Thunder-Spurs: OKC's rally spurred by talk of 'who we are as men'

San Antonio drained shots of all varieties and distances in the first half, until Oklahoma City shook off the pressure of a close-out game and remembered who it is as a defensive team.
By JOHN ROHDE, Staff Writer, jrohde@oklahoman.com Published: June 7, 2012

"We just haven't been able to sustain our offense for four quarters, and for us to beat those guys, we needed to score," Popovich said. "And the third quarter, it was like playing in mud. So that was our downfall as much as anything ... The lack of offense in the third quarter was tough."

Veteran power forward Tim Duncan finished with 25 points and 14 rebounds and also viewed the game-changing third quarter from a similar perspective.

"They made shots and we did not," Duncan said. "I thought our effort and execution was there, they just made shots through a stretch there and got back into it. Then down the stretch it seemed like they got every whistle possible and that really changed the tide. We were playing tough defense and trying to get stops, but the whistle kept blowing and they went to the line."

The Spurs dominated early, returning to the spectacular execution that made them the team to beat entering this year's playoffs.

With The Peake perhaps amped more than it's ever been, San Antonio point guard Tony Parker quickly hushed the crowd by erupting for 17 points in the first 8:39 of the contest, shooting 7 for 9 from the field and also handing out five assists.

The Thunder had no answer for Parker, not individually or as a team and the Spurs took command because of him.

When Parker sat for the first time, 43.6 seconds remained in the first quarter and the Spurs led by 17 – the exact number of points he scored.

San Antonio led by as many as 18 in the first half.

Reserve forward Stephen Jackson, who shot 30.6 percent from 3-point range during the regular season, drained his first six shots of the game – every one of them a 3-pointer.

After burying his fourth trey to give the Spurs a 56-40 lead with 3:32 left before halftime, Jackson was laughing and smiling as he trotted back down court.

As he made his way over to defend Kevin Durant, a giddy Jackson glanced at the Thunder bench and screamed, "I'm having fun. I'm having fun (gosh) dammit."

When Jackson made it 5 for 5, he was slapped with a technical for taunting the OKC bench.

Jackson tried nothing but 3-pointers all night long, finishing 6 for 7 beyond the arc. He also was fouled twice while attempting 3-pointers.

His lone miss came with 43.9 seconds left and the Spurs trailing 103-99.

Parker shot 8 of 14 in the first half, but was 4 for 13 in the second half and finished with 29 points and 12 assists.

Guard Manu Ginobili converted just 4 of 12 from the field.



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