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Spurs 105, Thunder 93

The SportsXchange

SAN ANTONIO -- Tiago Splitter had 21 points and 10 rebounds to lead the San Antonio Spurs to a 105-93 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday night at the AT&T Center.

Splitter went 9-for-11 from the field and 3-for-5 from the free-throw line in the highly anticipated matchup between the two best teams in the Western Conference.

The Spurs (49-15) had five other players score in double figures. Kawhi Leonard had 17 points, Danny Green 16, Tim Duncan 13, Manu Ginobili 12 and Boris Diaw 11.

Kevin Durant, the NBA's scoring leader at 28.4 points per game, scored 26 for the Thunder (47-17). Russell Westbrook added 25 points, and Serge Ibaka had 13 points and 16 rebounds.

The Spurs appeared headed for a landslide loss when they trailed by 13 points in the first quarter. They bounced back and ended the second quarter on a 26-8 run, finishing with two Ginobili free throws with five seconds left, putting San Antonio in front 57-50 at halftime.

San Antonio hit four of five 3-pointers and shot 68 percent from the field in the second quarter to get back in the game.

Leonard led the Spurs first-half scoring, collecting nine of his 11 first-half points in the final four minutes.

San Antonio kept the pressure on the Thunder in the second half. The Spurs wound up forcing 19 turnovers that they turned into 25 points.

The Spurs held the Thunder to 4-of-20 shooting in the fourth quarter. San Antonio led by as much as 18 points in the final period.

San Antonio continued to roll with All-Star point guard Tony Parker sidelined due to a Grade 2 sprain of his left ankle. Without Parker, the Spurs have gone 4-1, but they endured a 136-106 thrashing by the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday. It was the worst loss in the 15-year Duncan era.

Oklahoma City had won its previous five games. The Thunder ousted the Spurs 4-2 in the conference finals last year, but that was when they had James Hardin, who was traded to the Houston Rockets in the offseason.

NOTES: The Thunder, who defeated the Boston Celtics 91-79 on Sunday, and have played 11 sets of back-to-back games this season. ... The Spurs and Thunder met for the third time this season. San Antonio won 86-84 at home on Nov. 1, and Oklahoma City prevailed 107-93 at home on Dec. 17. ... Oklahoma City has modeled its franchise after San Antonio, and the person who orchestrates the personnel moves is Thunder GM Sam Presti. He worked in the Spurs front office from 2000-2007. ... San Antonio is the only NBA franchise to have a winning percentage of .500 or better in the regular season against each of the other 29 NBA teams. ... Gold medal sprinter Sanya Richards-Ross and her husband, two-time Super Bowl winner Aaron Ross, were seated in the front row. Both are University of Texas alums.
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