Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Spurs offensive attack too much for Thunder in Game 1

As it has been all season, the San Antonio Spurs needed a total team effort to take Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals over the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Tim Duncan led an offensive barrage with 27 points and seven rebounds as the Spurs scored 33 points in the fourth quarter to secure a 122-105 win over the Thunder in front of 18,581 fans who blacked out the AT&T Center on Monday night.

“We played we did what we always do,” Spurs coach Greg Popovich said after the game. “Sometimes it worked to our advantage, sometimes it didn’t, but all in all, at this point in the season you’ve got to be who you are. You can’t really change your stripes.”

With questions lingering about Spurs guard Tony Parker’s hamstring and the absence of Thunder forward Serge Ibaka, who is out for the rest of the playoffs with a calf injury, the game offered significant answers. Parker scored 14 points with 12 assists and the Spurs outscored the Thunder 66-32 in the paint.

“Well, we always want to try to penetrate, we always want our ball movement, that’s how we play, kick and pitch and stuff like that,” Parker said about Ibaka’s absence. “You know, obviously it’s a little bit better with him not being in the paint, but we’re still going to try to penetrate and make stuff happen.”

The Thunder relied heavily again for points and minutes from NBA MVP Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Durant played over 40 minutes and scored 28 points with nine rebounds. Westbrook added 25 points and seven assists in the losing effort.

“We don’t believe in moral victories. Third quarter was obviously our best quarter but we didn’t close it out well,” said Durant about the Thunder’s run in the second half. “It’s Game 1, we’ve got to make adjustments and be better for the next game.”

Despite Durant and Westbrook’s output, the Spurs’ defense held the Thunder to 46 points in the second half. Kawhi Leonard, who scored 16 points and grabbed six rebounds, did his best to slow down Durant.

While the Thunder bench outscored the Spurs 47-43, thanks mainly to Derek Fisher and Reggie Jackson combining to score 28 points, the play of Manu Ginobili was a welcome return after struggling against the Trailblazers in the semifinals. Ginobili scored 18 points and was 3-of-4 from behind 3-point range.

“He was great through a stretch there, did a great job of attacking their bigs and taking them right to the basket in a time and a situation where we really needed it, gave us a boost,” said Duncan.

“Once he gets that going and gets a couple of those going, now you see him hit the threes and make the plays that he usually does, it just builds his confidence, so a great game for us tonight and we’re going to need it from him.”

Not to be forgotten was Danny green who looked in form with 16 points on 4-of-5 shooting from behind the arc that helped the Spurs shoot over 50 percent from 3.

“They’re going to have to do some different things probably, play different people, but I think no matter what either team does, we’ve each seen it before,” said Popovich.

“Just a matter of who’s going to play well, who’s going to execute for 48 minutes, who’s going to make the fewest mistakes. Sometimes it comes down to just making shots. It’s not really about one individual. It’s about how a team performs.”

Game 2 has its own set of questions to be answered. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. on Wednesday.

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