Tim Duncan #21 of the San Antonio Spurs and Serge Ibaka #9 of the Oklahoma City Thunder
SAN ANTONIO, TX - MAY 27: Tim Duncan #21 of the San Antonio Spurs and Serge Ibaka #9 of the Oklahoma City Thunder go after the opening jump ball to start Game One of the Western Conference Finals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center on May 27, 2012 in San Antonio, Texas.
The Thunder's Serge Ibaka (in blue) and the Spurs' Tim Duncan tip off Game 1 of the Western Conference finals on Sunday at AT&T Center in San Antonio. The top two teams in the West throughout much of the regular season, the Southwest powers face off in what is a matchup of perhaps the NBA's best young team in Oklahoma City and tried-and-true San Antonio, which has won four titles in Duncan's tenure. Game 1 went to the home team, 101-98, as the Spurs improved to 9-0 this postseason.
Getty ImagesRonald Martinez
San Antonio Spurs shooting guard Manu Ginobili, left, of Argentina, takes the ball downcourt with Oklahoma City Thunder guard James Harden (No. 13) in pursuit during the first half Sunday. Ginobili won the matchup of two of the best sixth men in the league, outscoring Harden 26-19 in the Spurs' Game 1 win.
James Harden (No. 13) and Manu Ginobili grapple for a loose ball during the first half of Game 1 on Sunday. Ginobili scored 11 points in the fourth quarter to spark the Spurs' win.
Down and ... out?
It seems far too early to count the Oklahoma City Thunder out in their Western Conference finals series against the San Antonio Spurs, but the veteran team drew first blood with a three-point win on Sunday night. For the Thunder, the 1-0 hole is the first time they have trailed in these playoffs, having entered the series with an 8-1 record.
Losses? What are those?
Sure the Oklahoma City Thunder have only two losses in 10 playoffs games this season. Most of the time that would be enough to leave a third-round opponent shaking in its boots. But most of the time your opponent is not 9-0 in the playoffs, which the veteran San Antonio Spurs now are. The team lead by Tony Parker (No. 9) and Manu Ginobili (No. 20), among others, now has a 19-game winning streak dating back to the regular season — tying an NBA record for longest winning streak kept alive in the postseason.
Big men, big board
Oklahoma City Thunder power forward Nick Collison (far left) grabs a rebound as San Antonio Spurs center Tiago Splitter defends during the second half of Sunday's Game 1. Collison finished with one more rebound than Splitter, 7-6.
San Antonio rookie Kawhi Leonard drew defending James Harden on this play Sunday, and on this play got a face full of the Sixth Man of the Year. Leonard finished with seven points and seven rebounds in the win.
Not to be forgotten
San Antonio Spurs center and legend-in-waiting Tim Duncan (No. 21) blocks a shot by Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook (No. 0) during the first quarter. Duncan scored 16 points and pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds to go with the one block.
He needed 30
Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (No. 35), the NBA's leading scorer in the regular season, drives past San Antonio's Tim Duncan (No. 21) and Kawhi Leonard (behind) during the first half. Durant scored a game-high 27 points but was 0 for 4 from 3-point range as the Thunder fell three points shy in the end, 101-98.