SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio Spurs are cruising toward a return to the NBA Finals, and Oklahoma City looks powerless to slow them down without Serge Ibaka.
Tony Parker scored 22 points, Danny Green made seven 3-pointers and added 21, and the Spurs used a dominant third quarter to decimate the Thunder 112-77 on Wednesday night and take a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference finals.
Tim Duncan added 14 points and 12 rebounds, and Manu Ginobili and Boris Diaw had 11 points apiece in San Antonio’s second straight rout.
“We just did our job. We won our first two games at home and I’m sure they’re going to go back and say we have to do our job and win two games at home,” Parker said, recalling that the Spurs blew a 2-0 lead against the Thunder in the 2012 West finals.
Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook each had 15 points, but the third-quarter barrage made spectators of both — not that they accomplished much when they did play. The star duo combined to shoot 13-for- 40, including 4-for-14 in the third quarter.
Game 3 is Sunday at Oklahoma City, and the Spurs are trying to remind themselves it probably won’t remain this easy.
“Manu said it’s a dangerous win but I believe in our group,” Green said. “I believe that we have the maturity, the character and the experience to stay focused and not take this win to head.”
Playing without the injured Ibaka and given two days to adjust to dropping Game 1 by 17 points, the Thunder performed worse.
San Antonio closed the first half on a 25-8 run, then Parker and Green each had eight points in the third quarter as The Spurs outscored Oklahoma City 33-18.
“If they had won this game by one point, we would still be down 0-2,” Durant said.
“(We) lost by a lot two games in a row. It’s hard for you to stay together, but we have a group of guys that are not front-runners and we’ll figure it out.”
It was a shocking turn for the Thunder, who started well.
“It definitely doesn’t feel good and it shouldn’t,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. “I hope our locker doesn’t feel good. You shouldn’t feel good. We got our butts kicked. But we have a good opportunity to come back and win Game 3.”
Oklahoma City opened more aggressive on both ends, especially defensively. The physicality disrupted the Spurs early and frustrated them emotionally.
Duncan was issued a technical with about 5 minutes left in the first quarter after complaining when Ed Malloy ruled he threw a hip into Durant.
T-Wolves want Joerger
With the Memphis Grizzlies front office in turmoil, the Minnesota Timberwolves are strongly considering hiring coach Dave Joerger away to take over the team in his home state.
The Timberwolves received permission from the Grizzlies to interview Joerger and will meet with him on Thursday, two people with knowledge of the situation said on Wednesday. The people requested anonymity because the Timberwolves are not commenting publicly on their coaching candidates, but all indications were that Joerger was in the driver’s seat to replace the retired Rick Adelman.
Joerger, who is from Staples, Minnesota, went to college at Division-II Minnesota State.