Thunder Crush Spurs, Close Series Deficit To 2-1
Oklahoma City Thunder guard Thabo Sefolosha set career playoff bests with 19 points and 6 steals, while superstar Kevin Durant scored a game-high 22 to help lead OKC to a 102-82 victory over the San Antonio Spurs in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals.
The Thunder win snaps San Antonio's 20 game winning streak, and more importantly, closes the series deficit to 2-1. OKC will have a chance to even the series at home this Saturday.
Role players like Sefolosha and Serge Ibaka seemed to be energized by the raccous crowd at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Sefolosha got 3 of his 6 steals in the first 4 minutes of the game. Ibaka, an All-NBA defensive first teamer at power forward, blocked 3 shots, and did a great job protecting the paint with teammate Kendrick Perkins. Ibaka scored 14 points as well.
Thunder All-Star Russell Westbrook didn't score a ton (only 10 points) by his standards, but his complete stat line Thursday night was fantastic. 10 points, 9 assists, 7 rebounds, 4 steals, and 2 blocks made for a nice evening for the OKC point guard. Sixth man of the Year James Harden added 15 points off the bench.
The OKC defense forced the Spurs into a whopping 21 turnovers, while holding them to a season-low of 82 points. Guard Tony Parker and forward Stephen Jackson each scored 16 to lead the Spurs in the loss.
"They just gave us a good ole' fashioned butt whoopin'," said Spurs forward Stephen Jackson in postgame.
Tim Duncan did set a milestone in the defeat. With 5 blocks, he passed Kareem-Abdul Jabbar for most career playoff blocks with 478. It should come as no surprise that Duncan had other things on his mind after the 20 point loss.
"In Game 4, we're going to be ready. We're going to be ready to bring it," explained Duncan. "We'll get the guys jacked up. We'll come in a bit more focused and have the guys play better. That's the bottom line."
Tip-off on Saturday night is set for 7:30.