Sports

Spurs Strike First In West Finals, Win 19th Straight

Gary Neal #14, Tony Parker #9 and Manu Ginobili #20 of the San Antonio Spurs celebrate a play in the fourth quarter while taking on the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game One of the Western Conference Finals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center on May 27, 2012 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Gary Neal #14, Tony Parker #9 and Manu Ginobili #20 of the San Antonio Spurs celebrate a play in the fourth quarter while taking on the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game One of the Western Conference Finals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center on May 27, 2012 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

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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 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.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2012. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)