Spurs rally to beat Thunder in NBA's West finals

Manu Ginobili scored 26 points and the San Antonio Spurs turned it on in the fourth quarter to beat Oklahoma City 101-98 in the first game of the NBA Western Conference Finals.

The Spurs stretched their winning streak to 19 games and moved one game closer to booking their berth in the NBA Finals.

The winner of this best-of-seven series will face either the Miami Heat or Boston Celtics for the NBA title. San Antonio host game two on Tuesday.

The Spurs trailed by nine points going into the fourth quarter, when they turned the tables and out-scored the Thunder 39-27.

Kevin Durant led Oklahoma City with 27 points and Russell Westbrook added 17, but they just could not stop the Spurs in the final period.

"It was a hard-fought ball game," said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. "Nothing to be ashamed of.

"They're playing the best basketball in the league," Brooks said of San Antonio. "And we were right there."

Point guard Tony Parker scored 18 points with six assists for San Antonio, while Tim Duncan scored 16 and grabbed 11 rebounds.

With Argentine Ginobili leading the way, the Spurs bench contributed 52 points.

The Thunder closed the third quarter on a 10-3 scoring run to take a 71-62 lead.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich was caught by video cameras exhorting his players to get "nasty".

"I said that? In the heat of the game sometimes stuff comes out of my mouth and it's embarrassing," Popovich said.

"I thought that we were playing for most of the first half and even the beginning of the third quarter a bit unconfidently, a bit on our heels, a bit unsure of ourselves.

"So I talked to them about they've got to get a little bit uglier, a little bit nasty, play with a little more fiber -- meaning you've got to take it to these guys, you've got to drive it, you've got to shoot it, you can't hold it," the coach said.

"We needed to be active and aggressive -- and we got that way in the fourth quarter."

"He just wanted to make sure we played with more energy," Parker said of Popovich. "They were playing with a lot more energy than us in the third quarter, and we were hesitating a little bit."

Parker's jump shot tied it at 73-73 early in the fourth as the Spurs delivered an 18-3 scoring run that put them up 82-76.

From there the Thunder did not get closer than four points, until James Harden drained a three-pointer as time expired to narrow the final margin.

Ginobili made 9 of 14 shots, including three of his five three-point attempts. In the fourth quarter he made all three of his shots from the floor and all five of his free-throws.

"That's Manu's game," Popovich said. "He's a scorer. That's what he's done for us his whole career. Without that, we have a tough time winning."

But Parker said the Spurs -- who were playing their first game in a week after completing their second-round sweep of the Los Angeles Clippers last Sunday -- would have to improve to hold off the Thunder.

"Oklahoma, they're a very, very good team," Parker said. "I think we're going to have to play a lot better if we want to win game two. If we play the same way we're not going to win game two."

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • ToyotaPH continues it’s strong sales in February
    ToyotaPH continues it’s strong sales in February

    Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP) sustains its strong sales in its February performance. Toyota’s strong performance last month was due to the  high demand of the Vios, with sales of 2,012 units and of course the rest of Toyota’s line up such as the Fortuner, Innova, Wigo, Hilux, Avanza and Corolla Altis. Toyota’s luxury brand, Lexus, recorded 60 units last month. …

  • No apology, but Noy seeks understanding
    No apology, but Noy seeks understanding

    There was no apology, but President Aquino yesterday expressed regret, took “full responsibility” and appealed to the nation for “deepest understanding” for the Jan. 25 Mamasapano raid in which dozens died, including 44 police Special Action Force (SAF) commandos. “To every Filipino who has felt failure or has been hurt because of the events related to this operation, it is with abiding humility that I ask for your deepest understanding,” Aquino said in a speech before the 246 new graduates of …

  • MVP on endorsement: Thanks, I’m no politician
    MVP on endorsement: Thanks, I’m no politician

    Businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan is grateful for Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago’s praise and presidential endorsement, but says he is not a politician. In an interview on the sidelines of the launch of the search for The Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) of the Philippines 2015 Wednesday night, Pangilinan dismissed the idea of running for president in the 2016 elections. “I’m not a politician, I’m just an ordinary business person,” he added. Santiago endorsed Pangilinan as a presidential candidate …

  • No Lenten break in operations vs lawless groups – AFP
    No Lenten break in operations vs lawless groups – AFP

    The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is not suspending its offensive against the Abu Sayyaf, New People’s Army (NPA) and other lawless groups during the Holy Week, an official said yesterday. Lt. Col. Harold Cabunoc, AFP public affairs office chief, said the AFP leadership is leaving it up to area and division commanders whether to raise the alert status in preparation for the Holy Week. Those deployed in areas where there are ongoing law enforcement operations against terrorist groups …

  • Probe harassment vs human rights lawyer, CA orders AFP
    Probe harassment vs human rights lawyer, CA orders AFP

    The Court of Appeals (CA) has ordered the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to investigate a human rights lawyer’s claim of harassment, including surveillance, by several military officers. In a 22-page decision, the former Special Sixth Division of the appellate court granted the petition for writ of amparo and habeas data of Maria Catherine Dannug-Salucon. The CA ordered the AFP to identify the officers behind the surveillance and file charges against them. The CA ruling said …

  • Noy vows to dismantle bata-bata system in PNP
    Noy vows to dismantle bata-bata system in PNP

    President Aquino vowed yesterday to dismantle the culture of factionalism or the bata-bata system within the Philippine National Police as he continued the search for the next PNP chief. Speaking at the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) commencement exercises here, the President said the country needed solidarity among leaders and members of the police force so that the policemen would be effective protectors of Filipinos. “Our challenge to the next chief of our national police force: …

  • Envoy to expats: Retire, invest in Phl
    Envoy to expats: Retire, invest in Phl

    Retire and invest in real estate in the Philippines, especially now that the country has made it to the top 10 retirement destinations in the world. This is the message being spread by the Philippine embassy in Washington, with Ambassador Jose Cuisia Jr. leading the refrain in meetings with various Filipino-American communities in the US. In his talks, Cuisia said that an affordable cost of living as well as warm climate and people are just some of the things that make the Philippines a top …

  • PNPA spotlight falls on Ampatuan grandson
    PNPA spotlight falls on Ampatuan grandson

    The stigma of being a namesake of the principal suspect in the 2009 Maguindanao massacre did not prevent Cadet First Class Andal Ampatuan III from entering and graduating from the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA). Ampatuan III, now with a rank of police inspector, is a grandson of former Maguindanao governor Andal Ampatuan Sr. The younger Ampatuan was among the 246 graduates of the PNPA “Lakandula” Class of 2015. Ampatuan III’s mother is Bai Rebecca Ampatuan, a daughter of the …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options