Strong to the finish

The Spurs, evidently sick of losing to the Thunder, kicked up the defense a notch and evened up the season series at 2-2 with a 99-89 win at the Ford Center, San Antonio’s 50th win, a figure they’ve reached every year since 1999-2000. The Spurs, trailing by seven after the first quarter, struggled to a one-point lead at the half, and gradually pulled away from Oklahoma City, executing with precision in the waning minutes while holding the Thunder to 17 fourth-quarter points.

Both Tim Duncan and Tony Parker recorded double-doubles, Duncan with 25 points and 15 boards, Parker with 21 points and 10 assists. Roger Mason filled the Manu Ginobili-sized hole nicely, logging 13 points; Drew Gooden got 20 from off the bench.

The lethargy the Thunder seemed to exhibit in the last two contests was less in evidence tonight: OKC shot a respectable 45.3 percent and nailed six of nine treys (three of them in a row in the first quarter). San Antonio outrebounded the Thunder, but only slightly: 43-42. But the Spurs blocked seven shots, Duncan knocking away three of them, and San Antonio committed only 13 fouls all night. The official Kevin Durant counter reads 24; Jeff Green had 16 points, Thabo Sefolosha 13, and Russell Westbrook 10 (with three steals).

Tomorrow night in Denver, and the Nuggets have won seven straight. This may not be pretty.

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