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SAN ANTONIO (AP) — The San Antonio Spurs have been here before.
Tony Parker scored 22 points, Danny Green added 21 on seven 3-pointers, and San Antonio used a dominant third quarter to pummel Oklahoma City 112-77 Wednesday night and take a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference finals.
The Spurs were in the same position in 2012 before the Thunder won four straight to capture the series and stun a Spurs team that appeared to have its best days behind it.
Well, San Antonio is back in the conference final with a commanding lead, wiser and even older.
“I know after the game, nobody is very happy in the locker room,” Parker said. “Everybody is very focused, and we respect that team. We know they’re very capable of a comeback, and they did that against us in 2012. We’re just very focused and nobody is satisfied.”
Game 3 is Sunday at Oklahoma City, where the Thunder will try to bounce back from the worst playoff loss in franchise history.
“It definitely doesn’t feel good, and it shouldn’t,” Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks said. “I hope our entire locker room doesn’t feel good. You shouldn’t feel good. We got our butts kicked.”
Playing without Serge Ibaka and given two days to adjust to dropping Game 1 by 17 points, the Thunder performed even worse.
Parker and Green each had eight points in the third quarter and San Antonio outscored Oklahoma City 33-18 in the period.
Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook each finished with 15 points, but the third-quarter barrage made spectators of both in the fourth — not that they accomplished much when they did play. The stars combined to shoot 13 for 40, including 4 for 14 in the third quarter.
“If they had won this game by one point, we’d still be down 0-2,” Durant said.
“(We) lost by a lot two games in a row. It’s hard for you to stay together, but we have a group of guys that are not front-runners and we’ll figure it out. That’s all we’ve got to do.”
An attempt to do that resulted in an argument between Durant and Westbrook as they walked off the court at halftime.
“I was just getting on Kevin about some stuff and he got on me right back,” Westbrook said. “And that’s what teammates do, that’s what leaders do, we get on each other. We came back and we talk about it and then we come out like nothing ever happened.”
That didn’t help in the second half.
Durant made his first two field goals of the third quarter, but did not have another for the rest of the half.
Oklahoma City has yet to find a consistent third option on offense through two games. After combining to score just five points in the opener, fellow starters Nick Collison, Kendrick Perkins and Thabo Sefolosha had just four in Game 2.
Durant said he and Westbrook didn’t stop trusting their teammates, but during a 17-minute stretch spanning the second and third quarters, they took shots on 27 of 38 possessions.
Asked why, Durant said, “Because we’re the focal point of the offense.”
And the Spurs realize that, which is why, as a team, they have made them work hard for every point.
“Work, work for everything,” Duncan said of the Spurs’ defensive strategy. “Keep them off the free throw line, make their shots as tough as possible. Those guys are great scorers, we know that, but we want to make them score over a hand and work for everything they get.”
Duncan added 14 points and 12 rebounds, and Manu Ginobili and Boris Diaw had 11 points apiece off the bench.
Oklahoma City went scoreless for two minutes midway through the third quarter as San Antonio built a 76-50 lead on a pair of free throws by Duncan with 6:20 remaining.
It was a shocking turn for the Thunder, who started well after making some adjustments following a loss in the series opener.
Oklahoma City opened more aggressive on both ends, especially defensively. The physicality disrupted the Spurs early and frustrated them emotionally.
Duncan was issued a technical with about 5 minutes left in the first quarter after complaining when Ed Malloy ruled he threw a hip into Durant.
It turned out the Spurs veteran had little to worry about.
The Thunder have to find a lineup that works without Ibaka, but can take solace in knowing they have been in this position before.
“That’s all we can say,” Durant said. “We’ve really got to figure it out on how we need to get better, and we’ve always done that.”
Just not after such a decisive loss.