Thunder hang on in Game 2 to even series against Spurs
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Russell Westbrook had 29 points and 10 assists, and the Oklahoma City Thunder held on to beat San Antonio 98-97 on Monday night, evening the series at one game apiece when the Spurs failed to score on a wild sequence in the final seconds.
Kevin Durant added 28 points as the Thunder handed the Spurs just their second home loss of the season, rebounding from a 32-point beating in Game 1.
San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich complained to officials after the game that Dion Waiters went over the allotted five seconds to inbound the ball on Oklahoma City’s final possession. Replays showed Waiters elbowed Manu Ginobili to get the space needed to pass the ball to Durant, who was immediately stripped by Danny Green. Patty Mills missed an open 3-pointer, LaMarcus Aldridge lost the ball after grabbing the airball and Kawhi Leonard was unable to gather the ball before the buzzer sounded.
Aldridge had 41 points, but the Spurs shot 43 percent as a team after shooting 61 percent in the series opener.
Leonard was held to 14 points on 7-for-18 shooting. Ginobili was the only other San Antonio player in double figures, scoring 11 points on 5-for-8 shooting.
San Antonio missed 12 of its first 13 shots, struggling to even hit the rim after seemingly making every shot it took in the opening quarter of Game 1. The Spurs missed six layups and Green awkwardly tossed a hard runner that ricocheted off the backboard.
Game 3 is Friday at Oklahoma City.
Aldridge had 13 points in the final quarter, including a pair of three-point plays. The All-Star forward drained his second 3-pointer of the season to pull San Antonio within 96-94 and then made three free throws after being fouled by Serge Ibaka to pull the Spurs within 98-97 with 13.5 seconds to set up the final play.
The series of missteps almost wiped away a strong outing by the Thunder.
Oklahoma City moved the ball much better than it did in the opener, providing the space it needed against San Antonio’s collapsing defense and providing Westbrook with room to drive and set up teammates, including a thunderous dunk by Stephen Adams after a pass backward.
Thunder: Oklahoma City had lost 15 games this season when leading after the third quarter, including the playoffs. . The Thunder’s backup backcourt of Waiters and Cameron Payne has combined for 17 points on 5-for-20 shooting and six assists. . F Nick Collison did not play after scoring two points in 19 minutes in the series opener.
Spurs: Aldridge raised his postseason scoring average by five points to 19.2 following his 32-point outing in Game 1. The All-Star forward was limited to 14.5 points in San Antonio’s four-game sweep of Memphis. .. Ginobili is third in postseason 3-pointers at 306, trailing former Indiana Pacers star Reggie Miller by 14 for second. Ray Allen holds the record with 385. . The sellout crowd went wild when Spurs rookie center Boban Marjanovic entered the game with 9:33 remaining in the first half, his earliest appearance of the postseason. Marjanovic played 3 minutes in the first half, trading a series of elbows, forearm shots and bumps with Adams.
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