Tony Parker and the San Antonio Spurs are making this look way too easy.
Parker had 34 points and eight assists, Manu Ginobili added 20 points and the Spurs stayed perfect in the playoffs with a 120-111 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals Tuesday night.
So far, the Spurs have turned a hotly anticipated matchup between the league’s top two scoring teams into a lopsided mismatch more befitting of an early round.
Game 3 is Thursday night in Oklahoma City, and the Thunder can only hope that a change of venue throws San Antonio out of its groove. The Spurs put on an offensive clinic for three quarters on Tuesday night, shooting 60 percent and building a 22-point lead.
”We like to play like that,” said Parker, who hit 16 of 21 shots. ”That’s the way we play.”
The Spurs set an NBA record with their 20th consecutive victory bridging the regular season and the playoffs. They came in sharing the longest such streak with the 2000-01 Lakers, who won 19 straight before losing to Philadelphia in the first game of the finals…
”It’s great and it is a great run,” said Tim Duncan, who had 11 points and 12 rebounds…
The Thunder made a late surge to get within six points, but Parker, Ginobili and Duncan helped San Antonio finish them off. Oklahoma City is 5-0 at home in the playoffs, but only 14 teams have come back from 2-0 deficits to win a series in NBA playoff history…
Kevin Durant had 31 points, Westbrook had 27 points and eight assists and James Harden rebounded from a rough Game 1 to score 30 for the Thunder, who have lost two straight for the first time since early April. Oklahoma City dropped to 15-4 in games after losses this season.
– Reported by Chris Duncan of the Associated Press
Spurs guard Tony Parker, who scored 42 against the Thunder back in February, again dazzled, this time with 34 points on 16-of-21 shooting to go with eight assists. His efforts captained a 27-assists night for the Spurs, who used that precise ball movement to get about anything they wanted, exactly when they wanted it.
San Antonio also made 11-of-26 3-pointers, burning the Thunder with the same sharp-shooting that the Spurs displayed during the regular season. Two nights earlier, the Thunder held the Spurs to 8-of-24 shooting from 3-point range and perhaps thought it had solved that part of the puzzle.
Only another problem popped up.
While the Thunder’s big three of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden did what they needed to do, combining for 88 points on 30-of-54 shooting, the rest of the Thunder’s players scored just 23 points on 7-of-34 shooting.
That was a huge difference in the game.
– Reported by Darnell Mayberry of the Oklahoman
OKC got 88 points out of its Big Three — 31 for Kevin Durant, 30 from James Harden and 27 from Westbrook — but only 23 from everybody else.
In producing their highest playoff scoring night since a 128-119 overtime victory over Sacramento in 2006, the Spurs got points from across the box score.
Rookie forward Kawhi Leonard provided the Spurs with 18 points and 10 rebounds, his highest-scoring game of the postseason and his first double-double.
Duncan, meanwhile, shook off 2-for-11 shooting to pad the stat sheet with 11 points, 12 rebounds, six assists and four blocks.
Yet it was Parker who spearheaded the Spurs’ victory, playing like the almost-MVP he was during the regular season.
“It’s always been a battle for me to find that happy balance,” Parker said. “Over the years, I’ve gotten better at knowing when to find my spots to pass and to score.”
As the series shifts north of the Red River for Games 3 and 4, the challenge becomes daunting for the Thunder. They must win four of five over a team that hasn’t lost since April 11.
– Reported by Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News