The San Antonio Spurs are back home Tuesday, where they have lost just two games all season. The Thunder are coming off a 111-97 win to tie the series.
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Kevin Durant put on a show as he was at his shot-making best in the fourth quarter of Game 4 against San Antonio, knocking down contested jumpers, scoring in transition and willing Oklahoma City to a series-evening victory on Sunday. He made all six of his field goal attempts to finish with 41 points, and yet his biggest impact may have come on the other end of the floor.
Defensively, Durant used his 6-foot-11 frame to make Kawhi Leonard’s life miserable, holding him to zero points in the fourth quarter–Leonard was 0 for 5 in the final period a rarity for him.
If Durant can bring the same type of intensity in a pivotal Game 5 in San Antonio on Tuesday night, the Thunder become an even more imposing mountain for the Spurs to climb than they already were.
What is noticeable is the ball movement of the Spurs has vanished. San Antonio shot 60 percent and had an incredible 39 assists in the Game 1 rout. The Spurs had 19 assists in each of their next two games and then just 12 in the Game 4 loss on Sunday.
After the loss, Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich knows his team has been in this position before and going back to square one is what needs to happen. “They have been down, but things do slow down in the playoffs,” Popovich said. “Having said that, we need to have a little bit more ball movement and get a few more passes out on the court, for sure.”
The Spurs offense has been stagnant after their game one performance. In game four, more one-on-one took place than ever for a team that thrives on getting everyone involved. Aldridge summed it up perfectly.
“Guys wanted the ball and just didn’t make shots. We never really got into a good offensive rhythm but we kept making runs,” Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge said. “Guys kept making plays at certain times but we had a lot of open looks that we didn’t make. If you don’t make shots, the assists don’t come.”
We could be talking game 5 as being the close-out game for the Spurs, but as the Thunder have proven, they will not go down without a fight. The series, now a best of three, now turns into whom can protect their home court the most.
Game 5 tips off on TNT at 8:00 PM Eastern.