Game Recap

7 Rebounds for Nick Collison on the night in 17 minutes of play, including three offensive boards

9 Blocked shots for the Thunder on the night, all by the starters

11 Steals for the Thunder, four of which came from Thabo Sefolosha

13  Points for Derek Fisher, coming off 6-for-8 shooting

17-8 The Thunder’s advantage in Fast Break Points

19-for-23  Free throw shooting numbers for the Thunder on the night, including 11-for-12 from Kevin Durant

27 Points for Kevin Durant on the night, on 8-for-19 shooting, in addition to 10 rebounds and four assists

53-38 Points advantage for the Thunder during the second and third quarters

        
GAME IN REVIEW


RECAP:
The Thunder built a nine point lead heading into the fourth quarter at the AT and T Center in San Antonio, but the Spurs rallied back in the fourth quarter with a 30-11 run in which the Thunder was held to only two made field goals during a ten minute stretch. Stifling defense was played on both sides of the ball, but the Spurs made a few extra plays late to give them a 101-98 victory in Game 1. Thunder Head Coach Scott Brooks said that it’s just the first game of what looks to be a long series, and his team will keep its heads up.

"I thought it was a hard-fought ball game, nothing to be ashamed of," Brooks said. "I thought our guys competed. I thought both teams played as hard as they can. We knew that going into the game, both teams were going to play with a lot of energy and effort."

For most of the game the Thunder seemed to have an answer defensively, outscoring the Spurs by 15 during the second and third quarters while forcing missed three pointers and 14 first half turnovers. The length and help defense from the Thunder resulted in 11 steals and nine blocked shots, and 19 points off turnovers for the Thunder. Whether it was Thabo Sefolosha getting in the passing lanes, Kevin Durant keeping his hands up for loose balls or Russell Westbrook’s tough defense to keep Tony Parker out of the lane, the Thunder scrapped and clawed on the defensive end for most of the night.

"We did a great job of helping each other out," Westbrook said. "Everybody was in the right spots. Everybody rebounded the ball well and it got us opportunities to get out in transition."

In particular, the energy from Sefolosha, Nick Collison and Derek Fisher was obvious from the get-go. Sefolosha had four steals in the first half and Collison reeled in seven rebounds on the night, including two offensive boards and a defensive tip-out in his first 1:20 of action. Meanwhile, Fisher knocked down his first six shots on his way to 13 much-needed points. The bench was led by James Harden’s 19 points, but the unit as a whole played with a ton of effort.

"We just have to bounce back and be ready," Harden said. "Everybody, I think those three guys really stepped up and Perk guarded Duncan very well. Serge, I think, down the line, we all played hard."

The Thunder sets out to win every game, every night, but as Brooks said, being down 1-0 to the Spurs after a hard-fought game on the road is nothing to shake their heads at. Harden and Durant pointed out that the Thunder has to move on to the next one, because Tuesday night’s Game 2 will be here soon enough. With a practice tomorrow, Brooks said the Thunder has a few things it wants to work on in order to play better the rest of the series.

"Both teams are going to continue to play hard," Brooks said. "In the fourth quarter our offense got a little stagnant. We were trying too much one-on-one. Those are things we need to look at tomorrow as a group and try to get better from it."

Turning Point The Thunder had built a nine point lead heading into the fourth quarter, and with 11:12 remaining in the game, it held a 73-64 advantage. Unfortunately, the Spurs embarked on an 18-3 run that turned into an 82-76 Spurs lead with 5:05 remaining. The Spurs would eventually run that lead up to 94-84, completing a 30-11 burst. Whether it was a layup from Tiago Splitter, jumpers from Gary Neal and Tony Parker or drives from Manu Ginobili, the Spurs offense was lively while the Thunder’s struggled to score. The run was capped by a Neal three-pointer.

