Spurs edge Thunder in Oklahoma to take series lead
(Sports Xchange) - Kawhi Leonard scored 31 points to lead the San Antonio Spurs to a 100-96 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday at the Chesapeake Energy Arena.Leonard shot 9 of 17 from the field to go along with 11 rebounds and three assists. LaMarcus Aldride added 24 points and eight rebounds. Tony Parker posted 19 points as the Spurs took a 2-1 lead in the Western Conference semifinal.Russell Westbrook paced the Thunder with 31 points on 10 of 31 shooting. He added nine rebounds and eight assists. Kevin Durant posted 26 points, five rebounds and three assists. Serge Ibaka scored 15 points on 5 of 6 shooting from the 3-point line.The Thunder offense began to roll midway through the fourth quarter. Back to back 3-pointers from Ibaka and Westbrook gave them their first lead of second half. Durant added a baseline jumper to take an 83-81 advantage.
After Aldridge scored, Durant hit another jumper and Oklahoma City led by two with 5:20 left in the game. But the Spurs quickly responded with free throws from Leonard and a Parker layup to retake the lead.Aldridge and Leonard connected on four straight free throws that resulted from Thunder turnovers and bad offense. But Durant and Westbrook both scored to close the gap to 91-89.
Aldridge went to the line again, but only made 1 of 2 attempts. Yet a Thunder turnover led to a Leonard layup and a Spurs 94-89 lead. Another turnover by Oklahoma City gave David West a bucket. The Spurs went ahead by seven.
Westbrook drained a pair of free throws before Durant stole the ball from Leonard. That led to another pair two free throws from Westbrook that cut the deficit to 96-94 with 46.7 seconds left.The Thunder forced Aldridge into tough shot, which he missed. However. Leonard came up with the loose ball. The Spurs Tony Parker was fouled and he hit both free throw attempts to give the visiting team a four point advantage with 18 seconds left.Oklahoma City used 14 seconds on the clock and came away with a Dion Waiters jumper. But Leonard put the game away with a pair of free throws.