BENCH: A. With Manu Ginobili starting, the Spurs' bench was not nearly as explosive, and the Thunder reserves outscored San Antonio's 40-22. Daequan Cook was superb, scoring eight points on three straight possessions in an 85-second span of the second quarter. James Harden scored 20 points on 6-of-11 shooting. The four Thunder bench players combined to make 14 of 23 shots.
SMALL BALL: A. Scotty Brooks was forced to go small at times, since foul trouble reared early and often. Serge Ibaka had two fouls in the first minute and two more in the first four minutes of the third quarter. Kendrick Perkins eventually fouled out. So Brooks used a small lineup for 26:17 of the game, and it outscored the Spurs 75-51. Meanwhile, the big lineups were outscored 52-33 by San Antonio. The game turned when the small lineup of Harden, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, Perkins and either Thabo Sefolosha or Derek Fisher outscored the Spurs 25-10 in the final seven minutes of the third quarter.
BALL SECURITY: C. The Thunder lost its composure a few times, else this could have been a runaway. The Thunder had 16 turnovers, and they came in bunches. Three in the first four possessions of the third quarter, letting the Spurs quickly wipe out an eight-point halftime deficit. Then three straight turnovers after the Spurs drew within 101-93 with four minutes left. Westbrook, who in the playoffs had been so splendid at cutting down on his turnovers, committed six.
KEVIN DURANT: A. Wow. This is getting repetitive. Durant gets off to a slow start but doesn't press, then takes over in the second half. Durant didn't take a shot in the second quarter and had only five points at halftime. But Durant made six of seven shots in the third quarter, scored 13 points and finished with 27 points. Durant also had five assists and some good defense down the stretch on Ginobili, who had 34 points but only four in the final 10:49.