“I gotta do better next game”, said the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Kevin Durant, after outscoring the entire San Antonio Spurs squad in the 4th quarter, to will his team to a Game 4 victory in the NBA Western Conference semi-finals on Sunday.
Durant, finishing with 41 points, had 5 turnovers, and was visibly disappointed with his ability to keep hold of the ball. With his mother cheering on from the sideline on the Mother’s Day matchup in OKC, it is evident “The Slim Reaper” was raised well, humble in victory.
Durant scored 29 points in the second half, and hit some daggers late:
Durant’s partner in crime, Russell Westbrook, was just 5-18 from the floor, but had 15 assists and 7 rebounds, with a relatively low 3 turnovers. He hit this late shot to send the capacity crowd (and Durant’s mah) at Chesapeake Energy Arena into a frenzy:
Westbrook got an early tech for firing up against the referees, a warning sign as you’d like a playoffs point guard to be composed, but ended up playing (mostly) in control, getting the ball to KD in the right spots:
Unusually, The Thunder had more assists (23) than the Spurs (12). Thunder were often able to stop Spurs like power forward LaMarcus Aldridge and defensive MVP Kawhi Leonard when they went iso, with good help defense. Nonetheless, here’s a sexy Spurs ball movement highlight:
Leonard was the best player on the court until he tweaked his knee early in the 4th quarter. Not even The Claw, who had 21 points, six rebounds and four steals, could stop Durant’s 4th quarter barrage.
The Thunder’s Steven Adams had 16 points and 11 rebounds in 36 minutes, too strong as a roll man with Russ. His replacement, Enes Kanter, had 11 and 8, and played alongside Adams, so this 3 man rotation is a good option for the Thunder moving forward.
Thunder bench guard Dion Waiters chipped in 17 points on just 11 shots, playing solid defense and being nearly unstoppable in transaition, as well as spotting up for jumpers (2 from 2 from three).
The Spurs’ 40 year old center Tim Duncan went scoreless in first postseason game ever, after 4 early fouls. Furthermore, the Spurs hit just two of there three pointers from 12 attempts.
Tony Parker played well, making 10 of 16 from the field, including this crazy layup:
The Thunder’s Cameron Payne had a shocker with two early turnovers, clealry not ready for playoff action, so Thunder went with Randy Foye as backup PG.
At one stage Durant fired up against his coach Billy Donovan:
While their relationship seemed far from amicable in that clip, it appears Durant is not ready to give up on Oklahoma City yet (he is a free agent at season’s, and the Spurs are a potential suitor).
Durant and his team play Game 5 of the series in San Antonio on Tuesday, which will be a true test of the Thunder’s ability to play cohesively, while still getting the ball to the Humble One.