t hit the shot to put them ahead. The Thunder barely held on to even the series 98-97.

Controversy ensued when replay showed that Dion Waiters pushed Manu Ginobili before inbounding the ball, which should have signaled an offensive foul.

This will surely leave the Spurs with a bad taste in their mouth as the game shifts to Oklahoma City for game 3 on Friday May 6.

Next: San Antonio Spurs vs. OKC Thunder Game 2 Live Thread

Westbrook and Durant successfully bounced back in this game. Westbrook scored 29 points and Durant scored 28. Aldridge lead the game in scoring with 41.

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