Notebook: Spurs 105, Thunder 93



Posted Mar 12, 2013 12:33 AM

By Tim Price, For NBA.com

THE FACTS: Fresh off a 30-point home-court loss and still without Tony Parker, the San Antonio Spurs managed to win a key Western Conference matchup between the top two seeds in a 105-93 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday at AT&T Center.

Tiago Splitter scored 21 points and had 10 rebounds and three other Spurs starters scored in double figures (Kawhi Leonard had 17, Danny Green 16 and Tim Duncan 13). The Spurs (49-15) shot 52 percent from the floor and limited Oklahoma City to 43 percent (San Antonio allowed 61-percent shooting to Portland in the Trail Blazers' 136-106 win at San Antonio on Friday).

Kevin Durant scored 26 points for the Thunder (47-17), but it was almost like 10 of those came in garbage time in the fourth quarter when San Antonio led by as much as 18 points. Russell Westbrook added 25 points, but he shot 11-for-27.

QUOTABLE: "The defense in the first quarter looked like a continuation of the Portland game. In the second quarter, we held them to 18 points. We took a little more pride in it and the team 'D' was better. It's always about defense."

-- Spurs coach Gregg Popovich

THE STAT: Not only did it take Westbrook 27 shots from the floor to score 25 points, the swing in his assists from the first quarter to the end of the game changed things greatly. He had five assists in the first quarter and the Thunder led 32-22. But he had just one assist the rest of the way, and OKC was outscored 83-61.

TURNING POINT: After OKC had that 10-point lead after the first quarter, the Spurs shot 68 percent in the second quarter and outscored OKC 35-18. In the second quarter, Durant played the entire 12 minutes, but took only three shots from the floor and did not make it to the foul line. On the other hand, Westbrook and Kendrick Perkins each got off four shots (and combined to go 3-for-8). The Spurs led at halftime 57-50. The Thunder cut the Spurs led to 71-70 with less than three minutes left in the third after Westbrook hit his first six shots from the floor. Yet, Durant wasn't firing on all cylinders -- in fact he misfired badly with four turnovers and 1-for-4 from the floor. Westbrook missed both of his shots the rest of the quarter and San Antonio closed out the third by outscoring Oklahoma City 12-4 and soon led by double digits the rest of the game.

QUOTABLE II: "I can do whatever I want on offense. I can come down and take 30 shots, but that is not the right brand of basketball for me. I was trying to make the right basketball play. I was picking and choosing my shots. I trust my teammates."

-- Kevin Durant

HOT: Splitter went 9-for-11 tonight -- most off pick-and-roll dives to the basket but also on some low-post moves -- and he is 18-for-24 (75 percent) his last three games.

NOT: Westbrook has gotten off more than 20 shots from the floor in two of the past four games. In those games he's 19-for-49 (almost 39 percent).

FANTASY SPOTLIGHT: Splitter has double-double games in two of the last three, and three of the last five.

GOOD MOVE: There was no Parker to keep Westbrook occupied, so Popovich's first substitution that affected Westbrook came when Gary Neal was sent out to play point. Neal's outside shooting ability and overall court sense (he led the Spurs with six assists) during the second quarter forced Westbrook to give more attention to the defensive end, and Westbrook went 1-for-4 and missed his only foul shot and had a turnover but no assists.

BAD MOVE: There's plenty of time left to judge the trade that sent James Harden to Houston for Kevin Martin. But this was not a game-breaker night for Martin. He was 3-for-8 and had nine points.

ROOKIE WATCH: Nando De Colo of the Spurs did not enter the game for San Antonio. He hasn't played as many as 15 minutes in any of the games at point guard since Parker was injured, and the last three has totaled less than six minutes.

NOTABLE: The Spurs have the inside track on the No. 1 seed in the West after this one. They're up two games on OKC, but it's really three because they have a 2-1 advantage in the season series to top the tiebreaker. There are 18 games left for each team, and the Spurs have 11 of them at home compared to nine at home for the Thunder. ... OKC turned the ball over 19 times that led to 25 points for San Antonio compared to 12 turnovers for San Antonio leading to 14 OKC points. ... OKC had gone 18-straight games with their opponents shooting less than 50 percent until the Spurs shot 52 percent tonight.

UP NEXT: For the Thunder, Wednesday vs. Utah, Friday vs. Orlando, Sunday @ Dallas. For the Spurs, Tuesday @ Minnesota, Thursday vs. Dallas, Saturday vs. Cleveland.