Kevin Durant’s big night helps Thunder even series with Spurs
Oklahoma star scores game-high 41 points
Kevin Durant went on a scoring spree that was spectacular, even by his standards.
The four-time NBA scoring champion matched his career playoff high with 41 points and the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the San Antonio Spurs 111-97 on Sunday night to tie the Western Conference semifinal series 2-2.
Durant had 29 points on 10-for-13 shooting in the second half. He scored 17 points in the fourth quarter, one more than the Spurs, and did it on 6-for-6 shooting.
“When you have a deep team, those 40-point nights — they don’t come a lot,” he said. “I’m just trying to be consistent in what I do, and I know in any given moment, I can go off and get a few shots.”
Durant had plenty of help.
“My teammates did a great job of sticking with me and finding me and getting me easy baskets and screening for me and sacrificing their bodies, and I’m definitely grateful for it,” he said. “After they do all that, it’s on me to finish the shot and just stick to the fundamentals I’ve been practicing since I was a kid.”
Russell Westbrook finished with 14 points and 15 assists, Dion Waiters added 17 points, and Steven Adams had 16 points and 11 rebounds for Oklahoma City. The Thunder shot 50.6 per cent overall and 57 per cent in the second half to avoid going back to San Antonio down 3-1 for Game 5 on Tuesday night.
“Durant got away from us,” San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard said. “Westbrook did a great job getting his teammates involved. But [they] got those offensive rebounds when we’d get him to miss.”
Tony Parker led San Antonio with 22 points, Leonard had 21, and LaMarcus Aldridge 20.
San Antonio led by 11 early in the second quarter, but the Thunder rallied and took a 45-44 lead on a three-pointer by Durant with 1:47 left in the first half. The Spurs closed the quarter on a 9-0 run, with all the points coming from Leonard and Aldridge, to take a 53-45 lead at the break. Durant and Westbrook were a combined 6-for-21 from the field in the first half.
Boris Diaw’s three-pointer from the corner in the closing seconds of the third quarter gave the Spurs an 81-77 lead heading into the fourth.
Durant took over early in the final quarter. His back-to-back threes gave the Thunder a 93-87 lead. Enes Kanter’s fast-break dunk pushed the lead to 100-93.
San Antonio hung tough, but a baseline floater, a layup and a corner three by Durant made it 108-97.
“They just outplayed us,” Aldridge said of the Thunder’s dominant fourth quarter. “They made more plays than us. They got to the ball faster. They crashed the boards harder. We took tough shots. We had open shots, too. We didn’t make shots. They played better than we did down the stretch.”
Article Written By: Cliff Brunt with The Associated Press0