James Harden’s 3-point dagger wins Game 5 for the Thunder 108-103.
SAN ANTONIO – Game 5 of the Western Conference finals was a battle of the sixth man and the Oklahoma City Thunder’s James Harden won.
The stats sheet will show that the Spurs Manu Ginobili scored 34 points and that Harden scored 20. The difference between the two came down to win or lose and in the clutch moments of the game Harden made the shot that iced the game and Ginobili did not.
Kudos are due to Ginobili as he put the Spurs on his back in the second half of the game and single-handily put them in a position to win Game 5.
He was tough, unrelenting and focused. As mentioned, it came down to one critical shot.
The scene was that late in the fourth, the Thunder were up by double-digits and apparently cruising to a win.
Tim Duncan showed up and pushed out six points of an 11-0 run that helped the Spurs get back in position to win.
Then came “the shot.” If there is one moment that perhaps sealed this series, it will be the shot.
James Harden shook off rookie Kawhi Leonard with the shot clock simmering down to the final tick to throw up an improbable three-point gem.
Seconds later, it was Ginobili’s turn and with 4.9 seconds left, he missed a 3-pointer that could have sent the game into OT.
For Ginobili it was crushing and for the Spurs it was defining.
As he walked off the court Tim Duncan looked tired and ready to get this thing over with. After the game coach Greg Popovich acknowledged that if the Spurs don’t play with consistency in all phases of the game that “it’ll be over on Wednesday.”
The Thunder have been an impossible defeat on their home court and as Game 6 heads to their spot, hopefully they will remember that all it takes is one game and they are back in San Antonio again for a deciding Game 7.
Kevin Durant put up 27 points and Russell Westbrook double-doubled for the Thunder with 23 points and 12 rebounds.
Tim Duncan double-doubled with 18 points and 12 rebounds for the Spurs.