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Durant's late burst gets Thunder even

Kevin Durant, shooting over the Spurs’ DeJuan Blair, goes on a scoring run to finish with  36 points and the Thunder ties the Western Conference final at 2 with a 109-103 victory.

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Kevin Durant, shooting over the Spurs’ DeJuan Blair, goes on a scoring run to finish with 36 points and the Thunder ties the Western Conference final at 2 with a 109-103 victory.

OKLAHOMA CITY — Kevin Durant scored 18 of his 36 in a scintillating final seven minutes, Serge Ibaka added a career-high 26 and the Thunder evened the Western Conference finals at two games apiece, beating the Spurs 109-103 Saturday night.

After seeing his team's 15-point lead dwindle to four, Durant took over midway through the fourth quarter by scoring all 16 of the Thunder's points during a span of just more than five minutes.

"I didn't tell myself that I need to go score because what we were doing was working," Durant said. "We were passing the ball and guys were making shots. … I just wanted to stick with what we were doing, but it started to open up for me, and I could see some lanes that gave me some opportunities to make some shots."

With teammate Russell Westbrook limited to seven points, Durant did almost all of the damage late to send the series back to Texas on Monday.

The three-time scoring champion hit three straight jumpers, the last one coming after he bumped into Tony Parker to draw a foul and set up a three-point play. Then he attacked the rim for his next three baskets, getting to the line again when he was fouled on a layup off James Harden's alley-oop.

Durant hit another jumper after coming off a Westbrook screen for the last basket in his personal run — and the Spurs were still within striking distance. Rookie Kawhi Leonard bracketed a pair of 3-pointers around that Durant jumper, and the Spurs were only down 102-96 with 1:24 left.

The Spurs succeeded in getting the ball out of Durant's hands on the next possession, only for him to provide the assist on Harden's 3-pointer that bumped the lead to nine.

"When a player that talented gets hot, it's really hard to contain," San Antonio's Manu Ginobili said. "When we tried to blitz or really help, he kicked it and they made big shots."

Tim Duncan had 21 points for San Antonio, which had won 20 in a row before losing Game 3.

SAN ANTONIO (103): Leonard 7-8 0-0 17, Duncan 9-17 3-7 21, Diaw 5-11 0-0 12, Parker 5-15 2-2 12, Green 3-9 0-0 7, Ginobili 4-7 3-3 13, S.Jackson 4-6 1-1 11, Bonner 0-1 0-0 0, Splitter 0-1 0-2 0, Neal 3-5 1-1 8, Blair 1-2 0-0 2, Mills 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 41-82 10-16 103.

OKLAHOMA CITY (109): Durant 13-20 9-9 36, Ibaka 11-11 4-4 26, Perkins 7-9 1-2 15, Westbrook 2-10 1-4 7, Sefolosha 3-6 0-0 6, Collison 4-5 0-0 8, Harden 4-13 1-2 11, Fisher 0-4 0-0 0. Totals 44-78 16-21 109.

San Antonio 26 17 28 32— 103

Oklahoma City 26 29 20 34— 109

3-Point GoalsSan Antonio 11-23 (Leonard 3-4, S.Jackson 2-3, Ginobili 2-3, Diaw 2-4, Neal 1-2, Green 1-6, Parker 0-1), Okl.City 5-13 (Westbrook 2-3, Harden 2-3, Durant 1-2, Sefolosha 0-2, Fisher 0-3). Fouled OutGinobili, S.Jackson. ReboundsSan Antonio 39 (Leonard 9), Okl.City 47 (Perkins 9). AssistsSan Antonio 17 (Parker, Ginobili 4), Okl.City 27 (Durant 8). Total FoulsSan Antonio 20, Okl.City 15. A18,203.

Wade searches for effective counter

BOSTON — Everywhere Dwyane Wade turned, two Celtics seemed to be waiting.

And as long as Chris Bosh is out, he understands it's probably going to stay that way. The Celtics can double-team him without fear, knowing LeBron James is the only other Miami player who can consistently hurt them.

Wade scored only 18 Friday in the Heat's 101-91 loss in Game 3, ending his streak of 12 20-point playoff games against Boston.

Wade knows Bosh won't be back from his abdominal strain today in Game 4, so the scheme probably won't change. But he vows that his performance will.

"I'm not coming here crying," he said Saturday. "I can score the basketball, I've just got to find other ways to do that. It might not be a 41-point effort like it was in Indiana, you never know what each game takes, but I'm just going to go out here and play the game that I played for so many years, and I will find a way to be effective."

Wade shot 9-for-20 in his second-lowest scoring performance of this postseason, after a five-point effort in Game 3 against Indiana. He was struggling with knee pain then.

The only problem now, he said, was the two defenders closing on him whenever he came off a pick or caught the ball anywhere near the lane.

Wade didn't attempt a free throw for the first time in a playoff game since 2004, when he was a rookie, and he managed just six points on 3-for-9 shooting in the first half.

"Points in the paint, they pounded us. Rebounding, they pounded us. Free throws, they beat us," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.

East final

Heat 2, Celtics 1

Game 1: Heat 93, Celtics 79

Game 2: Heat 115, Celtics 111 OT

Game 3: Celtics 101, Heat 91

Tonight: at Boston, 8:30, ESPN

Tuesday: at Miami, 8:30, ESPN

Thursday: at Boston, 8:30, ESPN *

June 9: at Miami, 8:30, ESPN *

West final

Spurs 2, Thunder 2

Game 1: Spurs 101, Thunder 98

Game 2: Spurs 120, Thunder 111

Game 3: Thunder 102, Spurs 82

Sat.: Thunder 109, Spurs 103

Monday: at San Antonio, 9, TNT

Wed.: at Oklahoma City, 9, TNT

Friday: at San Antonio, 9, TNT *

* If necessary

Durant's late burst gets Thunder even 06/03/12 [Last modified: Sunday, June 3, 2012 1:32am]

    

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