Friday, May 30, 2014
San Antonio took the first two games in this series before dropping a pair in Oklahoma City, evoking similarities of two years ago when the Thunder ripped off four straight wins after going down 0-2 to become conference champs.
Those comparisons quickly ended when the Spurs made 13 3-pointers and had six players score in double figures in Game 5's 117-89 drubbing at AT&T Center.
Tim Duncan led the way with 22 points and 12 rebounds, while Manu Ginobili carried a bench attack that outscored Oklahoma City's reserves by a wide 55-26 margin.
Ginobili scored 19 points, fellow reserve Boris Diaw netted 13 and Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard each had 14 for the Spurs, who are one win away from reaching the Finals for the second straight year.
After holding the Spurs to under 40 percent shooting in Games 3 and 4, the Thunder watched helplessly as San Antonio made 51.3 percent of its shots.
Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook finished with 25 and 21 points, respectively, for Oklahoma City, a far cry from the duo's superb 71-point dual effort in Tuesday's victory.
Serge Ibaka was limited to six points and just two rebounds in the loss.
The home team has taken the first five games of this series, and the Thunder hope the trend continues Saturday in a must-win Game 6 in Oklahoma City.
All signs pointed towards a shootout when both teams came out and connected on over 56 percent of their shots in the first quarter.
Only the Spurs kept it going.
They made a tweak to their starting lineup with Matt Bonner getting his first nod of the season, and even though the sharpshooter was not a factor, the rest of the Spurs' reserves were instrumental in the strong start.
Three-pointers from Patty Mills and Green tied the game at 32-32 heading into the second, and Ginobili led the way in a one-sided second quarter with nine points on 4-of-4 shooting.
Ginobili's layup and 3-pointer had the hosts ahead by as many as 13 late in the half before Westbrook beat the buzzer with a deep make to pull Oklahoma City within 65-55.
The Spurs owned a 16-2 advantage in the paint in the second quarter, then capped the third on a 12-4 run to essentially put the game away.
With the score at 94-74 entering the fourth, both teams emptied their benches with Game 6 on the horizon.
The Spurs, who improved to 9-1 at home this postseason, have won their three games this series by an average of 26.7 points ... San Antonio won the battle in the paint, 40-36 ... Tony Parker totaled 12 points for the Spurs, while Oklahoma City's Reggie Jackson scored all 11 of his points in the first quarter.