Thunder coach Scott Brooks thanked ownership. “When we were 3-29, they still treated us like champions,” Brooks said.
General manager Sam Presti, who put together this team through draft picks and trades, said, “We've got a special group of people.” And he didn't mean just the people drawing a Thunder paycheck. “The fans in this arena represent an entire state.”
And the fans helped in this one.
The Thunder, which lost the first two games of the series, won three straight and returned to OKC with a chance to close out the Spurs.
But San Antonio made 14 of its first 20 shots and took a 34-16 lead. The Thunder was within 63-48 at halftime only because Kevin Durant muscled in a well-guarded 3-pointer just before the second-quarter buzzer.
Then came a third quarter that will be long remembered in OKC. The Thunder made 12 of its first 17 shots after halftime and caught the Spurs before quarter's end, fittingly on Durant's 3-pointer with 1:40 left in the period.
“Toughest game we've played since I've been here,” Durant said. “I'm glad we got this one for Oklahoma City.”