Billy Donovan.

Oklahoma City Thunder head coach Billy Donovan refuses to blame turnovers for loss

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The Oklahoma City Thunder lost what could turn out to be a crucial game three in their Western Conference semi-final series with the San Antonio Spurs on Friday night as their turnover problems hurt them at the worst possible time.

They turned the ball over 14 times in the 100-96 loss as the Spurs grabbed a vital road win to take a 2-1 lead. Their fourth-quarter turnovers proved to be a serious issue as Gregg Popovich's team closed out the game.

The Thunder have struggled with turnovers all season and the superstar duo of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook were guilty of giving the ball away five times apiece.

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While head coach Billy Donovan admitted it was an issue, he refused to go as far as saying it cost Oklahoma City the game.

In his post-game press conference, Donovan said: "Those definitely hurt us in that situation. It gave them some run outs, allowed them to score.

"With all that being said, we fought our way back into the game and, equally as difficult, not only was the turnovers, but we gave up an offensive rebound in a crucial situation as well.

"Give them credit, they made some free throws down the stretch, I thought our guys fought to get themselves back in the game down six but no question turnovers, them going to the free throw line, I thought we had some stuff around the basket that we weren't able to finish.

"There was a lot of play that you could look at besides the turnovers."

There was a dejected feeling around the Chesapeake Energy Arena after the final buzzer. Having worked so hard to leave San Antonio at 1-1, their efforts were undone by sacrificing the opening encounter of their two-game home stretch.

The Thunder will have to come out fighting in the fourth instalment and anything but a win could spell the end of their playoff hopes for another season.

Westbrook will be looking to have a much more productive shooting night the next time the two franchises lock horns. He took an incredible 31 shots during the loss but was only able to connect with ten field goal attempts as he finished the game win 31 points.

Western Conference
Oklahoma City Thunder
Northwest Division
Russell Westbrook
Kevin Durant

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