Revived Thunder eyeing needed road win in Game 5
SAN ANTONIO (AP):
In the span of three days, the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the San Antonio Spurs as many times as they had in the last three years. And now, the Western Conference finals are suddenly up for grabs.
What once seemed like the continuation of one of the most dominant runs in NBA history has turned into a genuine toss-up of a series after the Thunder stopped San Antonio's perfect stretch with two convincing victories in half a week.
Game 5 is tonight in San Antonio. Oklahoma City need at least one road win to advance and Thunder coach Scott Brooks said yesterday there's no time like the present.
"We have a great opportunity in Game Five," Brooks said.
Seldom have the Thunder been able to say that when they faced the Spurs.
Since James Harden joined Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook in 2009, the Thunder had been 2-8 against San Antonio heading into this series. Now they return to Texas with a chance to hand the Spurs three straight losses for the first time all season.
"We've just got to go down there with the mindset that we're going to play hard every possession, play together like we've been playing these last few games and we'll see what happens," said Durant, who is averaging 29 points this series after scoring 36 in Game Four on Saturday.
"We've just got to keep believing, man. We'll be fine."
Spurs players didn't meet with reporters yesterday. Coach Gregg Popovich, back at Spurs headquarters trying to solve his team's first skid since April 9-11, said their attitude hasn't changed from when they were winning 20 straight games.
Also not likely to change much are the defensive looks the Spurs threw at the Thunder in a 109-103 loss on Saturday. That's because, as far as Popovich is concerned, there is little to plan for when three typically unheralded offensive players shoot a combined 22 of 25 for 49 points.