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Thunder Outlasts San Antonio To Take Series Lead

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Oklahoma City led big in the second half, but had to hold off a late push from the San Antonio Spurs to come away with a win (AP Photo). Oklahoma City led big in the second half, but had to hold off a late push from the San Antonio Spurs to come away with a win (AP Photo).

Oklahoma City got big performances from its stars in the second half to hold off the San Antonio Spurs 108-103 in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals, taking a 3-2 lead in the series.

The Thunder held a 44-52 lead to open the second half, but San Antonio opened the half on a massive run, outscoring Oklahoma City 23-9 in the opening seven of the quarter to take a 67-61 advantage. Kevin Durant scored a quick five points, cutting the lead back to just one. Oklahoma City would retake the lead one minute later on a pair of Kendrick Perkins free throws.

San Antonio retook the lead on a set from the charity stripe from Gary Neal, but that's when Oklahoma City took over to close the quarter. The Thunder closed out on an 11-1 run, including a buzzer-beating jumper from Durant, to head into the fourth quarter with an 81-72 lead.

Oklahoma City managed to stay in front through the furious opening minutes of the fourth quarter, holding a 95-85 advantage with 6:22 left to play. Tim Duncan converted on a three-point play on the Spurs' next possession, but the Thunder snapped off a quick six points, including a rare four-point play from James Harden, to push its advantage to 100-88 with five minutes left to play.

However, San Antonio proved why it was one of the best teams in the league all season and came roaring back late.

Sparked by a 3-pointer from Stephen Jackson, San Antonio scored 11 unanswered points to close the gap to 101-99 with 1:54 left on the clock. Russell Westbrook stopped the bleeding with a 17-foot jumper, but Duncan hit a seven-footer with just 50 seconds left to play to close it back to two points.

On Oklahoma City's next possession, Harden came up big again, hitting yet another three-pointer to take a 106-101 lead with 28 second left to play.

Manu Ginobli converted on a layup to close the gap back to one possession, and Thabo Sefolosha had trouble on the in-bound bass turning the ball over. However, Ginboli was unable to hit on a go-ahead three-pointer. San Antonio came up with the rebound , but an offensive foul was called on Tony Parker, giving the ball back to Oklahoma City.

Durant was fouled on the inbound pass, hitting both free throws, closing out the win. He finished with a team-high 27 points on a 10-of-19 shooting performance on the night. Westbrook was dynamic for Oklahoma City, finishing with a 20-point, 12 assist double-double, while Harden scored 20 points in 35 minutes off of the bench.

Ginobli finished with a game-high 24 points in a rare start, but turned the ball over five times, as Parker struggled as well, scoring 20 points on a five-of-14 shooting performance, with five turnovers as well.

Oklahoma City is now one win away from playing in its first NBA Finals as the Thunder, and will try to close out the Spurs at 8 p.m. Wednesday.

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