Kevin Durant had a blistering shooting night going for 41 points, but the Spurs might have been able to handle that. What they couldn’t handle — and what helped OKC to shoot 50% as a team — was repeatedly allowing the Thunder to snare offensive rebounds. It’s the most dispiriting thing in basketball — to put in the pinnacle of effort in halfcourt defensive sets only to see the misses you cause returned to sender. OKC had ten offensive boards, but they were timely and destructive. Playing that kind of defense is also likely why the Spurs shot just 2-of-12 from three. Spurs starter (and legend) Tim Duncan played just 12 minutes and grabbed three boards. He did not score.
After complementing Durant’s performance and saying “Westbrook did a great job getting his teammates involved,” Kawhi Leonard got to the heart of the matter: “those offensive rebounds when we’d get [them] to miss.” The series returns to San Antonio tied a 2-2. The Spurs are going to have to try something different to keep the Thunder off the glass. Last game in Texas, even a fan — recognizing the problem — tried to hold back Thunder center Steven Adams.