Kevin Durant stole the show late but it was teammate Serge Ibaka who had the more impressive game as the Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the San Antonio Spurs 109-103 Saturday night to level the best of seven series at two games apiece.
Durant poured in 18 of his 36 points in the final seven minutes to help the Thunder close out the Spurs for the second straight game, while Ibaka had a historic scoring night by going 11-for-11 from the field overall for a career-high 26 points.
ESPN Stats & Information:
"Serge Ibaka was 11-for-11 in the Thunder’s Game 4 win over the Spurs. That’s one shy of the all-time NBA postseason record for most field goals made without a miss, held by Larry McNeill, who was 12-for-12 for the Kings in a 1975 win over the Bulls."
Ibaka wasn’t the only unlikely scoring source in the game for OKC — with usual suspects Russell Westbrook and James Harden struggling to find their shot, other guys had to step up — center Kendrick Perkins and reserve Nick Collison were there to lend a helping hand.
The trio combined for a total of 49 points on 22-of-25 shooting overall — in the first half they accounted for 33 points on 15-of-17 shooting while grabbing a collective 10 rebounds.
San Antonio jumped out to an early 13-5 lead to start the game but OKC stormed back later in the first quarter to take a 22-19 advantage with two minutes remaining. The Spurs then went on a quick 7-2 spurt before the Thunder tied the score 26-26 to end the opening period.
OKC raced to a seven point advantage after five minutes of play in the second quarter and extended the lead to 12 by the end of the period.
The Spurs fought back in the third period and cut the double-digit deficit down to just two points, 73-71, following five straight points from Ginobili capped of by a 3-pointer with just 1:15 left to play in the quarter. Durant hit a short jumper to put the Thunder up 75-71 heading into the final period.
After five minutes of play, OKC was still hanging on by four points; that’s when it happened — Kevin Durant caught fire.
Durant went on an offensive rampage in the following five and a half minutes and racked up 16 straight points, extending the Thunder’s lead over San Antonio to nine points, 102-93, with just 1:31 left to go.
Rookie swingman Kawhi Leonard hit back-to-back 3-pointers for the Spurs between the last points of Durant’s personal run to cut the lead down to six points with 1:23 remaining. Nineteen seconds later Harden hit a trey to give the Thunder a 105-96 advantage.
Westbrook, Durant and Harden combined to hit four-of-six free-throws in the final 64 seconds to seal the 109-103 victory.
OKC had four players in double-figures, Durant led the way with a game-high 36 points while adding six boards and eight assists in 44 minutes of action. Ibaka finished with 26 points, five rebounds and three blocks. Perkins only had one bucket and one rebound in the second half but finished with 15 points and nine boards while Harden rounded out the double-digit scorers with 11 points — he also corralled seven caroms and handed out seven helpers in the game. Westbrook had a nightmare of a game only shooting 2-of-10 from the field and one-of-four from the charity stripe for seven points.
Six players reached double-figures for San Antonio, led by 4-time NBA Champ Tim Duncan who dropped 26 points and grabbed eight rebounds in the contest. Leonard played great once again and narrowly missed posting a double-double falling one rebound short of the mark. The San Diego State rookie finished with 17 points and shot seven-of-eight from the field while draining three-of-four trifectas, two of which were cold-blooded conversions in the final two minutes to keep the Spurs within striking distance. Manu Ginobili (13), Tony Parker (12), Boris Diaw (12) and Stephen Jackson (11) rounded out the double-digit scorers for San Antonio.
OKC shot 56 percent, won the battle on the boards by a 41-31 margin, and had 10 more team assists than the Spurs.
Two of the final three games will be played in San Antonio. The Thunder have a chance to clinch the series at home in six games if they win next game at the AT&T Center in Texas.
Game 5 is Monday, June 4 at 9:00 PM (ET).