Monday, the San Antonio Spurs returned home after losing 2 straight to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Spurs coach Greg Popovich decided to switch things up in game 5 by starting guard Manu Ginobli for the first time all season. Ginobili had an immediate impact on the game giving the Spurs an early lead of 7. The game started off with Serge Ibaka getting into early foul trouble in the first minute of action as he had two quick fouls. Kendrick Perkins also got into early foul trouble by the 4 and a half minute mark and would have to join his front court partner on the bench until the 2nd quarter. Not to be discouraged with losing their two big men, the OKC bench would come up big led by Nick Collison, James Harden & Derek Fisher to give them a 5 point lead heading into the 2nd quarter. In the next quarter, the OKC bench would continue to play big, as Daequan Cook who didn’t play a single second of game four scored 8 straight points netting a pair of back to back three pointers. With the lackluster play by San Antonio, OKC would take their biggest lead of the game at 14 by the two minute mark. On the next ensuing drives, the Spurs would go on an 8-2 run to cut the lead to 8 heading into intermission. In the third quarter, the Spurs would then go on 18-4 run lead by Manu Ginobli (who finished the quarter with 13) in a 20 point turnaround. With San Antonio up 6, OKC immediately returned from their nap and went on a 20-5 run of their own. Before the shot clock expired to end 3rd period, the best scorer in the world Kevin Durant would set the tone for the 4th quarter scoring a last second 20 foot jumper. The AT&T Center along with their hometown Spurs for the first time all year were nervous about losing a game at home which hadn’t been seen in 16 games. In the beginning minutes of final quarter, both teams played the cat and mouse game scoring after one another. James Harden hit possibly the biggest shot of the night at the 5 min. mark when he was fouled by Manu Ginobili on a made three pointer and converted at the stripe for a 4-point play. The Spurs immediately went on an 8-0 run and came to within 2 shortly past the two-min. mark. With 30 seconds left in the game up by a deuce, James Harden would come up big again for OKC has he would make a 3 pointer to give his team a 5 point putting the finishing touches on the game.
Before ending the Spurs 16 game home winning streak in Monday night’s big victory, the Thunder hadn’t won in San Antonio since November 2009 loosing 6 straight. Kevin Durant finished as the player of the game scoring 27 points going 10-19 from the field while Westbrook and Harden chipped in 43 more puts to the Big 3′s total at a whopping 70 points. OKC’s others were also big in game 5 as Collison & Cook both went 3-3 combining for 14; and D-Fish also contributed 6 points. Manu Ginobili was the standout player for the Spurs as he had 34 points, 7 dimes and 6 boards; while the greatest power forward of all time, Tim Duncan had a double-double with 18 and 12. Tony Parker had an extremely rough night going 5-14 scoring 20 points and with this loss the Spurs for the first time this season lost 3 games in a row. Just 5 years after drafting Kevin Durant to start a new franchise, OKC now has a chance Wednesday night to advance to the finals for the first time. This is the third consecutive year for the Thunder in the playoffs and although called the team of the future, after game 6 they potentially could be the team of now winning their first non-home court advantage series. Championship teams win on the road and the Thunder did so in last night’s victory proving they’re a championship-caliber team. OKC has all the momentum in the world right now to close out the series but big the question is will San Antonio put up a fight to stay alive or will they be buried….again? Only time will tell people.
Game 6 is scheduled this Wednesday on TNT with a tip-off set for 9:00 pm (ET).
Win Or Go Home.
(1) San Antonio Spurs vs. (2) Oklahoma City Thunder | Thunder Lead 3-2
Game 1: San Antonio 101, Oklahoma City 98
Game 2: San Antonio 120, Oklahoma City 111
Game 3: Oklahoma City 102, San Antonio 82
Game 4: Oklahoma City 109, San Antonio 103
Game 5: Oklahoma City 108, San Antonio 103
Game 6: at OKC, Wed. June 6, 9 p.m., TNT
Game 7: at SAS, Fri. June 8, 9 p.m., TNT (If Necessary)
Bonus: Kevin Durant alley-oop to Russell Westbrook--