Kevin Durant scored 18 points in the fourth quarter of Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals against the San Antonio Spurs to help the Thunder even the series at 2-2 with a 109-103 win.
Durant had scored 18 points in the first three quarters for Oklahoma City and then completely took over in the fourth scoring 16-straight points for the Thunder in one stretch.
Durant had only scored 10 points in the fourth quarters of Games 1-3 combined heading into Game 4 and was just 1-for-5 from the field as well.
The Thunder found something that worked and they went to it the rest of the game. Scott Brooks will do this a lot in the fourth quarters of games.
Brooks did this with James Harden in the fourth quarter of Game 4 vs. the Mavericks in the first round. He did it with the Russell Westbrook and Durant pick-and-roll back in January against the Warriors too.
The Thunder ran the same exact play on 10-consecutive half court possessions in the fourth quarter beginning at the 7:25 mark with the Thunder ahead 86-80 and ending with 1:04 left and the Thunder leading 105-96.
It’s a simple play that the Thunder have run many times before and is very effective because it involves Durant, Westbrook and Harden.
Westbrook brings the ball up and waits for Harden to come off two screens on the baseline and pop out to the left wing. After Westbrook passes to Harden, he goes and sets a downscreen on Durant’s man on the right block. Durant then pops up to the top of the key and Westbrook flattens out to the right corner.
The play worked against the Spurs last night in every way possible. When Durant got the ball at the top of the key, he scored nearly every time in an isolation situation. When the Spurs switched the screen and had Tony Parker or Manu Ginobili on Durant, he took advantage and scored going to the rim.
The Thunder even got Harden two wide open 3-point looks from the set when Kendrick Perkins would come up to set a back pick on Harden’s man after Durant made the catch.
This set is nothing special for the Thunder but you don’t have to be special with your play-calling with the Thunder. It works because it spaces the floor nicely and puts Durant in an area where he is very comfortable going to work.
The Thunder hadn’t found a go-to play yet against the Spurs in fourth quarters. They had go-to plays against the Mavericks and Lakers and now look to have found something for San Antonio.
With the series headed back to San Antonio for Game 5 Monday night, the Thunder can expect a much tougher effort from the Spurs than they saw in Oklahoma City. Role players aren’t as good on the road so more of the burden will lie with Durant.
Durant is ready for this though especially after his 18-point fourth quarter in Game 4.