Oklahoma City Thunder's Russell Westbrook (0) and San Antonio Spurs' Kawhi Leonard chase a loose ball during the first half of Game 5 of the Western Conference finals NBA basketball playoff series

Oklahoma City Thunder's Russell Westbrook (0) and San Antonio Spurs' Kawhi Leonard chase a loose ball during the first half of Game 5 of the Western Conference finals NBA basketball playoff series

Spurs spank Thunder to take series lead

Back at home, this blowout went to the San Antonio Spurs. Now they can clinch their return to the NBA Finals on the road, where they are the ones taking the beatings in these wacky Western Conference finals. “This is the craziest series I’ve ever been involved in,” veteran Tim Duncan said.

SAN ANTONIO — Back at home, this blowout went to the San Antonio Spurs.

Now they can clinch their return to the NBA Finals on the road, where they are the ones taking the beatings in these wacky Western Conference finals.

“This is the craziest series I’ve ever been involved in,” veteran Tim Duncan said.

The Spurs took a 3-2 lead in it Thursday night after Duncan had 22 points and 12 rebounds in a 117-89 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The Jekyll-and-Hyde series continued between the past two Western Conference champions, as the road team has been thumped in every game of the best-of-seven series.

Game 6 is Saturday in Oklahoma City.

“I have no clue, honestly,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said of the disparity. “I think every game, it’s a different animal. It really is. We talk to our team about that all the time. You have no clue what’s going to happen, how a team is going to come out, whether they’re going to be lethargic or hold the ball, get 50/50 balls or don’t get 50/50 balls.”

Kevin Durant scored 25 points, but Russell Westbrook had only 21 points and seven assists after finishing with 40 points and 10 assists in Game 4.

Manu Ginobili scored 19 points, Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green each had 14 and Boris Diaw added 13 for the Spurs, who are a win away from returning to the NBA Finals after losing in seven games to Miami last year.

The Spurs returned to the style of play that enabled them to win the series’ first two games by a combined 52 points.

“We gave them everything they wanted,” Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks said. “They got the dribble drive, they got the 3-point line, and they got to the free-throw line.”

The Spurs were also 13 for 26 on 3-pointers and outrebounded the Thunder 48-35. San Antonio also limited Oklahoma City to four fast-break points after giving up 21 in Game 4.

After losing twice in Oklahoma City by an average of 11 points, San Antonio upped its winning margin in San Antonio to 26.7 points.

Oklahoma City had just 34 points in the second half after scoring 32 in the first quarter.

“Our shots weren’t falling for us,” Durant said. “We’ve got to stay aggressive and we’ve got to get stops. When we can’t make a shot, we’ve got to play defence, and we didn’t tonight.”

San Antonio outscored Oklahoma City by 10 points in both the second and third quarters, allowing both teams to sit their starters for much of the fourth.

Serge Ibaka, who dominated the interior in Oklahoma City, was held to six points and two rebounds.

The Spurs started Matt Bonner in place of Tiago Splitter to draw Ibaka out of the paint and it worked early. It also helped defensively, as Ibaka attacked Bonner but missed his first five shots on a series of running hooks. Duncan was also able to help defensively, rolling over to block a layup attempt by Ibaka.

“He didn’t have the games that he had the last two games, that’s pretty clear,” Brooks said. “I thought his energy was good. He competed. He missed some shots that he normally makes. (But) it was everybody. It was everybody.”

San Antonio’s crowd was raucous from the start, booing Westbrook heavily during pregame introductions and erupting joyously when Green scored the team’s first points on a 3-pointer 1 1/2 minutes into the game

Oklahoma City withstood the early barrage, going on an 11-2 run for its largest lead of the game.

San Antonio kept Westbrook out of the paint early, but that only opened up the lanes for Jackson, who made his first five shots. He had four straight layups and then drained a 3-pointer with Parker closely defending.

When asked if San Antonio had done anything differently to keep him out of the paint, Westbrook said, “nothing.”

