Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (35) drives to the basket while guarded by San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili (behind) in game one of the Western Conference Finals in the 2014 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center. (USA TODAY Sports: Soobum Im)
The San Antonio Spurs unleashed a dominant display in the series opener and look to make it two consecutive wins over Oklahoma City when they host the Thunder in today’s second game of the Western Conference finals.
The game will be televised on TNT at 9 p.m.
San Antonio shot 57.5 percent from the field and owned a 66-32 edge in points in the paint while rolling to a 122-105 victory. Oklahoma City couldn’t stop Tim Duncan in the first half with post player Serge Ibaka out for the series due to a calf injury.
Duncan scored 21 of his 27 points in the opening half as the Spurs established they could operate at will in the interior. The display also opened up the outside as guard Danny Green went 4-of-5 from 3-point range and guard Manu Ginobili scored all 18 of his points in the second half. Thunder stars Kevin Durant (28) and Russell Westbrook (25) combined for 53 points but San Antonio seldom allowed Oklahoma City to carry the flow of the game.
“They’re younger than us and more athletic,” said point guard Tony Parker afterwards, “and so we have to be more perfect.”
Perhaps Ibaka is Oklahoma City’s most important player and not league MVP Kevin Durant. The Thunder were lost defensively without him on the floor - San Antonio’s 57.5 field-goal percentage is the highest allowed in the postseason in the franchise’s Oklahoma City era - and replacements Steven Adams (four points, two rebounds) and Nick Collison (scoreless with three rebounds) were both ineffective.
“We’re a no-excuse team,” Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks said. “Serge is out. He’s not coming back. We have to play better. If we expect to beat one of the best teams in basketball - and a very good offensive team - we have to play and we’re not going to make an excuse.”
Parker had 14 points and 12 assists and wasn’t the least bit hampered by the hamstring injury he suffered Wednesday in the first round against Portland. He was able to navigate the floor well and control the pace as well as keep up defensively with the speedy Westbrook.
“I thought he played a very smart game,” Duncan said of Parker in his postgame press conference. “A very efficient game, made the right plays and that’s what’s going to have to happen this series with him.”
Parker said the hamstring held up well and he expects his legs to feel even better in Game 2.
1. Oklahoma City was 12-of-27 from 3-point range in the opener with Durant and backup G Derek Fisher each making four.
2. The Spurs scored 21 points off 16 Thunder turnovers in Game 1 with SF Kawhi Leonard having three steals to go with 16 points.
3. Thunder starters Kendrick Perkins, Thabo Sefolosha and Collison combined for five points - all by Perkins - on 2-of-10 shooting in Game 1.
PREDICTION: Spurs 107, Thunder 102