February 15, 2019

NBA Story
By The Sports Xchange
Publish Date: May 11, 2016 11:18:07 PM

Thunder return home looking to close out Spurs

The Thunder have history on their side as they look to eliminate the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday night in Game 6 of the Western Conference semifinals in Oklahoma City.
As well as San Antonio has played in its own building this year -- the Spurs matched the 1985-86 Boston Celtics for the best regular-season home record in league history at 40-1 before losing twice at AT&T Center this postseason -- its road record in elimination games is cause for concern.
Under coach Gregg Popovich, the Spurs are 2-10 when facing elimination on the road. The Thunder provided one of those losses, winning 107-66 to knock out San Antonio in Game 6 of the 2012 Western Conference finals.
"We have to go into their building and force another game (in San Antonio)," the Spurs' Danny Green said. "It's not over by any means."
Oklahoma City was treated to a heroes' welcome upon arriving home after a 95-91 win in Game 5 at San Antonio that built a 3-2 series lead, with fans greeting the team early Wednesday morning at Will Rogers World Airport.
Russell Westbrook was most deserving of the applause with his 35 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists in Game 5. Kevin Durant added 23 points.
"We got stops and Russ was a maniac," Durant said. "We didn't panic late in the game."
Kawhi Leonard scored 26 to lead the Spurs in Game 5, which ended with a 13-3 Oklahoma City run after San Antonio led 88-82 with 4:00 remaining. The Spurs missed eight of their final nine shots in the last 3:59.
San Antonio hadn't lost when leading by 13 in the playoffs since 2010.
"You gotta make shots down the stretch, and sometimes things have to go your way," Popovich said.
The Spurs need more from Tim Duncan in order to reach the Western Conference finals for the ninth time since winning their first of five championships in 1998-99. Duncan has averaged only 3.4 points and 3.6 rebounds in the series.
Officiating has been a point of contention this series, as the NBA announced its referees missed two more calls in the final two minutes of Game 5 after botching five in a wild final 13.5 seconds of Oklahoma City's 100-96 win in Game 2.
"We've given ourselves a chance the past few games because we've defended down the stretch," Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. "That's what we can control.

All Times Eastern