OKLAHOMA CITY – Kevin Durant scored 22 points and the Oklahoma City Thunder snapped San Antonio’s 20-game win streak with a 102-82 triumph on Thursday to trim the Spurs’ lead in their NBA playoff series.
The Spurs still lead 2-1 in the best-of-seven Western Conference final with game four at Oklahoma City on Saturday. The winner will face the Eastern Conference winner, either the Miami Heat or Boston Celtics, in the NBA Finals.
San Antonio won their final 10 regular-season games and their first 10 playoff games to match the third-longest total win streak in NBA history.
The Spurs had not lost in 50 days since falling April 11 at home to the Los Angeles Lakers, who set the NBA record with a 33-game win streak in 1971-72. Houston won 22 in a row in 2008 and Milwaukee also won 20 in a row in 1971.
The Thunder, who had lost in 10 of their prior 11 meetings with the Spurs, outscored San Antonio 32-17 in the second quarter to claim a 54-41 half-time advantage and never let the visitors back into the game in the second half.
The Spurs, who produced their fewest first-half points in this year’s playoffs, seek a fifth NBA crown in 14 seasons. The Thunder have never taken the title.
Swiss standout Thabo Sefolosha scored 19 points and, in a defensive change for the Thunder, was able to contain Spurs’ guard Tony Parker, keeping the Frenchman to 16 points.
“It worked out for us,” Sefolosha said. “I was able to bother him a little bit. Everybody was locked in as a team. That’s what we needed to do. My teammates did a great job finding me and the ball went in for me.”
Stephen Jackson added 16 points for the Spurs while Tim Duncan had 11 points and five blocked shots, becoming the NBA career playoff blocks leader in the process.
James Harden contributed 15 points for the Thunder, who fed off a loud and supportive home crowd.
“It was good for us to get a win in front of the home crowd,” Sefolosha said. “We knew coming back home it would be a different ball game. It’s going to be a long series. This is only one game.”