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Question of the Day
“I just want to be calm and composed and poised in those situations and make the right basketball play,” Durant said. “I just try to calm down and go with my instincts.”
Oklahoma City is trying to become the 15th team in NBA history to overcome an 0-2 deficit in a seven-game series, and the eighth to do it since 2004. The Thunder avoided an even trickier task by winning.
Only eight teams have ever overcome a 3-1 hole, and only two had done it while needing two wins on the road — the 1995 Rockets and 1968 Celtics.
“We’ve just got to go down there with the mindset that we’re going to play hard every possession, play together like we’ve played in these last two games and we’ll see what happens,” Durant said.
“We’ve just got to keep believing, man, and we’ll be fine.”
Tim Duncan had 21 points for San Antonio, which had won 20 in a row before losing Game 3. Leonard added 17 points and nine rebounds.
The Spurs wiped away most of a 15-point deficit with a run that coincided with Popovich turning to DeJuan Blair, who’s had some notoriously big games against the Thunder but had occupied a spot on the bench for most of the playoffs after starting 62 of the 66 regular-season games.
Blair sprung free for a layup early in an 18-5 comeback, and Ginobili’s 3-pointer from the top of the key trimmed Oklahoma City’s lead to 73-71 with 1:16 to go in the third quarter.
The Spurs were within four after Duncan’s left-handed runner with 6:55 left in the game. That’s when Thunder coach Scott Brooks called a timeout, and Durant came out of it firing away. He made seven of his last eight shots and also finished with eight assists and six rebounds.
“It was hard because were on a run, we were feeling good about ourselves and we just couldn’t make a stop,” Ginobili said.
Ibaka made all 11 of his shots — and all four of his free throws — to lead a strong performance from Oklahoma City’s frontcourt while Durant’s usual running mates, Westbrook and Harden, both struggled.
The Thunder shot 56 percent and outrebounded San Antonio 41-31.
Oklahoma City pulled ahead to stay with a 12-3 run early in the second quarter with Durant and Westbrook both taking a break. Westbrook nailed a 3-pointer from the left side soon after returning to provide the Thunder’s first double-digit lead at 43-33 with 4:44 to go before halftime.
NOTES: After committing a postseason-worst 21 turnovers in Game 3, San Antonio had 10 that led to 11 Oklahoma City points. … Ryan Seacrest sat in the front row near midcourt.
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