The Oklahoma City Thunder, superbly led by inspirational All-Stars Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant on their home court, outplayed the San Antonio Spurs 105-92 in Game Four of the Western Conference Finals on Tuesday.
Dynamic guard Westbrook contributed a game-high 40 points and 10 assists while league MVP Durant weighed in with 31 points on 11-of-22 shooting as the second-seeded Thunder evened up the best-of-seven series at 2-2.
The top-seeded Spurs, aiming for a return to the NBA Finals after losing to the Miami Heat in five games last year, were outshot by 49 percent to 40 from the field.
Point guard Tony Parker and Boris Diaw, off the bench, led the way for San Antonio with 14 points each but veteran All-Star forward Tim Duncan was held to just nine points on three-of-eight shooting.
“I think I did all right,” a smiling Westbrook told Turner Network Television in a courtside interview after a stellar display that also included five steals. “Coming out with a win is most important. “I just try to come out and give maximum effort. My team mates ask that of me and that’s what I was trying to do at both ends of the floor.”
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich applauded the performances produced by Westbrook and Durant, but felt his team had paid the price for not being aggressive enough.
“I thought they (Westbrook and Durant) did a great job,” he said. “They are great players, and that’s what they do. I was disappointed in our physicality.”
result: Western Conference Final: Oklahoma City Thunder 105-92 San Antonio Spurs (Series tied 2-2).
Sterling responds to NBA
Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling responded to the NBA’s attempt to oust him Tuesday, arguing that there is no basis for stripping him of his team because his racist statements were illegally recorded “during an inflamed lovers’ quarrel in which he was clearly distraught.”
According to the response, obtained and posted by USA Today, Sterling says V. Stiviano recorded him without his knowledge and thus the recording was illegal under California law. He also said he could not have “willfully” damaged the league because he did not know it would be made public.
“A jealous rant to a lover never intended to be published cannot offend the NBA rules,” the response says.
Meanwhile, the attorney for Shelly Sterling confirmed that Donald Sterling has given her written permission to sell the team.
According to a person who is in contact with a potential bidder, who spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the process publicly, the Clippers are seeking binding bids before next Tuesday.
NBA owners are scheduled to meet that afternoon in New York. The league said in a statement Tuesday that if owners voted to sustain the charge, “the Sterlings’ interests in the Clippers will be terminated and the team will be sold.”