The Thunder actually got off to a solid start and appeared ready to make this contest the first competitive one in the series. OKC led 26-19 after a monster driving dunk by Westbrook with 2:42 left in the first period. But just as fast as the Thunder built that early cushion, it lost it because of a few defensive lapses that allowed San Antonio to close the quarter on a 13-6 run.
“The first quarter was fool’s gold. We gave them 32 points,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. “We were feeling good. I thought the last two minutes we relaxed and they hit a couple of 3s. It’s about playing every possession, and we didn’t have that mentality tonight. And we had that for 96 minutes the last two games. If we don’t get that back, it’s going to be a hard game to stop.”
Brooks went on to talk about how his team can’t survive a shootout against these Spurs. We’ve seen plenty of evidence throughout the season that suggests Oklahoma City is more than capable, but on this night, no way.
That’s because Westbrook and Kevin Durant didn’t have enough help. Despite replicating their all-around excellent play from Game 4, they didn’t receive nearly enough contributions from their supporting cast to keep pace with a Spurs team that had everyone sizzling.
Six Spurs scored in double digits, and San Antonio’s bench erupted for 55 points, 40 of which came in the first three quarters.
Duncan led the way with a team-high 22 points and a game-high 12 rebounds. He made eight of 13 shots in just 30 minutes.
When the Spurs took a 25-point lead with just under nine minutes remaining, Brooks pulled Durant and Westbrook for good. They exited having scored 46 of the Thunder’s 76 points at that point.
“It’s been an up-and-down series, but we’ve got to find a way to come with it in Game 6,” Durant said. “If we want to get to where we want to get to, we’ve got to win in San Antonio. But we’ve got to get the next game.”