National Basketball Association
Oklahoma City 98, San Antonio 97
When: 9:30 PM ET, Monday, May 2, 2016
Where: AT&T Center, San Antonio, Texas
#33 Sean Corbin, #8 Marc Davis, #41 Ken Mauer
SAN ANTONIO -- This is more like it, more like what fans were led to expect from a down-to-the-last-possession battle between the Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs, two of the NBA's heavyweights, with a little controversy thrown in on the side.
Oklahoma City laid a colossal egg in the opening game of its Western Conference semifinal series against San Antonio on Saturday but roared back with a vengeance on Game 2, showing doubters it is not afraid to go toe to toe with the Spurs by outlasting San Antonio for a 98-97 win Monday.
The result evened the best-of-seven, Western Conference semifinal series at one win apiece.
The series switches to Oklahoma City for Game 3 on Friday and Game 4 on Sunday before returning to San Antonio for the fifth game on May 10.
Russell Westbrook scored 29 points and handed out 10 assists, and Kevin Durant added 28 points as Thunder handed San Antonio just its second loss at home this season and its first defeat in six playoff games.
"It was an up-and-down game -- the whole game was a grind-out," Durant said. "I don't really know what happened that last minute. I just know we came out on top. We have to get back to the drawing board and see how we can get better. We know San Antonio is going to come out with a lot of energy and desperation in Game 3, so we have to match it."
Durant canned a floating jump shot off an assist from Westbrook with 33 seconds left to give Oklahoma City a 96-91 lead, but the Spurs responded with an LaMarcus Aldridge 3-pointer, just his second of the season.
Westbrook made two free throws with 18.3 seconds left to push Oklahoma City's lead back to 98-94.
Aldridge, who finished with a season-high 41 points, hit three free throws after being fouled on a 3-point attempt with 13.5 seconds left to bring the Spurs within 98-97.
On the ensuing inbounds play, San Antonio's Danny Green stole the ball from Durant, and it was eventually passed in the corner to Patty Mills, who missed a 3-pointer with two seconds left. The teams scrambled for the rebound under the basket, but the Spurs could not get off another shot.
"We got a really good effort from everybody, and we were fortunate to close up the game the way we did," Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. "Being out of a timeout and having a hard time inbounding the ball, we got fortunate. We did a lot of good things, and there are things we can get better at, but it's only one game."
After the game, NBA crew chief Ken Mauer said that after the a review of the inbounds play, an offensive foul should have been called on Thunder guard Dion Waiters before he inbounded the ball ahead of the last sequence. Waiters contacted Spurs guard Manu Ginobili before passing the ball to Durant.
"On the floor, we did not see a foul on the play," Mauer said in a statement provided the media after the game. "However, upon review, we realize and we agree that we should have had an offensive foul on the play. It's a play we have never seen before, ever."
If a foul would have been called, the Spurs would have been given possession of the ball for a final shot attempt.
Mills said he was rushed at the end but had a good look at the final shot.
"I didn't know how much time I had, but I just missed the shot," Mills said. "Everything happened so quickly, and we were just trying to get a hold of the ball and make something happen. Offensively, we moved the ball better in Game 1 and had more uncontested shots."
Serge Ibaka, Enes Kanter and Steven Adams added 12 points apiece for the Thunder, and Adams pulled down 17 rebounds.
Kawhi Leonard had 14 points on 7-of-18 shooting for San Antonio, and Ginobili hit for 11 points.
"We were not as sharp as we were in Game 1 and for sure," Ginobili said. "Oklahoma City was determined to attack and played better defense. They came back strong, and we were a little complacent, which is what happens when you win like we did in the first game. Westbrook was going hard to the basket,
The Thunder flipped the script from their ragged Game 1 start by going right at San Antonio and building a 9-2 lead four minutes into the game. Oklahoma City wound up on top after each quarter -- though it was by just one point after the third and the fourth.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said, "I thought we lost the game three times tonight and got back in it. Give our guys credit for hanging in there on a night when they weren't very sharp."
NOTES: The Spurs recorded 39 assists on 51 made baskets in their Game 1 win in this series, the highest total by any team in the playoffs this year. The last time any NBA team had 39 or more assists in a playoff game occurred on May 4, 1994, when Golden State dished out 40 assists in a 140-133 loss to Phoenix. The last time San Antonio had 35 or more assists in a game was on April 26, 1996, in a 120-98 victory over Phoenix. ... In Game 1, Spurs F/C Tim Duncan won his 156th playoff game, moving him past Robert Horry and into second place on the NBA's all-time postseason wins list. Derek Fisher is first on the list with 161 playoff victories. ... The average age of the Thunder's top seven leading scorers in the regular-season is 26 years and 68 days. As a comparison, the Spurs top seven scorers average 31 years and 182 days.
Top Game Performances
Russell Westbrook 29
LaMarcus Aldridge 41
Russell Westbrook 10
Tony Parker 6
Steven Adams 17
Tim Duncan 9
Russell Westbrook 6
||Free Throws Made
LaMarcus Aldridge 10
Andre Roberson 3
Danny Green 4
Enes Kanter 3
LaMarcus Aldridge 2
Team Stats Summary
San Antonio will play their next game on the road against Oklahoma City. The Spurs have a W/L % of .806 after a win and .867 after a loss.
Oklahoma City will play their next game at home against San Antonio. The Thunder have a W/L % of .679 after a win and .654 after a loss.