Plays the box score won’t show, first half Good pick-and-roll defense by Kendrick Perkins and Russell Westbrook to force a miss, then Kevin Durant drives and dishes to Thabo Sefolosha for a corner three pointer… Sefolosha and Durant combine for a steal which leads to a Durant lefty layup… Serge Ibaka makes a block to regain possession then Sefolosha hustles to track down an offensive rebound… Good anticipation and staying in the passing lanes as Durant makes a steal leading to a give-and-go layup, then Ibaka makes an extra effort on the offensive boards to get two big free throws… Incredible athleticism from Westbrook to block a Tony Parker shot and run the ball all the way down floor for a layup… Nice rotating helpside defense on the pick-and-roll, leading to a Perkins steal and pitch ahead to Sefolosha for a dunk… Great work by Nick Collison to tip a defensive rebound to Durant, then grab two consecutive offensive rebounds… James Harden and Collison hustle back on defense to prevent a transition scoring opportunity, then Westbrook sticks with it and gets his own offensive rebound to draw the foul… Durant uses his length to block a shot then Collison rises up for a follow home slam… Marvelous job by Durant to make a steal in transition defense… Harden drives and dishes to Derek Fisher for a jumper, then Fisher hits Sefolosha for a short corner jumper… Great work by Collison to screen for Harden for a three pointer, then Collison snags a defensive board… Nice hustle by Daequan Cook to run in on a missed free throw, then solid defense for an entire possession by the Thunder to force a turnover… Harden hustles to snag an offensive rebound… Big jumper again from Fisher out of a timeout, then Collison and Fisher hustle to get a loose ball that leads to a Westbrook jumper… Nice dish out of a post-up by Westbrook to Collison for a jumper, then Sefolohsa’s length bothers Manu Ginobili into a miss… Great hands by Durant to strip a ball low and knock it off the Spurs, then Fisher knocks down another bucket off a drive-and-dish from Westbrook… Durant hits a leaner off the drive, then Westbrook hits a jumper of his own… Westbrook tracks down a loose ball after a Perkins steal, then Harden hustles for an offensive board… Good patience from Durant to wait out a double team to hut a fall away jumper… Serge with good energy on the offensive boards to get it back out to Westbrook for a jumper, then a tough defensive possession ends in a Durant rebound… Ibaka’s effort continues as he slaps a ball away then gets an offensive rebound and swats a shot into the second row… Durant and Sefolosha finish out the possession by forcing a 24-second violation, then Durant posts up down low for a hook shot… Thunder’s length continues to bother the Spurs, forcing a turnover, then great work by Durant to patiently draw the double team and kick cross court to Fisher for a three.

Plays the box score won’t show, second half Great drive and dish from Durant to Ibaka for a slam dunk plus the foul, then two tough box outs from Ibaka to secure defensive boards… Nice hustle by Durant to get back into the passing lane to get a steal, then Westbrook hustles for a loose ball and gets it to Durant for a layup in transition… Perkins sets a strong screen to free up Durant for a jumper, then Westbrook hits a three off another Perkins pick… Nice defensive possession to force a miss, then Westbrook feeds Durant who dumps to Perkins for a dunk… Perkins makes a big block and Sefolosha hustles out to grab the loose ball, then a good box out from Ibaka leads to Durant jumper… Durant hustles back in transition to make a blocked shot at the rim and save a basket… Collison sets up Harden for a much-needed three pointer, then Durant forces a miss with his length and draws a foul by pushing the tempo… Tough board by Harden on the defensive end, then he powers his way to the cup for a layup… Tough work by Collison to make a block then Durant to box out then good work by Fisher to tip a pass to Durant for a steal… Collison drops one off to Fisher for a high-arcing shot, then an incredible job by Collison to box out draw a foul… Good hustle by the overall team defense to force a miss then Harden tips the ball to Durant for a rebound… Harden directs traffic then hits Durant in the lane to draw a foul, then Westbrook dishes to Perkins who gets fouled and hits a free throw… Strong rebound by Durant on the defensive glass, then Westbrook dishes to Fisher who hits a leaner just outside the lane… Westbrook drives and dishes to Perkins for two free throws, then Durant gets to the free throw line on two consecutive possessions… Perkins huddles up the troops and delivers a message… Durant reels in a tough board, then wins the jump ball… Westbrook feeds Harden for a big three pointer, then Sefolosha draws a foul leading to a Westbrook bucket… Westbrook and Harden hit three straight three pointers to end the game, but it was too little too late.

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