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News  


NBA WEST FINALS - Thunder strikes in OKC, derails Spurs in Game 3


PhilBoxing.com




WITH their postseason on the line, the Oklahoma City Thunder unleashed the might of their offensive firepower and easily beat the San Antonio Spurs, 102-82, in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals Thursday night at the Chesapeake Energy Arena.

The Thunder win chopped the Spurs' series lead to 2-1 and ended San Antonio's impressive 20-game run, a streak that dates back late in the regular season and includes 10 games this postseason.

The Spurs had not lost a game since April 11 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Kevin Durant, the league's back-to-back-to-back scoring champion, led Oklahoma's balanced attack with 22 points. His running mate, Russell Westbrook, only had 10 points but the speedy point guard was brilliant with seven assists and nine rebounds.

Defensive specialist Tabo Sefolosha was a surprise hit on offense, finishing with 19 points and six assists. He also had four rebounds and six steals, including four early in the first quarter which allowed OKC to jump to an 8-0 lead.

NBA Sixth Man of the Year winner James Harden, who exploded for 30 points in OKC's Game 2 loss, had a quiet 15 points with four rebounds and three assists.

After falling early, 8-0, the Spurs regained the lead 13-12 and went ahead 24-22 after the first quarter.

But the Thunder struck back in the second quarter with a 32-17 spurt to take a 54-41 halftime lead. The Thunder then stretched their lead to 68-48 late in the third quarter and cruised all the way to the final buzzer.

"THEY played like it was a closeout game, both offensively and defensively," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich told the Associated Press. "They were very active, physical, they moved the ball well on offense. They did all those things better than we did. They beat us good."

The Spurs couldn't find the offense that made them the last unbeaten team in these playoffs. They shot just 30-of-76 from the field (39.5 percent) and 11-of-26 from 3-point range (42.3 percent). And they only attempted 15 free throws (11 made), a far cry from the combined 51 attempts they took in Games 1 and 2.

Tony Parker and Stephen Jackson led the Spurs with 16 points each but Tim Duncan struggled with 11 points on 5-of-15 shooting while Manu Ginobili settled with eight points on a mere 1-for-5 field goals.

Besides having their offense slowed with only 18 assists, the Spurs also had a festival of 21 turnovers. And Spurs were also outrebounded, 44-41.

Game 3 is Saturday night at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City. (Homer D. Sayson)


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Homer D. Sayson.


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