Keys to victory: Spurs 122, Thunder 105

May, 20, 2014
5/20/14
12:16
AM ET
The San Antonio Spurs showed the Oklahoma City Thunder that the 2014 Western Conference finals won’t resemble the way things went during the regular season.

The Spurs pulled away late in the third quarter and early in the fourth quarter to win Game 1 of the series handily.

The Spurs have now won 10 straight Game 1s in postseason play (tied for the third-longest streak in NBA history), one shy of the record, last done by the Chicago Bulls from 1996 to 1998.

The Elias Sports Bureau notes that the Spurs “Big 3” of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili has now won 110 playoff games, tying Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Michael Cooper for the most such wins by a trio in NBA history.

The Thunder went 4-0 against the Spurs in the regular season but could not finish this game off in a good way.

Difference-Maker: Tim Duncan
Tim Duncan scored 21 of his 27 points in the first half, making all seven of his shots in the paint in that time.

Sixteen of Duncan’s 27 points came when he was cutting to the basket. Five different players had an assist on Duncan’s baskets off cuts.

The Spurs outscored the Thunder 66-32 in the paint and shot 58 percent from the field overall (their best shooting game this postseason). The Thunder allowed 41.5 paint points per game against the Spurs in the regular season.

San Antonio also thrived when it drove to the basket, with no Serge Ibaka there to protect the rim for the Thunder. The chart on the right shows how well the Spurs fared.

Defensive specialist: Danny Green
Danny Green proved to be a shutdown defender for the San Antonio Spurs.

The Thunder missed 14 of 16 shots from the field and committed three turnovers in situations in which Green was the primary defender. Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant were a combined 2-for-9 when guarded by Green.

Green had held opponents to 42 percent shooting from the field in the first two rounds.

The Spurs outscored the Thunder by 30 points in Green’s 27 minutes on the floor.

Looking Ahead
The Spurs are 22-4 in best-of-7 series when winning Game 1 with Gregg Popovich as their head coach.

The Thunder are 3-2 all time when losing Game 1 of a playoff series since moving to Oklahoma City. Notably, they lost Game 1 of the 2012 Western Conference finals in San Antonio and recovered to win the series in six games.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.