SAN ANTONIO: San Antonio got their Western Conference final series off to a good start with a dominating 122-105 win over Oklahoma City, behind a balanced scoring attack and a shut-down defense on Monday (Tuesday in Manila).
Tim Duncan paced the attack as the all-star forward scored 27 points for the Spurs, who lead the best-of-seven NBA Western Conference final one game to none.
Duncan also chipped in seven rebounds, while Manu Ginobili finished with 18 points, connecting on three-of-four shots from beyond the arc.
Tony Parker, who sustained a left hamstring strain in San Antonio’s series-clinching game five win over Portland, tallied 14 points and 12 assists for the Spurs, who outscored the Thunder 66-32 in the paint.
“It was a great team win and everybody played well,” said guard Parker. “So hopefully we can keep it going.”
San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said the injury didn’t slow Parker down.
“He feels pretty good. He’s a little winded probably, but he didn’t seem to have a problem with his leg,” Popovich said.
Popovich said the Spurs did a good job of staying calm and waiting for the scoring chances to open up.
“You have to take what is given you. Just play the game. Respect the game and take advantage of that,” Popovich said.
Kevin Durant scored 28 points and Russell Westbrook finished with 25 points, seven assists and five boards for the Thunder, who won all four meetings with the Spurs during the regular season.
Parker said not allowing Durant or Westbrook to dominate is the key to beating the Thunder.
“We are not going to stop them,” he said. “We are just trying to contain them and try to make every shot hard for them.
“So far it is working. But we know they are going to come back with lot more heart and energy in game two.”
The second game is scheduled for Wednesday in San Antonio.
The Spurs clamped down defensively late in the third quarter Monday. Westbrook hit a jump shot with 5:09 left in the third to give the Thunder a 76-75 lead and their first since leading 5-4 early in the opening quarter.
But after Durant drained a jumper of his own 30 seconds later, San Antonio turned up the intensity on the defensive end.
The Spurs held Oklahoma City to just one field goal over the next seven-plus minutes, turning a one-point deficit into a 13-point lead early in the final quarter.
Durant’s three-pointer just over three minutes into the fourth helped the Thunder get within 10 points, 95-85, but they failed to get any closer the rest of the way as the Spurs cruised to the win.