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OKC Thunder: Suddenly, the Thunder has the Spurs' attention

Manu Ginobili said: “It's, of course, a great challenge. We are playing against a really talented team.”
By John Rohde Published: June 2, 2012

Trailing 81-77 going into the fourth quarter, the Spurs were done in by an 18-point outburst in the final period from three-time scoring champion Kevin Durant, who converted 7 of 9 from the field and 4 for 4 from the free-throw line.

“I mean, he wasn't second in MVP votes for nothing,” Spurs guard Gary Neal said of Durant, who finished with a game-high 36 points (28 after intermission), plus eight assists and six rebounds. “I mean, he is a great scorer, he is a great talent and tonight in the fourth quarter he was making shots and he was hot.”

Thunder forward Serge Ibaka literally scored a perfect 26 points, going 11 for 11 from the field and 4 for 4 from the line. He also had five rebounds and three blocked shots.

In Games 1 and 2 at San Antonio, Ibaka was a combined 4 for 14 from the field and scored 13 points, so the Spurs essentially dared him to shoot outside jumpers – and he never missed.

“We did everything we could,” Spurs forward Stephen Jackson said of defending Ibaka. “Once a guy like that gets it going, it's hard to stop him. I mean, you get out there and shoot 11 wide-open shots, you'd probably hit them, too. Most of the shots were wide open, so he's supposed to hit those. I mean, we were giving those to him, so we have to deal with that and everything else we have to get better on.”

Center Kendrick Perkins completed the Thunder's three-headed monster with 15 points (7 for 9 from the field) and nine rebounds.

“We have to come in and be more physical,” Spurs reserve forward DeJuan Blair said. “We knew this team would be a tough battle coming in here in this environment. It's crazy out there.”