The Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the San Antonio Spurs 111-97 in game 4 to save their season from what would have been a difficult series deficit to recover from.
The series is now tied 2-2. Game 5 will shift the matchup back to the AT&T Center in San Antonio.
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The Thunder started off game 4 by hitting 4 of their first 6 shots, but the Spurs were also able to capitalize off of early second chances on the offensive end by crashing the glass effectively.
The Thunder finished the 1st quarter on a 2-10 shooting drought. Their 5 turnovers also prevented them from any prolonged offensive rhythm. The quarter ended with the Spurs winning 27-17.
The Spurs were shooting efficiently early and utilizing their impeccable ball movement to create open shots.
San Antonio climbed to an even bigger lead in the 2nd half, but Tim Duncan had to sit with foul trouble.
Duncan’s absence wasn’t debilitating. The Spurs were dominating the Thunder in various aspects of the game, perhaps most evident in the points in the paint scoring totals about midway through the 2nd quarter.
The Thunder were also shooting horrendously on their perimeter jumpers. Their resiliency was exposed through their ability to chip away at the Spurs’ lead, though.
The Thunder burst out to an 13-4 run to get their home crowd back into the game. The Spurs missed 8 straight shots at one point during this stretch by the Thunder, further energizing the OKC fans.
Like they tend to do, the Spurs were at least able to close the 2nd quarter strongly, going on a 9-0 run to end the half. The Spurs had a 53-45 lead at halftime.
The Spurs continued to excel at forcing the Thunder into turnovers, and were maintaining control of the game despite not hitting a 3-point until the final minute of the 3rd quarter.
The lead switched hands a few times as the 3rd quarter neared its conclusion, but the Spurs held a 81-77 lead, boosted by a Boris Diaw 3-pointer right before the quarter expired.
Each team was taking full advantage of scoring opportunities, getting the the line often and hitting their free throws.
The Thunder went on a 16-4 run to begin the all-important 4th quarter. They looked like they were playing tenaciously to try to save their season.
Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge disappeared in the 4th quarter as the Thunder began to pull ahead. The final score of 111-97 was inflated due to a scoring burst by the Thunder towards the end of the game.
Kevin Durant equaled a career playoff high with 41 points. Parker lead the Spurs with 22 points. Despite not contributing much scoring in the 4th quarter, Leonard finished the game with 21 points and Aldridge added 20 points.
Game 5 of this series will be played in San Antonio on Tuesday, May 10, when both teams will look to move just 1 win away from advancing to the Western Conference Finals.