Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant combined for 51 points and Serge Ibaka contributed 15 points despite a bad calf as the Oklahoma City Thunder downed the San Antonio Spurs, 106-97, Sunday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena to take Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals. The Spurs lead the series, 2-1.
Ibaka, who was originally supposed to miss the remainder of the postseason after injuring his calf in Game 6 against the Los Angeles Clippers, made an early return and was incredibly effective. The big man made his first four field-goal attempts and was up to his old shot-blocking ways, swatting four shots in 30 minutes.
San Antonio was stuck in the mud for the majority of this contest. It shot only 39.6 percent from the floor and committed 16 turnovers.
While the Thunder had 18 giveaways themselves, they connected on 45.7 percent of their shots and went 26-of-31 from the free-throw line.
Westbrook led all scorers with 26, and Manu Ginobili was the high-point man for the Spurs with 23.
Game 4 is in Oklahoma City at 9 p.m. ET on Tuesday.
Key Player Grades: San Antonio Spurs
Tim Duncan, Power Forward
Tim Duncan had a less-than-stellar outing.
Duncan registered 16 points and eight rebounds, but he shot 7-of-17 from the floor and was unable to assert himself down low on either end.
He didn't do much work on the low block, and he hardly served as a rim deterrent on the other end.
You have to think Timmy makes more of an impact in Game 4.
Tony Parker, Point Guard
Tony Parker labored throughout this contest.
The floor general extraordinaire shot only 4-of-13 from the floor, missing several mid-range jumpers and also displaying some sloppy handles, committing four turnovers.
Parker only had two points at the half and finished with nine for the game. He also had four assists.
Something tells me Parker will be better in Game 4.
Kawhi Leonard, Small Forward
Kawhi Leonard wasn't able to leave his fingerprints on this game.
The rising star went a mere 4-of-11, misfiring on all three of his long-range tries. He scored 10 points and wasn't able to get out in transition like he is accustomed to doing.
Leonard didn't make much of an impact on the boards, either, grabbing only three rebounds.
He needs to be better in Game 4.
Danny Green, Shooting Guard
Danny Green had been shooting the lights out coming into Game 3, but his hot streak came to a screeching halt.
Green went a paltry 3-of-12, making good on only two of his six shots from beyond the arc. Plus, do the math. That means he went 1-of-6 from two-point range.
The Thunder's defense certainly deserves some credit for doing a better job of closing out, but Green's shot selection in this one was undoubtedly questionable.
He scored eight points.
Tiago Splitter, Center
Tiago Splitter was definitely a force on the offensive glass, collecting six offensive boards (he had eight rebounds overall), but he didn't see too much of the floor.
With the Spurs trailing for much of the night and lacking ball movement, Gregg Popovich decided to roll with Boris Diaw for a while, and that cut into Splitter's minutes (he played 18).
Splitter was effective in his limited action, however.
He scored four points and handed out a couple of assists to go along with his rebound total.
Manu Ginobili, Sixth Man
Ginobili was simply awesome in the first half, dropping 20 points and burying five triples.
However, Ginobili was quelled over the final 24 minutes, as he scored only three points.
Manu deserves ample credit for keeping the Spurs in this game, though, as they absolutely would have been down double digits in the first half without his magic.
The Argentinian finished with 23 points off 8-of-13 shooting, going 6-of-9 from beyond the arc. He tallied four assists, as well.
All of that in 24 minutes.
Ginobili was a little banged up at the end of the game, but Popovich says he'll be all right.
"Sammy" is Thunder general manager Sam Presti.
Gotta love Pop.
Diaw put forth a solid effort in 21 minutes, putting up six points, six rebounds and six assists. He did not shoot the ball well, going 3-of-10 and misfiring on all three of his attempts from deep, but he made numerous outstanding passes inside to create some much-needed offense for his teammates.
Outside of Diaw, production from San Antonio's bench was hard to come by, with most of it coming in garbage time.
Marco Belinelli scored six points, Aron Baynes had five and Patty Mills scored three off a lone three-pointer.
Unusual for the Spurs.
Key Player Grades: Oklahoma City Thunder
Kevin Durant, Small Forward
Durant didn't shoot a very good percentage, going 8-of-19, but he did post a double-double with 25 points and 10 rebounds.
While he wasn't able to get it going from long range, burying only one triple, he went a perfect 8-of-8 from the free-throw line.
Plus, Durant was able to utilize his length to grab some offensive rebounds, tallying three.
He also kept numerous other loose balls alive for the Thunder.
It wasn't a vintage KD outing, but it was certainly good enough.
Russell Westbrook, Point Guard
We saw the good and the bad side of Westbrook.
He started out 1-of-8, attempting several wild shots and forcing the issue offensively. He also picked up a technical foul out of frustration early.
But then, Westbrook nailed a couple of huge threes at the end of the first half, including one that nearly came from half court, and he was off and running.
Westbrook would go on to score 10 of his 26 points in the third quarter and lived at the free-throw line for much of the night, going 8-of-8 from the stripe.
The volatile floor general also added eight boards and seven dimes.
He did commit five turnovers, though, and that hurts his overall grade.
Like Durant, Westbrook shot 8-of-19.
Serge Ibaka, Power Forward
Ibaka came through with a warrior-like effort.
Playing on a bad calf, Ibaka came out and knocked down his first five shots, including going 4-of-4 in the first quarter alone.
He also did an outstanding job blocking and altering shots around the basket, tallying four swats and changing countless other attempts by the Spurs.
There was a moment during the third quarter where Ibaka came up hobbling after taking a tumble, so he is clearly not 100 percent, but he played through the pain in this one.
The forward from Congo finished with 15 points and seven rebounds in 30 minutes.
Ibaka absolutely deserves high praise for his gutsy effort.
Reggie Jackson, Shooting Guard
Scott Brooks decided to insert Reggie Jackson into the starting lineup for this one, and the move paid dividends.
Jackson scored 15 points off a relatively efficient 6-of-13 clip and also contributed five assists and four rebounds.
He was able to utilize his quickness to get to the basket, and that helped OKC's floor spacing significantly.
Jackson only went 1-of-6 from three-point range, however.
Kendrick Perkins, Center
Kendrick Perkins was largely ineffective in this game.
The big man played 13 minutes, and in that limited action, he was able to post four points and three rebounds, but he also committed four fouls. Two of those fouls came on the offensive end on back-to-back possessions.
Perkins was consequently benched for the rest of the night.
Caron Butler, Sixth Man
Caron Butler was the first man off the bench for OKC after Brooks' adjustments in the starting lineup.
He didn't contribute all that much, scoring five points off 2-of-6 shooting, but he did hit a three-pointer to put the Thunder up 14 early in the fourth quarter. The Spurs never recovered from that point, so that counts for something (meaning it keeps Butler from getting an "F").
Butler also recorded three rebounds.
Steven Adams gave Oklahoma City a huge lift off the bench, crashing the glass and even doing some good things offensively, getting to the free-throw line for seven attempts (he made three). Plus, he helped Ibaka out with rim protection.
Adams posted seven points, nine boards and four blocks in 28 minutes.
Jeremy Lamb saw some action, knocking down three shots for six points in 17 minutes. He also grabbed three rebounds.
Derek Fisher buried a three in his 18 minutes, and while he only went 1-of-7 from the field, he pulled down five rebounds.
This was all about Adams, though. He was great.