NBA Playoffs: Thunder edge Spurs to level series, James stars in Cavs’ 104-93 win over Hawks

The Oklahoma City Thunder bounced back from a comprehensive opening-game defeat by upstaging the San Antonio Spurs 98-97 in their NBA Western Conference semi-final.

After a humiliating 32-point defeat on Saturday, the Thunder regrouped to level the second-round series at 1-1.

The Thunder, though, had to withstand a wild ending in game two on Monday.

With only seconds remaining in San Antonio, the Spurs forced a turnover and Patty Mills had the chance to win the game but his shot missed the ring.

However, the Spurs were left aggrieved – with coach Gregg Popovich leading the protests – after they felt Dion Waiters committed an offensive foul on Manu Ginobili when the ball was out of bounds seconds earlier.

Russell Westbrook (29 points, 10 assists) and Steven Adams (12 points, 17 rebounds) both had double-doubles, as Kevin Durant scored 28 points.

LaMarcus Aldridge and his 41 points were not enough to lift the Spurs, who are on the road in Oklahoma City on Friday.

The Cleveland Cavaliers, meanwhile, opened their Eastern Conference semi-final with a 104-93 win over the Atlanta Hawks.

History was against the Hawks, who had a 0-8 record in post-season meetings with the top-seeded Cavaliers heading into Monday’s clash in Cleveland after being swept in last year’s conference finals.

The Hawks, though, did come to close to snapping that streak, overturning an 18-point deficit to hit the front in the fourth quarter.

But LeBron James produced when it mattered most, converting a three-point play with just over two minutes remaining and it proved to be enough as the Hawks were limited to just two field goals in the final four minutes.

James finished with 25 points and team-mate Kyrie Irving added 21 points for the Cavs, who swept the Detroit Pistons in the first round.

After outlasting the Boston Celtics, the Hawks were led by Dennis Schroder’s game-high 27 points on the road.

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