Three-point shooting got San Antonio back into the game, as Patty Mills and Green closed the first with consecutive 3s to tie the game at 32-all. Diaw’s 3 gave San Antonio a 42-37 lead with 6:12left in the first half and resulted in an Oklahoma City timeout. Ginobili’s 3 gave a 65-52 lead with 6.9 seconds left in the first half. Ginobili’s third 3 gave San Antonio an 87-70 lead with 3 minutes remaining in the third.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A cross-country skier glides along the banks of the Ottawa River in Ottawa on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. Canadians across the country can look forward to a mild spring peppered with the odd winter flashback throughout the first part of the season, according to predictions from one prominent national forecaster. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Mild spring with some wintry blasts predicted for most of Canada: Weather Network

March will be dramatically warmer through the prairies

Bharat Masrani, CEO, TD Bank Group speaks at the Economic Club of Canada in Toronto on Wednesday, November 1, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Five things to watch for in the Canadian business world in the coming week

Shares in metals and mining companies have rebounded sharply

A worker carrying a disinfectant sprayer walks past a WestJet Airlines Boeing 737-800 aircraft, after cleaning another plane at Vancouver International Airport, in Richmond, B.C., on Thursday, January 21, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
WestJet to lay off undisclosed number of pilots amid labour negotiations

Layoff notices to go out ahead of the expiration of a memorandum of agreement

A dose of COVID-19 vaccine is prepared at a vaccination clinic in Montreal’s Olympic Stadium on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Feds hoping for AstraZeneca shots this week as Pfizer-BioNTech prepare next delivery

Canada has ordered 24 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine

Free Reformed Church is seen as people attend Sunday Service, in Abbotsford, B.C., Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021. A legal advocacy group challenging British Columbia’s COVID-19 restrictions on worship services and public protests is scheduled to be in court today arguing for the church and others that COVID-19 restrictions violate their charter rights. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Churches in court to challenge British Columbia’s COVID-19 health orders

Calgary-based organization says it represents over a dozen individuals and faith communities in the province

Red Deer science-communicating dogs Bunsen and Beaker helped save a missing pet recently. The two dogs have more than 80,000 followers on Twitter. (Contributed photo)
WATCH: Red Deer science dogs help save lost pet

Red Deer science-communicating dogs Bunsen and Beaker helped rescue a missing pet… Continue reading

Team Canada skip Kerri Einarson makes a shot against Team Alberta as second Shannon Birchard, right, and lead Briane Meilleur sweep in the semi-final at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Calgary, Alta., Sunday, Feb. 28, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Kerri Einarson wins second straight Canadian women’s curling championship

Einarson and her teammates celebrated Sunday in the silence in an empty arena

Amy Poehler and Tina Fey hosted the Golden Globes on Feb. 28, 2021. (Photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
With loved ones and pets, Globes winners embrace cozier show

Nicole Kidman and musician-husband Keith Urban got glammed up to sit on their couch

The cast of “Schitt’s Creek” pose for a photo after winning the Award for Best Comedy Series at the Canadian Screen Awards in Toronto on March 31, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
Schitt’s Creek nabs two Golden Globes for its final season

Catherine O’Hara named best television actress in a musical or comedy

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney speaks during a news conference in Edmonton on Feb. 24, 2020. It’s budget day in the province, and Kenney’s United Conservative government is promising more help in the fight against COVID, but more red ink on the bottom line. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta Premier slams vandalism after slur painted on MLA’s office window

EDMONTON — Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is condemning alleged vandalism at the… Continue reading

Canada Pension Plan Investment Board President and Chief Executive Officer Mark Machin waits to appear at the Standing Committee on Finance on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa on Tuesday, November 1, 2016. Executives who engage in so-called "vaccine tourism" show both an ethical disregard for those less fortunate and a surprising lack of business acumen, experts argue. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine tourism is both unethical and bad for business, experts say

Executives who engage in so-called “vaccine tourism” show both an ethical disregard… Continue reading

Edmonton Oilers' Jesse Puljujarvi (13) and Toronto Maple Leafs' Justin Holl (3) battle in front as goalie Jack Campbell (36) makes the save during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, February 27, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
No Matthews, no problem: Minus NHL goal leader, Maple Leafs blank Oilers 4-0

Leafs 4 Oilers 0 EDMONTON — The Maple Leafs knew even with… Continue reading

Leader of the Government in the House of Commons Pablo Rodriguez rises during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Gummed-up bills in House of Commons: harbinger of a federal election?

OTTAWA — All federal party leaders maintain they don’t want an election… Continue reading

The Pornhub website is shown on a computer screen in Toronto on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS
Pornhub policies reveal legal gaps and lack of enforcement around exploitive videos

OTTAWA — Serena Fleites was in seventh grade when a sexually explicit… Continue reading

Most Read