Posted May 27, 2012 on AP on Fox
Manu Ginobili scored 26 points and the San Antonio Spurs won their 19th in a row to tie the NBA record for longest winning streak kept alive in the playoffs, beating the Oklahoma City Thunder 101-98 to open the Western Conference finals on Sunday night. Obeying orders snarled by coach Gregg Popovich in a fourth-quarter timeout to play ''nasty,'' the Spurs erased a nine-point deficit that stunned the Thunder, who had looked on their way to finally kicking the perception that they're the underdog. Kevin Durant led the Thunder with 27 points. Russell Westbrook had 17. The 2001 Lakers are the only other team to carry a winning streak this long in the playoffs - and they did so on their way to a championship. Game 2 is Tuesday night. The Spurs matched the fourth-longest streak in NBA history, and with one more will become just the fourth team to surpass 20. Tim Duncan had 16 points and 11 rebounds, and Tony Parker shook off a dismal start to finish with 18 points. But it was Ginobili who steered the Spurs to strike first in a highly anticipated matchup of the West's top two teams for practically the entire regular season. ''They got us on our heels. We were not aggressive,'' Ginobili said. ''And in the second half, we did have it.'' On the other end, Oklahoma City's own Big Three struggled to find its shot early before awakening in the second half. Yet Westbrook still finished just 6 of 15 and took a nasty, face-first spill late in the fourth that had the entire Thunder bench crossing the court to check on their All-Star point guard underneath the opposite basket. Westbrook appeared to favor his left leg when he got up, but he never left the game. It was a tantalizingly close near-upset for the young Thunder, who were ousted in the Western Conference finals a year ago and were in position for home-court advantage throughout the playoffs until being overtaken by the Spurs in the final month of the season. But it was a fittingly close opener for two franchises with so many similarities. That includes Thunder general manager Sam Presti - the architect of the Thunder's rapid turnaround from a 23-win season to consecutive Western Conference finals in just four years - getting his big break in the NBA as intern in San Antonio. And the Thunder didn't even need their own Big Three to keep things close. Durant, Westbrook and Harden at one point through the second quarter were 5 of 21 - a typically ominous stat line for a trio that had been responsible for nearly 70 percent of Oklahoma City's points through the playoffs so far. But for all the talk about San Antonio's superior bench, it was the Thunder's reserves who picked up the slack. None more so than Derek Fisher, whose famous game-winner for the Lakers on this same court in the 2004 playoffs has made ''0.4 seconds'' a phrase that needs no further explanation to the Spurs. Eight years later, and the oldest player in this series at 37, Fisher already met his playoff average at halftime and finished with 13 points. Gary Neal added 12 points and was the only other Spurs player in double figures.

Manu Ginobili helps San Antonio Spurs edge Thunder

SAN ANTONIO – Manu Ginobili has to play a key role in every contest if the Spurs are to win this series against the Oklahoma City Thunder. To read this story and watch post game footage please click the link below.

Manu Ginobili and James Harden somehow both managed to flop at the same time

Late in the 4th quarter of Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals, Tim Duncan came to the top of the key to set a screen on OKC’s James Harden for Manu Ginobili. Instead of taking the screen, Ginobili decides to flop. And not to be outdone, Harden decides to flop as well. So what we ended up with was Ginobili and Harden both on the ground after flopping at the same time. Jeff...

Manu Ginobili andJames Harden’s Double Flop

  It isn’t a playoff game unless there is a flop, but to see an amazing double flop is a must see. That’s exactly what happened in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals between San Antonio and Oklahoma City as Harden and Ginobili collided. Manu and the Spurs had the last laugh as they [...]

Manu Ginobili’s buzzer-beater at the end of 1st quarter

  Manu Ginobili, has had a quiet playoff series thus far, but what better game to have a coming out party than Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals between the Spurs and the Thunder. Manu, back. H/T CBSSports

Manu Ginobili and James Harden both flop on same play (Video)

Manu Ginobili already has a reputation for being a well known flopper. James Harden is an emerging flop artist. So when the two collided in the fourth quarter of Game 1 between the Spurs and Thunder on Sunday night, they both went down as if a grenade had gone off in the area. Ginobili got the foul call, so I guess his veteran reputation helped in the situation. He also was the...

Spurs strike first in West finals, win 19th in row

SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- Manu Ginobili scored 26 points and the San Antonio Spurs won their 19th in a row to tie the NBA record for longest winning streak kept alive in the playoffs, beating the Oklahoma City Thunder 101-98 to open the Western Conference finals on Sunday night. Obeying orders snarled by coach Gregg Popovich in a fourth-quarter timeout to play "nasty," the Spurs...

Video: Ginobili-Harden Double Flop

The San Antonio Spurs took a one game lead over the Oklahoma City Thunder Sunday night with a 101-98 victory in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals.   Manu Ginobili was sensational for the Spurs with a team high 26 points.  At one point during the game Ginobili found himself trying to out flop Thunders' James Harden.  Check out the double flop video:

0% chance for Thunder in San Antonio; Spurs are victors in Game 1

  There was 0% chance for Thunder in San Antonio, as the Spurs — led by Manu Ginobili – took away Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals. The Spurs would claim their 19th consecutive win leading into the playoffs tying with the 2001 Los Angeles Lakers, but at one point it seemed like the Thunder [...]

Ginobili, Spurs start sloppy, finish strong to defeat Thunder

“It was a very rusty game,” said San Antonio Spurs’ Tim Duncan (16 points) after his team defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder 101-98 on Sunday evening, “I didn’t feel like I had a rhythm.” “A week off,” Spurs shooting guard Gary Neal (12 points) said wasn’t the entire reason the Spurs struggled in the first three quarters, as they turned the ball over, and even...

Kevin Durant still looking for the ball after this Manu Ginobili fake out

Spurs Manu Ginobili ball faked the Thunders Kevin Durant out of his shorts yesterday in game 1 of the Western Conference Finals. Every time you check twitter or facebook, think -- gotta check... Full story at Bob's Blitz ~

Ginobili's Turn

By Jerome Watson After watching his Spurs get out-hustled and out-played in the series versus Memphis a year ago, Gregg Popovich knew he needed all of his players at their best when it mattered. More importantly than improving the overall depth of the team, more importantly than infusing youth into the group, Popovich knew in order to make another serious run at the title he...

Spurs, Thunder ready to rumble for West title

SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- Maybe they'll finally get a challenge this time. The San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder have simply rolled through this postseason. There's the 18-game winning streak that has the Spurs flirting with history. Seventeen combined playoff games and just one loss. The Thunder sending home the last two NBA champions, and no other playoff teams besides...
NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.