The Oklahoma City Thunder reignited the Western Conference finals with a 102-82 home victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday,reducing their deficit in the best-of-seven series to 2-1 and ending the visitors 20-game winning streak. San Antonio,who won the first two games on home court,were unable to contain a fired-up Oklahoma City side as they suffered their first loss in 50 days.
The defeat leaves the Spurs one short of the Lakers record of 11 straight post-season wins but more importantly it raises the prospect of a series that could go down to the wire. For the first two games it looked as if San Antonio,built around experience and three championship wins in the 2000s,were in firm control.
Thursdays response from the Thunder was a reminder that the talented young team,who lost out to Dallas at this stage last year,are a formidable force on home court. Kevin Durant top scored for the Thunder with 22 points but it was a team effort,particularly on defence,that paved the way to victory as the Spurs offensive threat of Tony Parker (16 points) and Tim Duncan (11 points) were neutralised. Durant was one of five Thunders players to make double figures,including Russell Westbrook whose ten points were accompanied by some intelligent controlling play throughout.
The Thunders Swiss forward Thabo Sefolosha had an outstanding game guarding Parker and finished with 19 points to go with his six steals,including a tone-setting four steals in the opening three minutes.