Thunder level series with Game Four win over Spurs

Reuters News
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Posted: May 08, 2016 11:13 PM

(The Sports Xchange) - Kevin Durant tied a playoff career high with 41 points, leading the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 111-97 victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday at the Chesapeake Energy Arena that tied the Western Conference semi-final series at two games apiece.

Down by four points after three quarters, the Thunder outscored the Spurs 34-16 in the fourth to pull away.

Durant shot 14-for-25 from the field and was 10-for-13 from the free-throw line. Russell Westbrook added 14 points, 15 assists and seven rebounds for the Thunder Steven Adams racked up 16 points and 11 rebounds, and Dion Waiters came off the bench to score 17 points.

Tony Parker paced the Spurs with 22 points on 10-of-16 shooting. Kawhi Leonard posted 21 points and six rebounds. LaMarcus Aldridge scored 20 points and grabbed six boards in the loss.

Game 5 is on Tuesday in San Antonio.

Waiters buried a 3-pointer to put the Thunder up 98-91 with 5:36 left, but Parker answered with a layup in traffic.

An Enes Kanter fastbreak dunk put Oklahoma City up by seven. With 3:14 left, Parker completed a three-point play to close gap to 100-96.

Durant was fouled and hit one of two from the line. Aldridge did the same when he went to the free-throw line.

Oklahoma City led by four before Durant scored four consecutive points to put the Thunder up 105-97 with 2:04 left.

Leonard tried to answer, but he missed back to back 3-pointers. Durant made the Spurs pay with a corner 3-pointer. Westbrook and Durant then put the game away with consecutive scoring trips.

The Thunder won the rebound battle 40-34. Each team turned the ball over 14 times.

Westbrook started Game 4 with an agenda to be even more aggressive and intense. That led to him taking some questionable shots in the first quarter and getting into a verbal confrontation with referee Danny Crawford in which he had to be pulled away by assistant coach Mo Cheeks.

More than anything else, it was the Spurs' defense that controlled the contest in the early stages. San Antonio didn't allow the Thunder any easy or open shots in the half-court and forced five turnovers as it took a 27-17 lead through one period.

It was a completely different story in the second quarter. The Thunder defense locked down San Antonio. Oklahoma City went on a 28-17 run to take a one-point lead, but the veteran-laden Spurs answered with a 9-0 run to close out the half with a 53-45 advantage.

After a slow first half, Durant picked it up in the third quarter. He scored 12 points in the period and attacked the Spurs' defense with his jump shot and drives to the basket. Whether it was Danny Green or Leonard guarding him, Durant had his way in the second half.

(Editing by Peter Rutherford)