In these days, any win will do. However, the Oklahoma City Thunder found their way on the winning side with a 90-87 decision over San Antonio on Sunday night.
The win moves Oklahoma City to 10-12 on the year and have won back-to-back games for the first time since the Thunder won three straight over two weeks ago.
“A win is always great in this league,” Russell Westbrook said. “You don’t take anything for granted.”
Westbrook led the Thunder with 22 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists for his seventh triple-double of the season.
The Thunder had been struggling. Losers of five out of six before their mini-win spurt, the Thunder found themselves up by double digits at halftime and by as many as 14 in the second half. However, you know how the story goes. Boy loves a girl. Boy loses second half lead. However, instead of losing the girl to another person, the boy actually got the girl, despite acting like a complete imbecile in the final seconds.
Oklahoma City had their chance and it appeared they were going to roll finally. The Thunder led 90-82 off a Westbrook three-pointer with 3:34 remaining in the game.
The Thunder would not score again.
San Antonio rested everyone. That’s fine. We know this was coming and the Spurs were going to be tough for 3½ quarters. And they did. They fought hard and never quit. Even when Spurs coach Gregg Popovich decided to rest Pau Gasol and Patty Mills in the second half.
As the Thunder built their lead it was without Paul George. The former Indiana Pacer went a rare 2-of-17 from the floor. Foul trouble kept him out of rhythm all game long. George finished with eight points and eight rebounds. He did things on the defensive end but seemed out of sorts due to the fouling.
“It’s hard especially when the game is being called a certain way,” George said. “It is what it is.”
The Spurs made their run without Steven Adams on the floor. Adams, who finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Oklahoma City had an 11-point lead with 3:20 left in the third quarter. Adams wouldn’t return until the 6:04 mark in the fourth quarter. However, the damage had been done. The Spurs carved up a 1-point lead.
Adams would be yanked out again in the final minutes, leaving questionable choices on the decision making once again by Donovan. Adams would finished with only two points and in 13 minutes. Jerami Grant would play 10 minutes, mainly at the five-spot, allowed a lot of the comeback.
The Spurs fought back, cutting it to 90-87 with 1:59 remaining. Both teams decided not to score anymore. It wasn’t for a lack of trying. Both teams went 0-of-4 down the stretch with a fun bundle of turnovers.
The Thunder did their best to throw the game away as Westbrook, trapped on the center line, threw a errant pass near out of bounds, it was intercepted by the Spurs, dished up to Brandon Paul, who was left wide open to brick a three-pointer.
Oklahoma City fans held their breath as the Spurs were on the cusp of sending the reeling Thunder to overtime in front of another sold out Chesapeake Energy Arena.
The Thunder will return to the Peake on Tuesday for a fun showdown with divisional foe Utah to close out the three-game home stand.
Keys to the Game
The Thunder may have out rebounded the Spurs. However, the Spurs really made the Thunder pay for their offensive rebounds. San Antonio scored 18 points off eight offensive rebounds. The most important rebound came at the end as the Thunder rebounded Paul’s miss,ending any Spurs chance of a last second heroic shot.
Less is more: A+
Oklahoma City is now 5-0 this season when they hold their opponent under 90 points. The Spurs shot horribly across the board, 40 percent from the field, 28 percent from three. It’s what you want to see in a really stingy Thunder defense.
Get to the line: F
Okay, so I know it says get to the line. However, when you go 10-of-21 from the line, you get an F. If you cannot make your shots, why even go there? It was a disappointing and frankly, an embarrassing time at the line for the Thunder. Oklahoma City has to and must do better if they’re going to win more close games.We invite you to follow Thunder Digest on Twitter and like Thunder Digest on Facebook. Our Podcast is on iTunes. We also have a Thunder Digest Instagram account if you love fun Thunder photography!