#2 OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER 108 @ #1 SAN ANTONIO SPURS 103
WEST Finals * Game 5 * Thunder lead series, 3-2
The Spurs decided to make their own adjustment. With Danny Green basically being Clay Aiken-Invisible in this series, San Antonio wanted to boost its offense from the beginning by starting Manu Ginobili.
The refs made their presence felt from the start by calling two dubious fouls on Serge Ibaka. Later on, Boris Diaw got called for two quick fouls. The refs would be a problem for almost the entire game but it didn't really stop both squads from their usual scoring barrage. However, the Thunder went on a 10-0 run in the second quarter as they started to separate from the Spurs. The supporting cast of the Thunder (guys like Daequan Cook) helped immensely as Kevin Durant struggled. OKC led, 52-44, at the half.
Manu Ginobili caught on fire in the third as he scored 13 points in a three-minute period of the third. San Antonio fans, I'm sure, were doing the Dance of Joy like Ginobili, er, Balki from Perfect Strangers was.
But the Thunder weathered the storm (funny, how that works) as Durant woke up and scored 13 points of his own in the third, including a jumper that beat the buzzer. OKC took an 81-72 lead into the final quarter.
They went back and forth for a little bit before James Harden's backbreaking 4-point play gave OKC a 13-point lead with five minutes left. San Antonio still fought back with Stephen Jackson and Tim Duncan leading the charge. Duncan's last shot cut the lead down to 2 as the Spurs went on a late 13-2 surge.
But Harden struck back with another killer three on a broken play with 28 seconds left. Still, the Spurs had life. After Ginobili made a lay-up, the Spurs' trapping enabled Thabo Sefolosha to lose the ball in the backcourt with 15 seconds left. The Spurs were down, 106-103, at the time and they needed a three to tie.
For a little bit, Duncan was open and we all immediately flashed back to 2008 when he made a clutch three in the playoffs. But after a little hesitation, he handed the ball back to Ginobili. Ginobili missed the three-pointer and the Spurs couldn't secure the rebound. Ballgame.
Durant ended the game with 27 points as he has brilliantly taken the Thunder into the homestretch after basically laying back early to get everyone involved. Westbrook turned the ball over late a few times but he was also great throughout with 23 points, 12 assists, and 6 steals. Harden scored 20 points including huge three-pointers that killed the Spurs. Ginobili scored a game-high 34 points while Parker scored 20 and Duncan scored 18. Outside of Stephen Jackson (13 points), they didn't get much help from the rest of the Spurs. However, the real downfall was this: the Thunder's D continued to give the Spurs problems. San Antonio turned the ball over often and early; they ended with 21 giveaways.
The Thunder are suddenly one win away from the NBA Finals... while the Spurs went from unstoppable to the brink of elimination.