That left the heavy lifting on offense up to Durant and Russell Westbrook, who was 2-for-7 in the opening period and 4-for-12 in the first half.
The Thunder got blitzed with an 18-7 run by the Spurs in the first 61/2 minutes.
That’s when Brooks went small, relying on one traditional big man on the floor with four perimeter players the rest of the half.
The Thunder closed the first quarter on a 20-12 run to pull within three. But that lineup soon showed its flaws, allowing layup after layup without the threat of a reputable rim protector.
The Spurs stockpiled 67 points by halftime and, by that point, had racked up 40 of their eye-popping 66 points in the paint.
Much of the reasoning was the absence of Ibaka, and that certainly played a large factor. But the small lineup, something that seemed as if it’d be a Thunder strength entering this series, was just as much to blame.
“We have to do a much better job defensively,” Brooks said. “I thought they were able to get anything that (they) wanted...We take pride in our defensive play, but tonight we didn’t play good enough defense to beat this team.”