Kevin Durant had 22 points as the Oklahoma City Thunder broke the San Antonio Spurs’ 20-game winning streak with a 102-82 home victory in Game 3 of the National Basketball Association’s Western Conference finals.
The Spurs, who hadn’t been beaten since a 98-84 loss against the Los Angeles Lakers on April 11, still lead the best-of-seven playoff series two games to one. Game 4 is set for tomorrow at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City.
“We never thought these guys had an advantage over us even though we had lost a few,” Durant told reporters. “It was just good that we took it to 2-1. We didn’t want to go down 0-3.”
Thabo Sefolosha had 19 points for the Thunder, who jumped off to an 8-0 advantage in the first three minutes of the game as Sefolosha tallied four steals. Oklahoma, which hasn’t lost at home during the playoffs, extended the lead to 54-41 at halftime.
“We just played a good basketball game,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. “We played with a lot of force, we played with good energy, but we played defensive-minded basketball. That’s who we are. That’s how we win.”
Tony Parker and Stephen Jackson each had 16 points for the Spurs, who had a postseason-worst 21 turnovers that were converted into 20 points by the Thunder. The loss kept the Spurs from tying a record for most wins to start the postseason set by the Lakers, who won 11 straight in 1989 and 2001.
“They played like it was a closeout game, both offensively and defensively,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “They were very active, physical, they moved the ball well on offense. They did all those things better than we did. They beat us good.”
The winner of the series will face the Miami Heat or Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals. Miami has won the first two games of the Eastern Conference finals, with Game 3 tonight in Boston.