Starting lineup: C. Jackson’s ankle injury limited the new lineup to just 31/2 minutes in the first half. The Thunder trailed 10-4 when Jackson was sidelined. But Jackson returned to start the second half; he didn’t play well, but the unit did. Scotty Brooks kept the starters in the first 8:13 of the third quarter, during which the Thunder outscored the Spurs 18-12.
Small lineup: B. Brooks went small-ball in the first quarter, and it produced a great run. The unit of Durant, Caron Butler, Adams, Westbrook and Lamb went on a 13-6 spree to give the Thunder the lead for good. Brooks went small for short stints the next two quarters, to less success. The small lineup matched the Spurs 4-4 in 2:42 of the second quarter and then was outscored 7-5 in 1:39 of the third quarter.
Killer instinct: D. With 4:25 left in the third quarter, the Thunder led 76-49, and Popovich had surrendered. The Spurs sported a lineup of Cory Joseph, Boris Diaw, Aron Baynes, Marco Belinelli and Matt Bonner. And the Thunder allowed that quintet to score on eight straight possessions and draw within 81-67. Popovich stayed with his scrubs, and the Thunder controlled the fourth quarter, but it came at a cost. Westbrook played 451/2 minutes. Durant played 41:12. Even the recuperating Ibaka played 34:54. Meanwhile, no Spur starter played as much as 26 minutes.