Spurs stifle Thunder late to claim Game 1
San Antonio, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - The San Antonio Spurs used a balanced scoring attack and clamped down defensively late in the third quarter to claim a 122-105 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals Monday at AT&T Center.
Russell Westbrook knocked down a jumper with 5:09 left in the third to give the Thunder a 76-75 lead -- their first since leading 5-4 early in the first -- but after Kevin Durant drained a jumper of his own nearly 30 seconds later, San Antonio turned up the intensity on the defensive end.
The Spurs held Oklahoma City to just one field goal over the next seven-plus minutes, turning a one-point deficit into a 13-point advantage early in the fourth quarter.
Durant's 3-pointer just over three minutes into the fourth brought the visitors within 95-85, but the Thunder failed to get any closer the rest of the way as the Spurs ran away with the victory.
Tim Duncan led the charge offensively with 27 points and seven rebounds, while Manu Ginobili and Danny Green combined for 34 points on 7-of-9 shooting from 3-point range.
Tony Parker, who sustained a left hamstring strain in San Antonio's series- clinching Game 5 win over Portland, supplied 14 points and 12 assists for the Spurs, who outscored OKC 66-32 in the paint, thanks in large part to the absence of Serge Ibaka.
"We were taking what we were given," Duncan said of the disparity in the paint. "We knew we'd be able to get into the middle and attack a little more than we have."
Ibaka, Oklahoma City's premier defensive big man, injured his left calf in Game 6 of the conference semifinal against the Los Angeles Clippers and is expected to miss the remainder of the postseason.
"We're a no excuse team," Oklahoma City head coach Scott Brooks said. "Serge is out. He's not coming back. We have to play better."
Durant registered 28 points, nine rebounds and five assists, while Westbrook finished with 25 points, seven assists and five boards for the Thunder, who won all four meetings with the Spurs during the regular season.
Game 2 is slated for Wednesday night in San Antonio.
The Thunder trailed by as many 15 points in the first half before Westbrook and Durant fueled OKC's comeback in the third, scoring all but two of the team's 23 points in the period.
Westbrook registered the Thunder's first nine points in the third, including a jumper with 8:13 on the clock that brought the team within 72-68.
Ginobili buried a 3-pointer to quell the Westbrook barrage, but Durant ripped off five straight points and Westbrook followed with a free throw and a jumper to give Oklahoma City a 76-75 lead.
Durant followed two free throws from Boris Diaw with another jumper, but the Thunder managed just one field goal -- a Durant jumper with 22.9 seconds left in the frame -- for nearly nine minutes as the Spurs surged ahead for good.
"The third quarter was obviously our best quarter, but we didn't close out well," Durant said. "We're not taking any moral victories out of it."
Early on, Durant scored OKC's first five points to give the visitors a 5-4 lead, but San Antonio answered with a 16-4 spurt to take a 20-9 lead on Duncan's bank shot with 4:55 left in the first.
Oklahoma City countered with a 9-2 swing, capped by five straight points from Durant, to get within four before Derek Fisher's 3-pointer found the Thunder within 30-27 heading into the second.
Fisher hit two free throws early in the second to slice the margin to one, but Green netted eight points during a 10-3 swing that pushed San Antonio's lead to 43-35 with 9:09 left in the half.
Parker helped the Spurs pull away late in the frame, pouring in five straight points before Kawhi Leonard's layup gave the home team a 63-48 advantage with 2:48 remaining in the half.
However, Durant drilled a triple at the other end to spark an 11-4 quarter- closing spurt that brought the Thunder within 67-59 at the break.
The series is a rematch of the 2012 Western Conference finals, which the Thunder won in six games ... Ginobili netted 18 points, while Green and Leonard each scored 16 in the win ... Fisher finished with 16 points for the Thunder ... Nick Collison, who started in place of Ibaka, did not score and grabbed just three rebounds in 15 1/2 minutes of action ... San Antonio shot 50-of-87 from the floor, including 9-of-17 from 3-point range ... The Spurs scored 21 points off 16 OKC turnovers.
05/20 01:58:44 ET