x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

NBA: Oklahoma move into Western Conference driving seat after win over Spurs

Oklahoma City Thunder on verge of securing first NBA finals place in 16 years as Durant guides them to 108-103 win over San Antonio.

Kevin Durant goes to the basket against San Antonio Spurs player Tim Duncan.
Kevin Durant goes to the basket against San Antonio Spurs player Tim Duncan.

SAN ANTONIO // Oklahoma City Thunder are on the verge of a remarkable comeback to secure their place in the NBA finals after beating San Antonio 108-103.

Kevin Durant provided 27 points in the fifth game of their Western Conference series.

Oklahoma City lost the first two games of the series but have stormed back to win three straight and now lead the Spurs three games to two.

"We never thought we're supposed to wait our turn," Durant said. "Coach always emphasizes that with every opportunity that you step on the floor. It's a great opportunity to get better, to get to our dream."

Durant scored 22 of his points in the second half while Russell Westbrook finished with 23 points and 12 assists for the Thunder, who are trying to advance to the franchise's first NBA finals since 1996.

James Harden drained a key three-pointer from 24 feet out with 28 seconds left and the Thunder held on for the win. Harden scored 12 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter.

"The shot clock was running down and I had to make a play," Harden said. "(Kawhi) Leonard was playing great defence on me. I just shot it with confidence. West Conference finals. That's a big shot."

Durant nailed a pair of free throws with 0.8 seconds remaining to seal the victory.

"That was a total team effort," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. "Everybody did their job. I thought we played as hard as we can play."

The Thunder are seeking to become the 15th team in NBA history to overcome a 2-0 deficit in a best-of-seven series - ironically, the Spurs were the last team to do it when they rallied to beat the New Orleans Hornets in the Western Conference semi-finals four years.

Manu Ginobili had a game-high 34 points and Tim Duncan finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds on Monday for the Spurs who have now lost three straight games for the first time this season.

The Thunder can wrap up the series with a win in game six Wednesday in Oklahoma City.

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