Russell Westbrook contributed 35 points, 11 rebounds and 9 assists to help his team beat the Spurs on Tuesday 95-91 in San Antonio, and now the Oklahoma City Thunder is just one win away from advancing to the Western Conference Finals. Oklahoma City rallied in the fourth quarter and took a 3-2 lead in the semifinal series. Kevin Durant added 23 points to the Thunder’s cause, who won for the second time in San Antonio during this series. Oklahoma City could seal their ticket on Thursday at home in Game 6, even though the Spurs are online betting favorites -145 to +125.
As is par for the course with the Spurs in the post-season there was controversy surrounding the final seconds of gameplay. Westbrook secured the win with a three-point play with 6.3 seconds left on the clock. He scored a layup while being fouled by LaMarcus Aldridge, after Kawhi Leonard failed to foul him intentionally – contrary to what Leonard said afterward. Westbrook subsequently converted the single free-throw. Leonard finished with 26 points, six rebounds, and four assists for San Antonio, which had only suffered one home loss in the regular season but has fallen twice at home in this series. Also for the Spurs, Manu Ginobili scored three points, two rebounds and a pair of assists and Aldridge scored 20 points, 9 rebounds, and three assists. The Thunder has defied expectations as well as sports betting odds to turn this series on its head.
The combination of Westbrook and forward Kevin Durant was again the winning formula that helped the Oklahoma City Thunder overcome the odds. Westbrook shone as a leader in all facets of the game, falling one assist short from a triple-double. Meanwhile Durant had six rebounds and five assists in addition to his 23 points. The Oklahoma City regained home court advantage with the sixth match being played on Thursday at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma. Another star was New Zealand center Steve Adams, who scored a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds, allowing him to best veteran Tim Duncan again. Duncan has had his worst performance as a professional in a playoffs series.
Like Game 2 in which Waiters elbowed Ginobili, there was no call when it mattered most.
Calls come and go, but this game was so good that one hoped they would call it right down the middle. Game 2 was already enough of a black eye in a series in which the league determined there had been five miscalls in the last 13.5 seconds. Unfortunately, it was not meant to be. And the Durant call referred to by Popovich had more to do with the ability of Thunder to return home for Game 6 than the supposed Leonard non-call. But that’s sports for you – like online betting, not an exact science.