Notebook: Thunder 100, Spurs 88



Posted Apr 5, 2013 1:21 AM

Randy Renner, for NBA.com

THE FACTS: The Oklahoma City Thunder moved to within a half game of first place in the Western Conference playoff race with a thrilling 100-88 win over the San Antonio Spurs at a sold-out and roaring Chesapeake Energy Arena. Thunder All-Stars Russell Westbrook (27) and Kevin Durant (25) combined for 52 points in OKC's 55th win of the season, tying the franchise's top win mark in the Oklahoma City era.

Tim Duncan and Kawhi Leonard each had 24 for the Spurs. Point guard Tony Parker struggled most of the night with soreness in his shins. He played only two minutes of the fourth quarter before being taken out of the game by Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich and finished with just two points on 1-for-6 shooting.

The Spurs (56-20) have one more win than Oklahoma City (55-20) but the teams are now tied in the all-important loss column and for the moment the Thunder own the tie-breaker.

Oklahoma City got a huge night from veteran guard Derek Fisher, who hit four 3-pointers in the first half and another in the second half to finish with 17 points on 6-for-8 shooting (5-for-7 on 3-pointers). The rest of the OKC bench managed just seven points, sixth man Kevin Martin had just two points on 1-for-6 shooting. Thabo Sefolosha and Serge Ibaka each had 11 for the Thunder and Ibaka added 11 rebounds and three blocks.

Westbrook had seven rebounds, seven assists and three steals to go along with his 27 points and Durant added nine rebounds, six assists and three blocks to his 25 points. But Durant also had turnover troubles, giving the ball back to San Antonio six times.

Besides Duncan and Leonard, the Spurs only had one other player in double figures, Gary Neal came off the bench to score 14.

Oklahoma City held the Spurs to just 39.8 percent shooting and outscored them 19-3 on the fast break.

QUOTABLE: "Guys have to step up, tonight it was Fish, he made plays and he made shots. He knows how to play, he knows where to be. You don't have to make every shot but you have to make plays."
-- Thunder head coach Scott Brooks

QUOTABLE II: "Oklahoma City played more aggressive than we did and more consistent than we did all night long. They did a great job. Everybody has problems during the season but to have Manu [Ginobili] and now Tony [Parker] go down this late in the season is tough. Tony just had to stop it's something with his shins."
-- Gregg Popovich

THE STAT: Fisher had scored a total of 13 points over his last nine games. Tonight he was 6-for-8 (17 points) off the OKC bench. The rest of the Thunder bench players were a combined 2-for-12 (seven points)

TURNING POINT: A Durant 3-pointer with 3:14 left in the game gave Oklahoma City the breathing room it needed. OKC led by just five points when Durant hit his shot, extending the lead to eight. The Thunder had led by as many as 20 points earlier in the game while going on runs of 23-5 and 15-2.

QUOTABLE III: "I just have to get healthy. I'm not going to talk about all my stuff, I've got a lot of stuff going on but I just have to get healthy. Like I said it's not an excuse and OKC, I give them a lot of credit they played great. Durant was great, Russell played great and they just beat us tonight."
-- Tony Parker

HOT: Thunder finished first quarter with an 8-0 run and shot 54.5 percent in the quarter...Duncan was 4-for-5 in the first quarter...Fisher hit his first four 3-point attempts and finished the half 4-for-5 (12 points).

NOT: San Antonio shot 38.9 percent (7-for-18) in first quarter...Westbrook was 4-for-11 (10 points) in the first half...Parker was 1-for-6 (two points) at halftime...San Antonio shot 38.9 percent in the fourth quarter...OKC hit just 35 percent.

INSIDE THE ARENA: The 104th consecutive sellout inside Chesapeake Energy Arena. Among those in the crowd Emmy Award winning actor William H. Macy,who is in Oklahoma City shooting a movie.

GOOD MOVE: Parker and Tiago Splitter had hurt the Thunder in earlier games this season so OKC worked on ways to slow them down during their extended practice time this past week. In the first half it worked well, Parker was 1-for-6 (two points) and Splitter was 0-for-2.

GOOD MOVE, TOO: The Spurs wanted to limit OKC's trips to the free throw line by defending well but not fouling. Mission accomplished in the first three quarters. The Thunder came in leading the NBA in average free throws made (22.8) and attempted (27.6) per game. Going into the fourth quarter OKC had attempted only seven free throws, making six. Oklahoma City finished 12-for-13 at the line, a little less than half their average.

NOTABLE: The Spurs were playing their fourth game in five nights while the Thunder were playing for the first time in five nights. Oklahoma City now controls its own destiny, win out and the Thunder have the top seed in the Western Conference playoffs.

UP NEXT: For the Spurs, Saturday vs. Atlanta, Wednesday @ Denver, Friday vs. Sacramento. For the Thunder, Friday @ Indiana, Sunday vs. New York, Tuesday @ Utah.