In a crucial game 5 for both teams, the San Antonio Spurs could not hold on to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Thunder took a 3-2 series lead with a dramatic 95-91 comeback win.
In the first minute of the game, Tony Parker was shaken up after drawing a charge on Russell Westbrook and had to come out of the game briefly.
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The Thunder started the game off on a 9-2 run, putting the Spurs immediately on their heels in front of their home crowd.
The Spurs started off the contest shooting just 1-8 from the field. Their lack of offensive efficiency carried over from the 4th quarter of game 4.
The Spurs are always mentally tough enough to shake off any poor starts, and they answered with a 8-2 run of their own to climb back into things.
The Spurs got early production off the bench from guys like Patty Mills, David West, and Boris Diaw.
Their second unit provided the starters with some rest without sacrificing too much production. However, a short dry spell ensued for the Spurs, and the 1st quarter concluded with the Thunder leading 22-16.
The Thunder carried an 11-2 run into the 2nd quarter, lead primarily by the efforts of Kevin Durant.
Dion Waiters found himself in foul trouble by the early 2nd quarter, and the Thunder lost a key weapon off the bench for a long stretch of time.
Russell Westbrook was also having his issues early on with turnovers, which allowed the Spurs to chip away at the Thunder’s lead.
A key difference in this game was LaMarcus Aldridge’s lack of contributions early after a dominant series up to this point, although he eventually started hitting more shots as the game went on.
The Thunder were struggling with turnovers, but Westbrook was alleviating the effects of his turnovers on the team with a steady dose of scoring.
The Spurs hit 9 of their last 11 shots to close out the 2nd quarter, including some big baskets from Kawhi Leonard. The 2nd quarter ended with a score 48-43, with the Spurs holding the lead at halftime.
The Spurs carried over a 22-6 run to start the 3rd quarter. By this stage of the game, the Spurs had created a huge discrepancy in the points in the paint numbers between the two teams, owning the interior. The Spurs’ lead was now in double digits.
The Thunder were getting to the line far more often than the Spurs, but were still playing catch-up in the points column.
With Durant being blatantly absent from most of the Thunder’s 3rd quarter offensive attack, Westbrook asserted himself on that end of the court.
The Thunder closed the quarter on 12-4 run to narrow the margin to just 3 points, as the Spurs clung to a 72-69 lead.
The Spurs missed 9 field goal attempts in a row as the 3rd quarter rolled into the 4th. It was a drought that lasted over 6 minutes.
The Thunder had committed twice as many turnovers as the Spurs by the 4th quarter, and credit should be given to the Spurs’ defense for that impressive statistic.
However, the Thunder were far out-rebounding the Spurs, as their players looked more active securing the basketball off of missed shots.
Danny Green returned to prominence with his perimeter shooting in this game, and it helped the Spurs maintain fluidity in their offense.
It was a tie game at 88-88 between the two teams with less than 2 minutes remaining. Enes Kanter hit a post shot to give OKC the advantage, but it was quickly answered on the other end.
The game was tied 90-90 with less than a minute left. Durant was fouled and hit both free throws to put the Thunder ahead.
Tony Parker was fouled driving to the hoop on the ensuing possession, and made 1 out of 2 free throws. The Thunder remained in the lead by 1 point with under 43 seconds left.
Durant lost the ball on the other end, and the Spurs had a chance to take the lead. Parker missed a perimeter shot with under 10 seconds left, and the ball went out of bounds off the miss.
Westbrook got the inbounds, and before he could be immediately fouled, the Spurs defense allowed him to get fouled on his layup attempt, which went in. Westbrook hit the free throw to put the Thunder up by 4.
The Spurs couldn’t score on their next possession, and the Thunder completed the comeback win by a final score of 95-91.
Westbrook finished with 35 points, 11 rebounds, and 9 assists. Durant added 23 points. The Spurs had 3 different players score 20 points. Leonard had 26 points, while Aldridge and Green both had 20 points.
Game 6 will be played in Oklahoma City on Thursday, May 12. The Thunder will be looking to punch their ticket to the Western Conference Finals in front of their home crowd.