SAN ANTONIO, Sporting Alert – Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook combined to score 57 points and the Oklahoma City Thunder bounced back to beat the San Antonio Spurs 98-97 in the on Monday in Game 2 of the Western Conference semi-final.
The Thunder were recovering from their embarrassing 124-92 defeat in Game 1, as they tied the best-of-seven series at 1-1.
Game 3 in the series moved to Oklahoma City on Friday where the Thunder will try to put some pressure on the second-seeded Spurs.
Russell Westbrook scored 29 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds, while Durant added 28 points and seven rebounds in the win for the Thunder, who according to the game’s official, got a lucky break after they missed a late offensive foul by Thunder guard Dion Waiters.
According to the officials’ report, they missed a Waiters’ elbow on Manu Ginobili as he tried to clear for space while inbounding the ball.
“On the floor, we did not see a foul on the play,” referee Ken Mauer told a pool reporter.
“However, upon review we realize and we agree that we should have had an offensive foul on the play.
“It’s a play that we have never seen before, ever, but we feel we should have had an offensive foul on Waiters.”
Ginobili agreed that there should have been a foul called on Waiters, but also admitted that it wasn’t the main reason they failed to win the game since they managed to get the steal and didn’t take advantage.
“I don’t know what it is, to tell you the truth, what type of violation it is,” Ginobili said of the Waiters incident.
“It’s got to be something. But again, it’s not that play that decided anything. We got the steal, we got the shot, we got an offensive rebound.”
Meanwhile, during his post-game interview, Waiters said he was unaware of the contact.
“No, I’m in the game, man, I don’t really know what’s really going on,” he said. “My whole mindset is get the ball inbounds and hopefully we get a foul once the ball the ball gets inbounds, but it was a crazy sequence the last 13 seconds.
“So we pulled it out, that’s all I care about.”
LaMarcus Aldridge led San Antonio with a season-high 41 points to go with eight rebounds, but Kawhi Leonard was held to just 14 points on 7-of-18 shooting.
“It feels horrible,” Aldridge said about his heavy scoring night where he scored 13 points in the final quarter, including a pair of three-point plays during that stretch. “Feels like it was wasted.
“I’ve never been about trying to get points and not win, I always try to do things to win. If you win it’s totally a different feeling, but losing like that hurts.”
Ginobili was the only other Spurs player in double-digit scoring, finishing with 11 points.
San Antonio, which was losing for only the second time at home all season, was held to 43-percent from the floor, after shooting 60-percent in Game 1.
Serge Ibaka, Steven Adams and Enes Kanter each added 12 points for the Thunder, with Adams also pulling down 17 rebounds and Kanter grabbing eight boards and three blocks in the win.
Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich, despite the defeat, credit his team for showing a fighting spirit.
“I thought we lost the game three times tonight and got back in it,” he said. “Give our guys credit for hanging in there on a night when they weren’t very sharp.”