Duncan helps Spurs rout Thunder in series opener
By Raul Dominguez ,AP
May 21, 2014, 12:06 am TWN
SAN ANTONIO -- The San Antonio Spurs were planning to attack the lane whether Oklahoma City big man Serge Ibaka was playing or not. The fact that the Thunder's athletic defender was absent only made things easier for them.
Tim Duncan scored 27 points as San Antonio took advantage of Ibaka's absence to dominate the paint, beating the Oklahoma City 122-105 on Monday night in the opener of the Western Conference finals.
Tony Parker did not appear limited by a hamstring injury, scoring 14 points and having 12 assists in 36 minutes.
The Thunder got their usual offensive outputs from All-Stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, who scored 28 and 25 points respectively. But Oklahoma City's remaining starters, Nick Collison, Thabo Sefolosha and Kendrick Perkins, combined to score five points with 13 rebounds and one assist.
But it was defensively were the Thunder struggled without Ibaka, who will miss the remainder of the postseason after injuring his calf muscle in Oklahoma City's series clincher against the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Spurs had 66 points in the paint and shot 58 percent from the field. It was the highest shooting percentage allowed by the Thunder in the postseason since relocating from Seattle.
“We're a no-excuse team,” Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks said. “Serge is out. He's not coming back. We have to play better. If we expect to beat one of the best teams in basketball, and a very good offensive team, we have to play and we're not going to make an excuse.”
The Spurs fed Duncan early with Ibaka out, and the veteran responded by shooting 6 for 7 in scoring 12 points in the opening quarter.