- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 28, 2014

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Gregg Popovich had seen enough.

With his San Antonio Spurs trailing the Thunder by 25 in the third quarter on Tuesday, he benched the last of his starters. Only one played in the fourth quarter, and that was for just 49 seconds.

When asked about his thought process behind the moves, he simply said, “Thursday.”

That’s when the Spurs host Game 5. Game 4, he rightly figured, was already over.

Russell Westbrook had 40 points and 10 assists, and Oklahoma City beat the Spurs 105-92 to tie the Western Conference finals at two games apiece.

Kevin Durant added 31 points on 11-for-22 shooting. It was his highest-scoring game of the series after the NBA’s leading scorer was held to a 22.7-point average in the first three games.

Serge Ibaka added nine points and eight rebounds for the Thunder, who have turned around the series since he returned from an injury that was expected to keep him out for the rest of the postseason.

Ibaka was just one reason for the Spurs‘ struggles.

“We’re just not focused coming out,” Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard said. “We’re not playing consistently throughout the whole game. We’re playing in spurts or increments. We’ve just got to play the whole game.”

Boris Diaw had 14 points and 10 rebounds, and Tony Parker added 14 points for the Spurs, who blew a 2-0 lead against the Thunder in this round two years ago and are in danger of doing it again.

“I think we shouldn’t think like that,” Parker said. “Each game is different. Each series. Each year. We worked hard all year to have home court advantage and now it’s our job to protect home court.”

Oklahoma City dominated for the second consecutive game after getting blown out in the first two. The Thunder committed just seven turnovers and shot 49 percent from the field.

The Spurs scored the first eight points of the game, but things went downhill from there. A steal and dunk by Westbrook gave the Thunder a 42-32 lead with just under five minutes left in the first half. Back-to-back 3-pointers by Durant pushed Oklahoma City’s lead to 50-36.

The Thunder led 58-43 at halftime. Durant scored 22 points and Westbrook added 17 points, eight assists and four steals before the break.

Parker shot 6 of 9 in the first half, but the rest of the Spurs made just 11 of 32 before the break.

Story Continues →