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OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - MAY 21: Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder reacts after scoring while fouled against the Los Angeles Lakers during Game Five of the Western Conference Semifinals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs at Chesapeake Energy Arena on May 21, 2012 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Tuesday, May 22 at 9:10 AM
After completing a sweep of the Los Angeles Clippers in the Western Conference semifinals Sunday night, the Spurs didn't have to wait long to find out who they will play in the third round of the NBA playoffs.
The Oklahoma City Thunder rolled to a 106-90 victory against the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday night, ending their series in five games and earning a spot in the Western Conference finals against the streaking Spurs.
Game 1 of the best-of-7 series is at 7:30 p.m. Sunday at the AT&T Center.
Game 2, also at the AT&T Center, tips off at 8 p.m. Tuesday, May 29.
Moments after the Thunder ousted the Lakers, the pundits on TNT's "Inside the NBA" show started touting the Oklahoma City-San Antonio matchup, saying it has the potential to be a classic series.
"It's going to be a mental challenge for us," said Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook, who led Oklahoma City with 28 points in the series clincher against the Lakers. "They haven't lost in a while and we've got to be prepared to play."
The Spurs haven't lost since April 11, when they fell to the Lakers 98-84 at the AT&T Center.
The Western Conference finals will feature the Spurs' Big Three – Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili – against the Thunder's talented trio of Westbrook, Kevin Durant and James Harden. Durant had 25 points and 10 rebounds against the Lakers on Monday night.
"Myself, Kevin and James, we have to step it up mentally to carry our team to the finals," Westbrook said.
Ginobili didn't play against Thunder during regular season
The Spurs went 2-1 against the Thunder during the lockout-shortened regular season.
Oklahoma City won the first meeting, 108-96 on Jan. 8 at Chesapeake Energy Arena, but the Spurs came back to take the season series with a 107-96 victory Feb. 4 at the AT&T Center and a 114-105 road win March 16.
Parker was outstanding in the teams' second meeting, scoring a season-high 42 points and dishing out nine assists. Parker, who also had three rebounds and two steals, hit 16 of 29 field-goal attempts and was 10 of 12 from the free-throw line.
Westbrook and Durant led the Thunder with 38 and 25 points, respectively, in the Thunder's 114-105 loss, but it wasn't enough to offset the double-figure scoring by every Spurs starter. Parker paced San Antonio with 25 points, followed by DeJuan Blair (22), Danny Green (21), Duncan (16) and Kawhi Leonard (15).
Ginobili did not play in any of the games against the Thunder because he was sidelined with injuries.
The Spurs and the Thunder entered the playoffs as the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds, respectively, in the Western Conference.
San Antonio, which finished the regular season 50-16 and tied the Chicago Bulls for the best record in the league, has won a franchise-record 18 consecutive games. The Spurs are in the West finals for the first time since 2008, when their bid for back-to-back NBA championships was ended by the Lakers.
Formerly the Seattle SuperSonics, the Thunder moved to Oklahoma City in 2008. The Dallas Mavericks beat the Thunder in last year's West finals, taking the series in five games and going on to beat Miami for their first NBA championship.
Spurs vs. Thunder schedule
Western Conference finals
Game 1: at San Antonio, Sunday, 7:30 p.m.
Game 2: at San Antonio, Tuesday, May 29, 8 p.m.
Game 3: at Oklahoma City, Thursday, May 31, 8 p.m.
Game 4: at Oklahoma City, Saturday, June 2, 7:30 p.m.
*Game 5: at San Antonio, Monday, June 4, 8 p.m.
*Game 6: at Oklahoma City, Wednesday, June 6, 8 p.m.
*Game 7: at San Antonio, Friday, June 8, 8 p.m.
All times Central
* If necessary